Audition Announcement – A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum



Monday August 22 @ 3:30 to 6:30 in the Theater.
Tuesday August 23 @ 2 pm to 5 pm in the Theater.
Wednesday August 24 @ 3:30 to 6:30 in The Theater.

Callbacks on Friday Aug. 26 @ 3:30 to 6:30. Note – Callbacks are when we ask you to come back for a final audition before we cast the show. You are not required to come to all the auditions but it may be helpful.

This is an actor’s show, filled with comic timing! There are 17 exciting and hilarious roles, so be prepared to sing, dance, and act. Most of the roles are character roles and don’t require great singing! Do NOT be afraid of the singing, we will teach you! Tell all you friends and classmates! We always love to see new faces so please encourage one and all!

O’Dowd Drama Season Announcement

The Bishop O’Dowd Theater Arts Department has announced the shows for the 2016-2017 school year. The fall production will be A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, a slapstick musical farce based on the Roman comedies of Plautus, and Legally Blonde, a musical adaptation of the popular romantic comedy starring Reese Witherspoon.

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, considered one of the funniest musicals ever written, is a joyous Roman romp that includes desperate lovers, scheming neighbors, and secrets behind every toga. It features a score by the celebrated composer and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim.

The show will play November 11, 12, 13, 18, 19, and 20. Friday and Saturday performances begin at 8:00 p.m., and two Sunday matinees will begin at 2:00 p.m. Ticket order forms will be available on the school website under the Drama Activities page.

Legally Blonde a fabulously fun musical based on the adored movie, following the transformation of Elle Woods as she tackles stereotypes, snobbery and scandal in pursuit of her dreams. This action-packed musical explodes on the stage with memorable songs and dynamic dances. Equal parts hilarious and heart-warming, this musical is so much fun, it should be illegal!

Performance dates are April 28, 29, May 5, 6, 7, 12, 13, and 14. Friday and Saturday shows begin at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday matinees begin at 2:00 p.m.

Aliyah Turner ’16 Accepted Into Top Acting Program


Aliyah Turner ’16 has come a long way since her first acting role – the baby elephant in Jungle Book.

An accomplished dancer and actor, Aliyah was one of only 18 applicants (from a pool of more than 1,000) accepted into the acting program at UCLA’s elite School of Theater, Film & Television. She begins her studies in September.

The interview/audition process was rigorous and included participation in an information session, the performance of two contrasting monologues (one classical and one contemporary), an interview in which applicants are asked to discuss their goals and aspirations for studying theater, and a movement audition where judges assess how applicants comport themselves in a group setting and how they respond to challenges.

Aliyah said the process was nerve-wracking. “Throughout the whole thing they are taking notes on you, observing you, and writing your number down … or not writing your number down,” she said.

Expanding Her Creative Repertoire

A competitive dancer since the age of three who has performed locally and nationally in several different styles of dance, Aliyah was chosen two summers ago, along with several other top performers from the Castro Valley Performing Arts program, to attend dance classes full-time at the famous Broadway Dance Center and Alvin Ailey Schools in New York City for a week.

Her creative repertoire expanded to acting when she got involved with the Neighborhood Youth Theater in Castro Valley about 10 years ago. She pursued drama O’Dowd, starring in several performances including Godspell, Hairspray and A Chorus Line. She credits Drama Director Dennis Kohles and drama teacher Trina Oliver – “MizzO” as she is affectionately called – with cultivating her passion for acting. “They are very professional and knowledgeable about acting and that really opened up my eyes to the possibility of pursuing it as a career,” she said.

MizzO was instrumental in helping Aliyah prepare for her UCLA audition, as well as the other auditions she had at Pepperdine University, Chapman University and Loyola Marymount University.

“MizzO came to me at the beginning of senior year and asked if I was interested in pursuing acting after high school. When I said ‘Of course,’ she said we needed to start working on monologues and training for the auditions and interviews. She was a big help,” Aliyah said.

Aliyah prepared “Waiting for Lefty” as her contemporary piece and a monologue from “As You Like It” for her classical piece. She performed the classical piece at the Ohlone College High School Theatre Festival in May, and ended up placing in the category. “That really boosted my confidence for the auditions,” she said.

For the past year, Aliyah has taken film and screen acting classes at Film Acting Bay Area (FABA) in Emeryville, where she has been provided several casting opportunities. She’s appeared in a short film, Through the Windowpain, and will star in an episode of FABA’s new, dramatic WebSeries The Traffick in August. She’s also secured a role in the upcoming feature film Taking Liberty.

Aliyah says what she enjoys most about acting is “telling a story and getting people out of their reality and making them believe and become invested in something she is creating.”

Looking ahead, Aliyah hopes use the actor showcases at UCLA as a springboard to a film acting career. “I can’t wait to start auditioning and truly living out my passion,” she said.

Actor Profile-Taylor Daniel


Role: Cassie Ferguson
Year In School: Sophomore
Theater Experience:
“I was Little Inez in Hairspray here at O’Dowd. I do a lot of outside theater.”

Describe your role in A Chorus Line.
“I play a well known dancer who everyone thought would become a star. She had a previous relationship with the director, Zach, that didn’t end well. This relationship complicates her audition dynamic.”

What themes and/or subject matter of the show attract you?
“The idea that so many different people with different backgrounds can find comfort and love in the same industry.”


What challenges, acting, singing, or dancing, does this production present?
“I would have to say all three; singing, dancing and acting. That’s actually my favorite part about the show. You have to work hard to be excellent in all three disciplines.”

Describe life as a BOD Drama Student?
“Life as a BOD drama student is extremely exciting. The kids in the drama program are very enthusiastic and so talented. Everyone is so much fun to be around.”

Actor Profile-Carl Ballantine


Role: Zach
Year In School: Junior

Theater Experience:
“I was in The Laramie Project my freshman year and One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest in my sophomore year.”

Describe your role in A Chorus Line.
“Zach is the director-choreographer of the show the characters are auditioning for. He’s dedicated to his work and wants only the very best dancers for his production.”

What themes and/or subject matter of the show attract you?
“While all of the characters are fun, there are also great dramatic moments where characters expose their true selves and share personal revelations. A common theme is a character’s development with adolescence, something most students at school are currently experiencing.”


What challenges, acting, singing, or dancing, does this production present?
“For me, there are less challenges than my fellow cast members have because Zach is not in many of the musical numbers. I do have a considerable role in the story, however, and get many fun interactions with the dancers.”

Describe life as a BOD Drama Student?
“Doing the shows at O’Dowd is a huge commitment. We rehearse every day for three hours. Putting that kind of effort toward one project is incredibly fulfilling. There are high expectations placed on us. We are expected to meet those expectations in no small part due to the group of people that direct our shows.”

Actor Profiles-Gaia Bostick


Role: Maggie Winslow
Year In School: Senior

Theater Experience:

“I began doing theater in elementary school and then continued doing musicals at Berkeley Playhouse throughout middle school. I’ve been in the following productions at Bishop O’Dowd, Sugar, Little Shop of Horrors, The Laramie Project, Hairspray and Godspell.


Describe your role in A Chorus Line.

“Maggie is a sweet but shy girl who came from a broken home. Her escape from her family life growing up was taking ballet class and dancer her heart out. Maggie has a huge imagination and enjoys living in her own fantasy world.”

What themes and/or subject matter of the show attract you?

“The show captures the effect that childhood has on people for the rest of their lives by revealing memories they both hate and cherish. I love how honest A Chorus Line is. It doesn’t sugarcoat the individual stories of each of the characters.”

What are challenges do this production present?

“The cast is all learning lots of different dance routines because the production is about dancers competing for a spot on a Broadway chorus line. There is also the challenge of acting like it is a real audition when in fact we are at performance level. Even when we know the dance steps for the opening number, for instance, we still have to act nervous as if we’re learning it for the first time.”

Describe life as a BOD Drama Student

“Life as an O’Dowd drama student is really fun. From learning so much from all the teachers over years, the Drama Department also becomes your family and community. Because we rehearse every day for 3-4 months, we become very close to one another. By the time we open, we all feel bonded and eager to share the accomplishment we’ve worked so hard for.”

Ticket Order Form


Order your tickets for "A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to the Forum". Download and fill out the order form.

Drama Teacher Profile


Profile of Drama Teacher Dennis Kolhes

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Finding God in All Things

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