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Modest Means with Big Dreams – A True Rag to Riches Story

ALISO VIEJO, Calif. -- Local Performing Arts School THE CENTER STAGE STUDIO (CSS) of Aliso Viejo, Calif. won a National Title & coveted "Sweepstakes Award" at "The Musical Theater Competition of America" held at Disneyland California this past weekend making THE CENTER STAGE STUDIO one of the top Musical Theater Programs in the country.

Top performance studios and public schools from around the country as far as Maine, Florida, Nevada and New Mexico traveled to Southern California to compete in the prestigious "The Musical Theater Competition of America" at Disneyland. Schools competed in different levels celebrating a 9 - 12 minutes medley of a musical as well as solos and duets in voice and acting and technical disciplines. The school with the top combined scores won the coveted "Sweepstakes" title of Top Musical Theater Program.

The Center Stage Studio under the direction of Tracey Ball and Choreographer Chloe Nethery won top honors with both of their group numbers; "Beetlejuice Medley" 1st Place Ensemble and an Alan Menken Medley for 1st place in Musical Review. CSS also won 1st place overall in acting solos (Mitchell Berg) and Vocal Solos (Colin Kerrane) & vocal duet (Delaney McCarthy & Mitchel Berg).

"Center Stage parents, you need to thank your studio administrators for having the honor of being a part of a truly remarkable studio. I am blown away," says Gary Krinke, MTCA Adjudicator and Fullerton College Theater Arts Administrator.

The Center Stage Studio opened its doors 15 years ago in 2005 with one room, a stage made out of boxes and a shower curtains sewed together for a stage curtain.

Modest means however big dreams by studio founder Tracey Ball. "I used to wake up at 6 a.m. and bring my pillow to my studio and lay by the phone in case it rang. It's one thing to have a dream but you hope that others believe in you too!"

Within one year, Tracey went from 18 students to over 200 being one of the 1st schools to secure licensing to "High School Musical." Within 5 years CSS acquired a theater, this time with real curtain rigging, an elevated stage and tech booth; Along with a full conservatory with classes in voice, acting, comedy, jazz, tap, ballet, hip hop, lyrical and acrobatics. A true triple threat performing arts center for kids.

"I grew up in Foster homes aging out when I was 17. My last foster family saved my life. I know what it is like not to fit in having gone to 8 elementary schools and 3 high schools. I am every child in the classroom. I am the child in the corner who is afraid to be the new kid. I go out of my way to train my staff to make sure every single child feels cared for and strives in their performing arts education. I'm not perfect but my heart is always in the right place. The sky is the limit. Dreams do come true and winning MTCA is another dream come true!" said Tracey Ball.

About The Center Stage Studio:

The Center Stage Studio, family owned and operated by Tracey Ball & Tony DiMiceli since 2005, spreading the love of performing arts with the children of Orange County being one of the very few specializing in triple threat education; acting singing and dance. The Studio has won countless awards including "Best Performing Arts School," Tracey Ball "Top Studio Director," "Top Vocalist and Actor/Actress" Access Broadway National Competition, "Best Performing Arts Cast" Turn It Around Tour, "Excellence in Musical Theater & "Best Actor/Actress Award" Junior Theater Festival/Freddie Mac.

For more information about this topic please contact
Jennifer Pendagrast
The Center Stage Studio Aliso Viejo, Ca
27101 Aliso Creek Road #136 Aliso Viejo, CA 92656

IG @The_CenterStageStudio
FB @CSSDanceMusicalTheater

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First Faith and Family Film Musical ‘A Week Away’ to Release In 2020

19-1021-a-week-away-696x522.jpg -- Producers Steve Barnett, Gabriel Vasquez, and Alan Powell, and Executive Producer Corby Pons, announce the start of principal photography on the inspiring original musical "A WEEK AWAY" scheduled for nationwide theatrical release in 2020.

"A WEEK AWAY" stars Bailee Madison (Hallmark's "The Good Witch," "Bridge to Terabithia"), Kevin Quinn (Disney's "Bunk'd,: "Adventures in Babysitting"), Sherri Shepherd ("Brian Banks," "Ride Along 2") and David Koechner ("Anchorman," "The Goldberg). Newcomers Jahbril Cook, Kat Conner Sterling and Iain Tucker are featured in starring roles.

The story centers on Will Hawkins (Quinn), a troubled teenager whose recent run-in with the law puts him at an important crossroads; go to juvenile hall or attend a Christian summer camp. At first a fish-out-of-water, Will eventually opens his heart and discovers a love and sense of belonging in the last place he expected to find it.

The film's overall message of acceptance and forgiveness is blended with compassion and humor, set against contemporary music and dynamic choreographed numbers. "A WEEK AWAY" is directed by award winning music and commercial filmmaker Roman White.

The film is being financed and executive produced by Vicky Patel. Steve Barnett, Alan Powell, and Gabriel Vasquez are producing. WIT Media's Corby Pons is co-executive producing and Bailee Madison is associate producing.

"The exceptional acting combined with energetic musical and dance numbers are beyond what we imagined," says Vasquez. "The story is for the entire family and will visibly move audiences through tears and laughter and we are excited to bring this to theaters in 2020."

"We have assembled an incredible group of industry talent who have poured their heart into bringing to life what will be the first faith and family musical," says Barnett. "There has never been a better time for this film and we are proud of what this team has achieved."

Filmed on location at Camp Widjiwagan in Nashville, Tennessee, "A WEEK AWAY" includes reimagined cast recordings of some of the greatest Christians songs by artists such as Amy Grant, for King and Country, Michael W. Smith and Steven Curtis Chapman.

The music is produced by award-winning songwriter and producer Adam Watts ("High School Musical 3," "Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert"). Choreography spearheaded by Melena Rounis and Paul Becker. Additional information available at

Social Media Handles - Twitter/Facebook/Instagram: @AWeekAwayMovie #AWeekAwayMovie

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Summer Shakespeare Family Fun Faire at the Shore in Long Beach

LONG BEACH, Calif. -- The Children's Theatre of Long Beach (CTLB) presents its first Renaissance Faire experience! Partake of delicious food, Play medieval themed games, create fairy wings or armor and top it all off with a 60 minute version of Shakespeare's "MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING!" Aug. 4, 2018 in Long Beach.

For the last several years CTLB has been producing shortened versions of Shakespeare's works that are just perfect to introduce younger audiences to his timeless stories.

Philip Schwadron, Shakespeare instructor, long time Renaissance Faire performer and author does the cutting of the play specifically for these performances.

"I thoroughly enjoy crafting the abbreviated versions of these classics," stated Philip. "I get to spend time with my favorite author and grapple with the essence of his work. I try not to just edit for time, I really look to the core of what is important about all the storylines and original message of the piece."

"Much Ado About Nothing" is the story of young lovers Claudio and Hero getting married in just a week. Looking to pass the time, they conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well. Meanwhile, the wicked Don John conspires to break up the wedding by accusing Hero of infidelity. In the end, though, it all turns out to be "much ado about nothing."

This year in addition to the play CTLB has created an entire mini Renaissance Faire at Bay Shore Community Congregational Church to go along with the bard's hilarious play.

"We have Chef Cloyce Martin from 'Man vs Child: Chef Showdown' creating renaissance inspired food. Also, there are games and booths created specifically for this event," noted Hannah McMullen one of the show's coordinators, "as well as specialty acts that will perform throughout the day leading up to the play."

Event information:

About Phil Schwadron:

Phil Schwadron began his career on Broadway at the age of 13 in the Tony award winning musical revival of On Your Toes. He appeared, along with his twin brother Steven, on television in Cheers and Beverly Hills 90210 and on film in Safe Passage and She's Out of Control. He and his brother currently write and perform music with the vocal comedy group The Poxy Boggards. Phil has a BA in theatre from CSU Northridge and an MFA from Cal Arts. He spent 10 years teaching Shakespeare, acting and tap dancing at the Orange County School of the Arts. He is also the author of "It's Not Hard to Learn the Bard (A Guide to Teaching Shakespeare to Teenagers)."

About Sean McMullen:

Sean McMullen, President of CTLB and designer for this production, works in set design, costume design and is currently on faculty at the Orange County School of the Arts. McMullen, recipient of the Long Beach Hero Award, has a MFA in Theatre from CALarts. The creation of CTLB, now in its fifth year, has been his lifelong dream.

About Children's Theatre of Long Beach:

Children's Theatre of Long Beach is a dynamic theatre company serving the Long Beach community and its families with school age children. CTLB strives to teach, inspire, and create experiences that will leave a lasting impression on our young actors and it is our hope that those experiences will inspire them in all aspects of their lives well beyond the stage. Learn more at:

What: Summer Shakespeare Family Fun Faire and "Much Ado About Nothing"

When: August 4, 2018; Fun Faire from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Play at 2 p.m.

Additional Shows: FRIDAY 8/10 7 p.m.; SATURDAY 8/11 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.

Where: Bay Shore Community Congregational Church, 5100 E The Toledo, Long Beach, CA 90803.

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