A rising star from Astoria takes the stage in Manhattan in a brand-new rock musical

Courtesy of TADA! Youth Theater


It’s a scary notion, but it could actually happen one day. All New York City families should start preparing for the worst before it’s too late, because in 2211, the world as we know it may no longer exist.

Thankfully, this terrible crisis which may unfold will only take place during a production of “Odd Day Rain,” a futuristic rock musical presented by the Drama Desk award-winning TADA! Youth Theater in Manhattan — and is only fictional (book by Janine Nina Trevens and Deirdre Broderick; music and lyrics by Deirdre Broderick).

Fast forward to the future. The after effects of a catastrophic disaster have forced Aurora and her friends to live outside without any adults or adult supervision. Ordinarily, that would be a good thing but not in this doomsday scenario, where even computers are no more. And on top of that, there’s no running water. What’s even more devastating? No cellphones!

Meanwhile, a sad and fearful Claire wonders if there’s anything more out there, as she continues to somehow get by alone in her tiny Pod space… run by the all-powerful Computer. You might think that’s very odd ‘cause aren’t computers supposed to be obsolete then?

Nathalia Mendoza

To find out the answer to that and other profound questions, families should go see and experience this odd but compelling play in which Queens kids shine on stage, from Jan. 19 through Feb. 24.

Local kids appearing in this musical include: Nathalia Mendoza, 13, as May; Kahlea Hsu, 14, as Claire; Oscar Segarra-Caussin, 15, as Ricky; JJ DiBartolo, 12, as Bill; Katie Chan, 11, as Lucy; Marc Berman, 10, as Syd.

Mendoza, a rising star and an Astoria resident, mentioned the connection she feels with her character, May, who comforts Claire throughout the show and develops a caring friendship with her, often trying to calm her down.

“Similarly, I also like to comfort people and make them feel better, so I feel like I definitely have some things in common with May,” Mendoza said.

Theater is a big part of the young actor’s life.  She describes herself as a perfectionist, “and a pretty serious person,” because she doesn’t like to make mistakes. Mendoza added that she always strives to do everything perfectly.

“However, TADA! has taught me that making mistakes is okay,” she said.

Playing different characters, she explained, has allowed her to understand certain situations that people are placed in, and the different emotions that others may feel.

“It allows me to be someone I’m not, and to connect with other people and understand where they may be coming from,” Mendoza said.

A unique nonprofit youth theater producing original musicals for children, teens, and family audiences, TADA! provides teens like Mendoza and her fellow actors with an opportunity to express themselves, perhaps more so than they can at school.

Since 1984, the theater’s mission is to provide young people from different backgrounds with musical theater that inspires them to learn and think differently; to be confident and creative.

TADA! offers free, year-round pre-professional training and a positive youth development program for the Resident Youth Ensemble (ages 8-18); musical theater classes/camps for the public; and musical theater residencies in New York City schools and community centers. 

“TADA! is a very supportive community, and I can be who I truly am around others who are just like me,”  Mendoza said. “At TADA!, I can embrace all of my true interests as opposed to just pretending to like what is cool or popular at the time, as a lot of kids at my school do.”

The active teen is currently an eighth-grade student at IS 141 in Astoria and is in the process of applying to high schools. She applied to 13 schools, but won’t know which ones she gets into until March or April.

Performance at TADA! Youth Theater — located on the second floor at 15 W. 28th St. in Manhattan — are scheduled for Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., Jan. 20, at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., Jan. 21 at 12 p.m. and 2 p.m., and Jan. 26-27 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. Performances also extend into February.

To see the full schedule and to buy tickets, visit www.tadatheater.com/shows/buy-tickets-3. Discounted rates are available for nonprofit and community groups of 15 or more.

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