Since 1984, TADA!’s mission is to provide young people from all different backgrounds with musical theater programs that inspire them to be creative, learn, and think differently. TADA! is a unique Drama Desk award-winning nonprofit youth theater that produces original musicals for children, teens, and family audiences. TADA! offers a free, year-round, pre-professional training & youth development program for the Resident Youth Ensemble (ages 8-18); musical theater classes/camps for the public; as well as musical theater residencies in NYC schools and community centers. Through TADA!’s high-quality work, young people’s self-confidence and creativity are enhanced. They also develop advanced skills in leadership, communication, responsibility, collaboration, and problem-solving – skills that help with growing up and are essential to their success both in school and in life.
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
TADA! and Executive and Artistic Director Nina Trevens have received many honors and awards, including American Alliance for Theater Education’s Anne Flagg Multicultural Award, Family Circle Magazine’s 1st Annual Halo Award and more than one dozen previous National Youth Theatre Awards. Additionally, in 2008 TADA! was honored with a Coming Up Taller Award, the nation’s highest honor for youth development from the President’s Committee on the Arts & Humanities, and in 2009 with a special Drama Desk Award for “providing an invaluable contribution to the future of the theater.” TADA! is the only youth theater to have won this prestigious award. TADA!’s world premiere production of Up To You was nominated for an Independent Theater award; also a first for a youth theater. Through our script rental program, TADA!’s original musicals have been performed by hundreds of children in schools and community theaters across the USA. Over the past 30 plus years, TADA! has performed by invitation at The White House, Gracie Mansion, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and The Goodwill Games, among countless others.
TADA! is proud of the fact that many of its Resident Youth Ensemble alumni have gone on to significant achievement in a variety of fields. In addition to some individuals who have become doctors and leaders in business, others have become accomplished filmmakers; ballet dancers; opera singers; stage, film and television actors; and even future employees of TADA! itself.
But, perhaps the greatest award of all is the impact TADA! has had on the lives of hundreds of thousands New York City children. In the words of TADA! alumni and actress, Mizuo Peck (Night at the Museum films), “[TADA!] instilled in us many different and great characteristics, like discipline and punctuality and taking things seriously –not only the hardcore structure of things, but also being able to sing and dance and meet new people: TADA! is the founding influence that has driven everything I’ve done with my life.”
Creative artists (composers, writers and Ensemble members) who developed their trade at TADA! include: Josh Peck (Grandfathered and Nickelodeon’s “Drake & Josh”), Kerry Washington (Scandal, Django: Unchained, Lakeview Terrace, I Think I Love My Wife, The Last King of Scotland), Mizuo Peck (Night at the Museum), Ricki Lake (The Business of Being Born, “Ricki Lake” show), Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Shrek, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Jordan Peele (Key & Peele, MadTV), Eric Rockwell (The Musical of Musicals: The Musical), Winnie Holzman (Wicked), and Jason Robert Brown (The Last Five Years and Bridges of Madison County and Parade).