Steffen Returns as THS Drama Director

Talawanda High School English teacher Ryan Steffen is returning as the director of the drama program for the 2016-2017 school year. He wasn’t ready for the void that three years away from the program left in his life. He missed giving students real world problems to solve, the connections he had with students, and working with students who are so motivated to learn that they are willing to stay week after week in order to grow.

“I missed the artistic outlet. At the core, I’m an artist. In the last three years, I’ve not found a way to satisfy that itch,” Steffen said. “Directing and running this program has always been one of the most rewarding and satisfying parts of my job.”

Steffen said that the Performing Arts Center is heavily scheduled this year and he’s trying to learn how to scale down a show from the way he did it before. His first show will be “The Brothers Grimm Spectaculathon” by Don Zolidis. He said: “I picked that piece because it is very driven by great characters, but is not very demanding technically,” and, “that allows me to focus my time with this first show back to be more heavily concentrated on the actors.”
Steffen does have an idea for the Spring show, but he hasn’t announced it yet. It will be more of a spectacle than the fall show because the Performing Arts Center is more available then.

“I know it probably won’t be a book musical because they are super expensive and require personnel to do things I am not capable of (music direction, orchestra conduction, choreographer, and musicians). Unfortunately, in the past, I’ve had to line these people up a year in advance. So I’m a little late to the game. In a perfect world, I’ll find a way to more creatively infuse music and dance into that production.”

He said that this year students should be prepared to be very involved and drama will require more of a commitment than it did in his absence: “It is my job to teach students how to do everything well. Not just follow directions.” He also said that “there are tons of opportunities to perform, to design, to build, and to lead.”

He thinks students should join the program because: “Our shows are good and something to be proud of. There is something to be said about being part of a project that you are proud of.” He added, “Also we have fun. Over the course of the show, we become a family.”

Auditions will take place Sept. 6, 7, and 8 from 2:15 p.m. to 5:15 p.m. in the THS Performing Arts Center. Steffen is seeking a diverse cast of 10-12 comedic performers. Students auditioning don’t need any experience, and will only need to attend one of the days, but can attend more if they wish. Students should expect to stay the entire audition time and students with questions or who are interested in crew can sign up outside his room, 409, and he will contact you once the show gets started.