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NYCHA Showcases Teen Talent
in New Theater Production

Teen residents of the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) are bursting with talent, and this week a select few will display their acting, singing and dancing skills in "Teen Explosion," a musical theater production.

Michael Crayton

Michael Crayton (right) has starred in multiple NYCHA musical productions
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe


Weeks of rehearsal will finally pay off when the cast of "Teen Explosion" performs a collage of adaptations from hit movies such as Dreamgirls, Stomp the Yard, and The Wiz on March 29th and 30th at the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

"These shows are pretty big hits," says Juan Santiago, Creative Arts Unit Manager, NYCHA Department of Citywide Programs. The Housing Authority provides free bus service to transport residents from various Community Centers throughout the City to the FIT theater, which seats 800.

Elani Rodriguez, Teen Explosion performer
Elani Rodriguez is an aspiring actress
Photo credit: Kevin Devoe

Elani Rodriguez of Baruch Houses and Michael Crayton formerly of Metro North consolidated-now resident of Taft Houses, are among the 50 "Teen Explosion" cast members. They are also members of the popular dance group, "Dance Factory," and have performed in the NYCHA Talent Show, and "Hip Hop Story," NYCHA’s first teen musical production, which is based on the classic musical, West Side Story.

Elani and Michael have been members of the NYCHA Performing Arts program since it began about four or five years ago. The Performing Arts Unit auditions NYCHA residents to participate in various theater, musical and talent productions. What sets Elani and Michael apart from all of the other members is, "dedication to their performance," says Andre LeClech, Community Coordinator, NYCHA Department of Citywide Programs. For them, acting is not just a hobby, it’s a career choice.

By Deborah A. Williams and Tischelle George
March 26, 2007

Check out the performance
Learn more about NYCHA's Performing Arts Unit