News Column

Los Gatos: Rodd Farhadi a class act, and he'll take his show on the road to UCLA

June 17, 2013

YellowBrix

June 17--As he walked down the front steps of Los Gatos High School, just moments after receiving his diploma, Rodd Farhadi smiled just a little and flashed a "thumbs up." It was a restrained reaction from a young man whose exuberance for life shines on stage, his voice booming and feet dancing to whatever musical happens to be in production.

Rodd estimates he's acted in 25 plays over the years and plans to attend UCLA this fall, majoring in musical theater.

"I realized 'straight' acting isn't my thing," he said. "My passion is to be on stage and my heart is in musical theater. Musical theater is very specific to the stage and you have to be good at three things--singing, acting and dancing."

Although Rodd has hopes of becoming a star, he plans to learn everything he can . "I feel it's important to know all aspects of the theater, so I'll learn about set design, lighting and costume design," he said.

Rodd got a little exposure to that last week when he flew to New York post-graduation. The trip followed his receipt of the outstanding performance by an actor award during the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre: Stage Top Honor Awards ceremony held June 3 in San Jose. He was honored for his acting in Urinetown, the Los Gatos High School 2013 spring musical.

In New York, he competed in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards and performed at the Minskoff Theatre, where The Lion King is currently being performed. "I will

take classes with famous Broadway performers like Liz Callaway, who was the voice of Anastasia in the animated movie Anastasia," Rodd said just prior to the trip.

Rodd's recent success belies the fact that he almost quit acting altogether.

"Going into high school I was concerned about people making fun of me, so I quit doing musicals and I quit choir. I took metal shop instead," he said. "At the last minute I decided to audition for a play and it was the best experience of my life. I quit trying to fit in and decided to do what makes me happy."

He went on to say, "I have filled my life with so many things that make me happy," listing his time as a Los Gatos youth commissioner and participating in a student-to-student anti-drug campaign as things that have contributed to his well-being. Those and similar activities meant Rodd graduated with 400 community service hours to his credit. The graduation requirement is 100 hours.

Rodd anticipates putting in long hours at UCLA, too, where he expects to be in class from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. "And then you go to rehearsal," he laughed.

He's used to fitting rehearsals in between classes and homework--at LGHS kids practice for several months after school and on weekends when a production is in rehearsal.

"People feel Los Gatos is only a sports school, but we have such a core group of talented actors," Rodd said. "Although a lot of us are graduating I feel the legacy we're leaving behind will cause new students to pursue theater in high school. I'm so thankful we have such an established program."

Rodd has lived in Los Gatos since he was 5 years old. He attended Daves Avenue and Blossom Hill elementary schools and Fisher Middle School.

High School

scores with

'Urinetown'

The Los Gatos High School spring musical "Urinetown" received the best overall production award during the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre: Stage Top Honor Awards ceremony that was held June 3 at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose. The awards are sponsored by the San Jose Stage Company and Broadway San Jose.

In addition to the overall award, 2013 LGHS graduates Rodd Farhadi, Dana Cullinane and Zach Rezowalli were singled out for individual honors. Rodd was judged best actor, Dana was named best supporting actress and Zach received the lighting design award for "Urinetown."

Also for "Urinetown," LGHS theater manager Tim Nielson and Amy Carroll tied for the scenic design award with Palo Alto High School's Teresa Dewees.

Visit thestage.org for more information regarding the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre: Stage Top Honor Awards.

High School

scores with

'Urinetown'

The Los Gatos High School spring musical "Urinetown" received the best overall production award during the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre: Stage Top Honor Awards ceremony that was held June 3 at the California Theatre in downtown San Jose. The awards are sponsored by the San Jose Stage Company and Broadway San Jose.

In addition to the overall award, 2013 LGHS graduates Rodd Farhadi, Dana Cullinane and Zach Rezowalli were singled out for individual honors. Rodd was judged best actor, Dana was named best supporting actress and Zach received the lighting design award for their Urinetown contributions.

Also for "Urinetown," LGHS theater manager Tim Nielson and Amy Carroll tied for the scenic design award with Palo Alto High School's Teresa Dewees.

Visit thestage.org for more information regarding the Bay Area High School Musical Theatre: Stage Top Honor Awards.

Copyright 2012 San Jose Mercury News. All rights reserved.

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(c)2013 the Los Gatos Weekly-Times (San Jose, Calif.)

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