Created, Storyboarded and Co-Directed by NATASHA TSAKOS
Produced and Starring THE GOVERNOR'S SCHOOL FOR THE ARTS directed by STEVE J. EARLE Animation & Visual Design Team lead by VIC FRAILING DIANA CARAMAT 3D mapping & technology RODRIGO ARCAYA & JASON PETERMAN choreography JONI PETRIE SCHOLZ, TODD ROSENLIEB & RICARDO MELENDEZ magic advisor BILL KALUSH musical theatre director CHIP GALLAGHER vocal music director ALAN FISCHER music director & conductor JEFF PHELPS set designer SHAWN CRAWFORD prop designers SHAWN CRAWFORD, DIANA CARAMAT & GSA STUDENTS producer Dr. ANDREA WARREN project coordinator DEBORAH THORPE
"I promise you it will be something you have never seen before"
ANDREA F. WARREN, Ph.D, Executive Director
Staged as a real TV talent competition show, ZO follows six contestants amongst hundreds as they pursue their dreams for stardom, reaching epic and surreal proportions.
ZO was created by Natasha Tsakos for the magnet conservatory The Governor's School for the Arts’ 25th anniversary gala.
The production premiered at Chrysler Hall in Norfolk, Virginia and involved the 355 students of the school, across all arts departments: Theatre, Opera, Music, Dance and Visual Arts. "The nature of ZO has softened boundaries between the disciplines. It's a true collaboration of all art forms." said Andrea Warren, executive director of The Governor's School.
"Natasha Tsakos led a master class at Governor's School in 2010 that impressed the faculty. Soon after, the school hired Tsakos to conceive of an anniversary gala.
Tsakos visited the school three more times and explored what the students were passionate about and contemplated as young artists. Later that year she sent GSA a blueprint for the show in the form of a 47-minute animatic (the animated storyboard of the show). It was the school's job to transform that animated concept into 3-D reality.
So, what is this "Zo"?
"It's a surrealistic look at the modern spectacle of the talent show, like 'America's Got Talent,'" said Vic Frailing, who heads the visual arts department. Steve Earle, the theater department chairman said, "The idea is how do we keep our artistic integrity in a world of media exploitation?" Frailing added that "Zo" also is "a celebration of the creative process triumphing over how society tries to package it." For the students, it should seem familiar: They provided the basis for the tale. " 'Zo' is the story of artists," said Grant Brewer, a 15-year-old freshman from Smithfield High School. "Not many people understand what artists go through to get even mediocre roles," he said. "The constant rejection. I know, as an actor, I'm going to get rejected every day of the week if I go for auditions. The show really shows all that."
"It's already changed me as to who I am. I didn't really understand what theater was until I came here. It's opened my eyes to a whole new world."
A world of "Zo."
Excerpts from “'Zo' much talent from the Governor's School of the Arts” by Teresa Annas for The Virginian Pilot