The Show Goes On, Mystery Remains

A children's theater director suddenly disappeared, leaving young actors in a lurch. But thanks to a bunch of resourceful parents, the young performers will still get a chance to shine.

For eight hours every weekday for the past month, a troupe of young actors rehearsed their parts for the play "The Secret Garden."

Then two days before opening night, theater director Trevor Weaver emailed a notice saying that financial troubles forced him to end Stage Kids, the nonprofit performing arts group, and call off the show. The next day, the website was pulled and the phone number disconnected.

(Apparently, .)

The play seemed doomed. But parents and acting teachers, who decided to keep working for free, managed to find two venues for the production Friday and Saturday.

So the show will go on.

But Weaver's vanishing act raises a bunch of questions. Do families that each shelled out hundreds of dollars for the acting program, tickets and other fees get a refund? If the program's money troubles were so bad, why didn't Weaver tell anyone?

Parents said they've always spoken highly of Weaver, who led the 20-year-old nonprofit to turn out high-quality productions that were fun for everyone.

Weaver's bio, which has since been pulled, said he's a veteran performer. It says that as a child, he acted with Johnny Depp on "21 Jump Street."

But that was a few days ago. Now parents say they feel duped, disappointed and angry. They're talking about how to get their money back.

San Ramon resident Sandy Terranova has two daughters, 8 and 5, who have been with Stage Kids for about two years. They both have parts in "The Secret Garden."

Terranova said that Weaver’s letter – sent two days before the play’s opening night – was the first time she and other parents had heard about any financial troubles.

“He kept saying he had a venue and he didn’t – it was like he was just lying to us,” said Terranova. “Everyone was waiting around to hear what venue we were going to perform in and out of nowhere we get this email at 7 or 8 o’clock at night saying the company was dissolved. Here we are two days away from the production and the company is shutting down? I mean it was just devastating.”

Patch sent two emails to Weaver. We also called him. But no one has yet responded.

Not only did Weaver not let on how badly his company had been doing for nearly a year, but he made several program changes seemingly to collect more money before the closure, according to parents.

Jamie Beers, of Danville, said her 8-year-old daughter Carlie burst into tears when she heard that she might not get the chance to play her first big role ever – Martha, the main character’s personal attendant in the play.

Beers and other parents said Weaver pushed them to pay for tickets up front.

And both Beers and Terranova confirmed that Weaver also did something he never had before – he took away the two complimentary tickets the theater had always given to the families of each child in the production.

Several parents agreed that in hindsight it seemed Weaver ramped up marketing for theater camps, sending out email blasts calling for early sign-ups and up-front fees.

“There were emails going out promoting 'Peter Pan' in the fall, 'Beauty and the Beast' and 'Winnie the Pooh',” said Terranova. “He was definitely promoting the events up to the very end.”

Also MIA was the professional videographer and photographer that Weaver had historically hired to document the rehearsals and shows so that parents could buy the headshots and videos as keepsakes.

And several parents said they noticed one more odd thing – Weaver’s email to them arrived between 7 and 8 p.m. Wednesday, but the email time-stamp said 10 p.m.

“The email was time stamped for 10 o’clock at night like he was on the east coast or something,” said Terranova. “He was definitely not in California.”

“The Secret Garden” played at 7 Friday at Coyote Creek Elementary School. The next showing is at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Village Theater in Danville.

Snacks and refreshments will be sold and proceeds will go to the play’s teachers and instructors who chose to work for free after the theater group's closure.

Beth Frankel December 13, 2011 at 08:55 PM
I felt compelled to respond to this inaccurate article after reading the article in Alameda. There is so much that you people simply don't understand. Trevor was trying to save the company and put almost eight thousand dollars of his own money into keeping this wonderful company afloat just so the kids would have a place to perform. He taught my kids in Dublin and San Ramon for almost five years and was amazing! My ids never learned as much as they did when they were working with Mr Weaver. He was truly a great acting coach and himself and the program he worked with will be truly missed. And FYI - Mr Weaver made sure that everyone got refunded in full. I know that I received every penny back and I know that is the case for all the people I spoke to. I am sad that articles like this try to defame someone as classy, talented, and skillful as Mr Weaver.
Lisa Joneses December 13, 2011 at 09:00 PM
We Love you Trevor! I just saw this article, too. I can't believe that people would make these kind of accusations without examining all the facts! If these people only knew the sacrifices that you were making for this company. You are an awesome teacher, director and person. You have given my child the best theater education a parent could ask for. It is so sad that we couldn't keep a program like your going due to increased costs. But, this article needs to recheck its facts. I know you did all you could to keep the doors open. You will be missed!
Steven Belcher December 13, 2011 at 09:12 PM
Well. I guess the pundits were right about how google's indexes can really cause havoc in people's lives. I read this article and I can't believe how it demonizes someone as classy and dignified as Trevor Weaver. This is one of the most passionate people I know in the field of youth theater. When the board asked him to close the doors a week before the show, I'm sure it was the toughest thing Trevor has had to do in his 20 year career. Don't shoot the messenger people! Trevor you have influenced so many lives in your expansive career(my kids included) I wouldn't even let an article like this bother you. But, I will say to anyone reading this article to be aware that it is highly exaggerated and without merit. I'd also want people to know that you are a diamond in the rough when it comes to directing or acting coaching! Thank you for being in our lives these last several years.
Shannon Scattini February 13, 2013 at 02:41 PM
Although in cannot speak to this exact incident, we too have had a bad business experience involving Trevor Weaver!!!! Last summer Trevor Weaver hired my daughters theater teacher to run two camps here in San Luis Obispo. When she needed assistance, she was given authorization by Trevor Weaver to hired my daughter. They worked daily with the young actors an produced two separate plays, all the while being promised payment. Ultimately, they were never paid and Trevor Weaver stopped replying (from some supposed Southern California location). The staff was never paid! Unfortunately, (to those supports above) the damage is done and Trevor should NOT be trusted!!!
Healey Grant February 27, 2013 at 05:17 AM
Hi Shannon, What was the name of the camp your daughters attended in San Luis Obispo? I am a former teacher for his company in Alameda that was never paid (along with many other teachers) and I recently heard that he did the same thing further south, claiming this time that a bookkeeper was embezzling money. I also hear (and see) that he changed his name. I am so sickened to hear that he is still conning parents and teachers out of hard-earned money. It is despicable. Feel free to email me or call me at healeygrant@gmail.com (510) 846-8701


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