Raising the Curtain: Broadway stars mentor young talent  

Broadway actor Jenny DiNola who starred in "Wicked" leads a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse "One Short Day" to be performed during the Raising the Curtain "Wicked" fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall. 032324. Dan Watson/The Signal
Broadway actor Jenny DiNola who starred in "Wicked" leads a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse "One Short Day" to be performed during the Raising the Curtain "Wicked" fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall. 032324. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Raising the Curtain Foundation hosted its “Masterclass Fundraiser and Performance: A Theatrical Journey Through Wicked” event last weekend at the Newhall Family Theatre, featuring mentoring by a pair of Broadway performers.  

Students eager to pursue a career in theater had the opportunity to learn from Broadway actors Jenny DiNoia, known for her role as Elphelba in “Wicked,” and Paul Peglar, known for his work in “Tick, Tick, BOOM!” 

Six students ages 12 to 29 participated in the Raising the Curtain Foundation masterclass fundraiser that culminated with a special performance at the Newhall Family Theatre.  

On Friday, participants gained career advice and guidance from DiNoia and Peglar to perfect their audition pieces, to be better prepared when seeking opportunities to book commercials, music videos, films, and other entertainment-related works.  

Broadway actor Jenny DiNola who stared in "Wicked" leads a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse "One Short Day" to be performed during the Raising the Curtain "Wicked" fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall.  032324.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Broadway actor Jenny DiNola who starred in “Wicked” leads a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse “One Short Day” to be performed during the Raising the Curtain “Wicked” fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall. 032324. Dan Watson/The Signal

“Everyone worked on their performance skills, their voices, lots of debugging techniques, just all of the little stuff,” said Nickie DeTolve, a board member of the foundation and organizer of the fundraiser.   

“All of these (women) were so talented but then to just see in 15 minutes, the leap and how much better it was or more dynamic [their performances were], everything just sort of changed. It lifted all of them,” added DeTolve.  

The young women, most of them in their 20s, dedicated their weekend to fully dive into the experience and poured their energy into the Saturday night performance. The students learned a piece from the “Wicked” Broadway show in two hours during dress rehearsal before doors opened for guests to witness the show, said DeTolve.  

City of Santa Clarita Arts Commission Chair Patti Rasmussen was present and boasted about how much she enjoyed seeing the students shine on stage and seeing the Newhall Family Theatre being put to good use after it was closed for decades.  

“The auditorium was closed. A couple of parents, I was one of them, started the process of restoring the auditorium and it took like 20 years,” she said. “From these little elementary school productions to where the foundation actually did these performances during COVID to now having Broadway stars on stage, it has been amazing to watch.” 

“These girls have a huge career in front of them,” she added.  

l Broadway actors Paul Pegler from Tick Tick...BOOM!, at the keyboard and Jenny DiNola, right, who stared in "Wicked", work with a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse "One Short Day" from "Wicked" to be performed during the Raising the Curtain "Wicked" fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall.  032324.  Dan Watson/The Signal
Broadway actors Paul Pegler from Tick Tick…BOOM!, at the keyboard and Jenny DiNola, right, who starred in “Wicked”, work with a group of students on Saturday as they rehearse “One Short Day” from “Wicked” to be performed during the Raising the Curtain “Wicked” fundraiser on Saturday at the Newhall Family Theater in Newhall. 032324. Dan Watson/The Signal

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