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Role-Playing for the Summer : Enrollment is up for CSUN's Teenage Drama Workshop, and two world premieres are planned.


The Teenage Drama Workshop at Cal State Northridge, in its 38th year, will present two world pre mieres plus a program of original student works this summer.

The intensive, six-week summer theater program, which has trained thousands of young people in all aspects of theatrical production since 1957, is one of the longest-running youth programs of its kind in the United States. The workshop is led by CSUN faculty members, local drama teachers and professional actors, directors and designers.

Its most famous alum is probably Robert Englund, who went on to play Freddie Krueger in the "Nightmare on Elm Street" film series. The workshop was canceled in 1991 due to low enrollment. It took a two-year hiatus, but was revived by CSUN Theater Manager Jeffrey Levy last summer. This year, it looks as if it's come all the way back.

"Enrollment is up over last year," Levy says, adding that he has 45 kids this summer. "And it's broader; we're drawing from all areas of the Valley.

"We've had the talent auditions, and a couple of kids blew us out of the room," says Levy, who has additional reasons to be excited about the workshop.

The summer season will open July 27 with the premiere of a children's theater piece that Levy himself wrote. "Cinderella: A Tale of Enchantment" is based on the age-old folk tale of a young girl who remains faithful to the spirit of her dead mother and is transformed from drudge to princess. Levy's adaptation, directed by Doug Kaback of the Los Angeles Music Center's Dream Lab, will feature shadow puppets and original music by Lynn Anderson.

Opening Aug. 3 is "The Girl Who Married a Ghost" by Tim Wright, based on a folk tale of the Nisqualli Indians from the Pacific Northwest. This premiere production will be directed by Judy Weldon.

The summer's third production will be a program of plays written by some of the teen-agers themselves. No dates have been set.

Tickets to the Teenage Drama Workshop productions are $5 at the Student Union Ticket Office, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge. For a complete performance schedule, call (818) 885-2488.


EATIN' N' PICKIN': The Bakers Square Restaurant in Granada Hills is offering bluegrass music on the third Tuesday of each month. Bluegrass, usually confined to festivals and pizza restaurants, has had limited success in other Valley venues over the years, despite its robust following.

The Bakers Square's first Bluegrass Night featuring the Laurel Canyon Ramblers and sponsored by the Southern California Bluegrass Assn., was June 20. Frank Javorsek, host of "Bluegrass Express," heard Saturday mornings on KCSN-FM and the owner of the Blue Ridge Pickin' Parlor in Canoga Park, is on the association's advisory board. He says the evening was an unqualified success.

"The place was jammed, and the association picked up some new members," Javorsek says. "It's just what the Valley needs."

Restaurant manager Christopher Padavick said the evening went well, and many people stayed past dinner just to listen to the music. Padavick said the music was an ideal choice for the family restaurant. The band, Blue Plate Special, is scheduled July 18.

Bakers Square, 17921 Chatsworth St., Granada Hills, (818) 366-7258.


DOWN THE ROAD: The American Renegade Theatre is moving, and will construct a new theater complex down Magnolia Boulevard just east of Lankershim Boulevard in the NoHo district.

The new building, at 11136 Magnolia Blvd., has 10,000 square feet over two floors. Escrow closed June 9.

"It will have two theaters, one 49-seat downstairs, and then a 99-seat that will comprise 64 seats downstairs and balcony of 35 seats." said David Cox, American Renegade's artistic director. Cox says the complex will also include a cafe for theatergoers.

Cox expects renovation to start in July, and the complex to be ready this winter.

"My target date is November, but I expect it will be closer to January or February," Cox says. "It's going to be Soho London-style building on the outside, with a canopy that comes out to the street.

"I just think that now with Actors Alley opening up, with us on the other side, the NoHo Studios, the Road Theater down the block, the Sanford Meisner Center, The Limelight, Actors Forum, it's really becoming a theater district." Cox says.

Tom McCulloh contributed to this column.

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