I had a history teacher in high school and as much as I disliked him, it was only because he challenged us and wanted us to see how history often repeats itself. Looking back, I am truly thankful for him.  He helped us teenagers see that it only takes one person to change a million.  He taught us how to differentiate between opinion and fact, how to discern the truth from political rhetoric.  He arranged for a concentration camp survivor to share his experiences with us.  Vietnam veterans accounted their time during the war.  He made us read books about atrocity.  I hated all of it, and then soon realized thereafter, that it was my passion to know more.  I went on to graduate with my B.A. in history and a huge part of that was the inspiration of my history teacher, Mr. Michael Drago.  It's because of Mr. Drago (he insists I call him Mike but I can't bring myself to do that) I know I can tell my own children what is going on and it's still okay to answer some of their questions by saying, "I don't know."  And like the Johansen’s, I want my children to be brave through it all.

Phantom Projects Theatre Group was created by Steve Cisneros.  With the support of sponsors, Mr. Cisneros is able to bring to stage performances featuring young actors tackling issues of today as well as works of literature.  Additionally, shows are offered to school age children at lower costs to bring the arts to our youth and awareness of both modern and past events.  Sponsorship and season passes are available.  In February, Mr. Cisneros will be bringing Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird to stage.  In April, Bruce Gevirtzman's The Center of the Universe will tackle prejudice, tolerance, and bullying.  Additionally, The Young Artist Project celebrates its 10th anniversary in August.

This season Phantom Projects promises opportunities to open discussion with your children-- what a wonderful way to empower our youth and help in understanding the struggles of others.  Lessons will help them appreciate others own cultures and unique offerings to our society.  Moreover, use these stories to help you and your child understand how others overcome diversity.  I can't thank the culture of live theater enough-- how lucky we are to be residents of La Mirada!

Number the Stars was based on the book by Lois Lowry and adapted by Dr. Douglas W. Larache with assistance from Susan Elliott Larche and directed by Steve Cisneros.  Production Stage Manager:  Eric J. Bridges.  Assistant Stage Manager: Emily Rose Githens. Costume Designer:  Sarah Timm.  Set Designer: Veronica Hodur.  Marketing and Communications: Danielle Keaton. Set Construction: Kimberly Kearns, Garrett Engberg, Steve Carlock, Kyle Bassett, Andrew Cano.  Starring: Veronica McFarlane (Annemarie), Molly Malia Arii (Ellen), Noelle Lidyoff (Kirsti), Chrissie Carpenter (Mrs. Johansen), Patrick Birman (Mr. Johansen), Timothy Lang (Uncle Henrick), Max Herzfeld (Peter), Madelynn Fattibene (Mrs. Rosen), Gabriel Boyle (Nazi Soldier), and Anna Ready, Tracy McDaniel, Paris Langle, Emily Rose Githens, Kyle Bassett (Mourners).

For more information about Phantom Projects, visit www.PhantomProjects.com.

Through December Blog fans can receive a 35% discount to Phantom Projects' next three shows at La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts.