June 28, 2017

Teens Host Entertaining, Eclectic Talk Show “Cue the Lights” on Local TV 

TALK SHOW TALENT: From left, Jenny Yaros, Misha Meyer, and Rachel Bierman, three local teenagers who have developed a successful talk show on Princeton Community Television, look forward to continuing “Cue the Lights” for at least two more years as they polish their interviewing and performance skills.

If you want to find out what’s on the minds of some of the most interesting people and what goes on in some of the most interesting places in the Princeton area, you might want to tune in to Cue the Lights, a Princeton Community Television (PCT) show on Fridays at 5:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. 

Your hosts on this “unique program developed especially for teens, by teens, about teens,” are Rachel Bierman, Misha Meyer, and Jenny Yaros, a dynamic trio of seasoned interviewers whose day jobs consist of making their way through high school — Rachel is a junior at Stuart, Misha a freshman at Stuart, and Jenny a junior at the Pennington School.

With Cue the Lights already in its third year on PCT, their guests have included a wide range of local celebrities ranging from child actress Leila Jean Davis to musician Sarah Donner; makeup artist Celia Cabral from Blue Mercury; Princeton Council members Jenny Crumiller and Jo Butler; Holly Bull, a gap year consultant from the Center for Interim Programs (on the gap year); Steve Besserman of AriJoe Productions; Jody Wood of the JW Actors Studio; crochet artist Anastasia Popova; actress and playwright Noemi de la Puente; dietician Annie Condit; publisher, writer,  and radio show host Bart Jackson; MCCC professor emeritus Vera Goodkin, one of Raoul Wallenberg’s children; Anne Hoppenot, Stuart French teacher and founder of the Konekte Haitian relief organization; and many others.

And when not in the station taping their shows, the three young interviewers can be found broadcasting on location in such spots as the House of Cupcakes, Stone Soup Circus, SAVE Animal Shelter, the Cambridge School, the Solebury School, Stuart Country Day School, the Arts Council of Princeton, the Integral Yoga Community Center, and the Princeton Public Library.

“One thing that makes the three girls very effective is that they were all in acting class together,” said Sally Tazelaar, director of Cue the Lights. They’ve been working on speaking in front of people for a long time, and we’ve actually had their acting coach Jody Wood on our show, and I’ve seen what he does to help them. I could see any one of these three becoming a reporter or a television anchor. This experience is going to help them forever — speaking skills, looking people in the eyes, active listening.”

Interviewed by Rachel and Misha earlier this month, Mr. Jackson, CEO of Prometheus Publishing LLC and himself the host of a radio show, was impressed. “These two have the self-confidence of a Christian with four aces, a good thing to have,” he said, sitting in the studio after the taping of their session.

“You both ask questions that you really want to know the answers to, and you really enjoy being here,” he said. “Rachel is pensive and pondering — quiet, and because of that, when she says something, the room stops and they listen. Misha starts with a question, then finds the nugget that she wants to home in on, and that’s good. You work well together.”

Rachel’s father, Adam Bierman, himself an actor and host on PCT’s Breezin with Bierman, described the complementary styles of the Cue the Lights trio. “They’re like super heroes,” he said. “Misha is the vivacious Latin one. Rachel will stop and ask a cooler question. Then Jenny will pause and out of nowhere ask a really perceptive question.”

Misha added, “Rachel never gets nervous. She’s the cool cucumber that keeps us all grounded.”

Before the birth of Cue the Lights, the three young women were guests on Mr. Bierman’s show, presenting their own segment as they interviewed Leila Jean Davis.

“At first we prepared questions and each girl had a card, so they had turns to ask questions. But they naturally evolved and soon didn’t need cards,” said Rachel’s mother, Sandra Jordan. “They took control. Their natural talents came through.”

Mr. Bierman added, “They felt more and more confident. Now they’ve reached their own level. They have their own chemistry.”

Misha described how her comfort level and interviewing skills have developed since Cue the Lights debuted in 2014, when she was in sixth grade and Jenny and Rachel were eighth graders. “After the first shows I got yelled at for using my hands too much, so for the next ones I held onto the table or the chair,” she said. “And sometimes we would repeat questions, and we wouldn’t always enunciate, and when they were talking we wouldn’t always act like we were engaged in what they were saying.”

Jenny recalled her early involvement with Cue the Lights: “I met my two good friends in an acting class, and when we heard we had the opportunity to create a teen talk show we were all excited to work together and create ideas that would be of interest to a wide array of teenagers. It also gave us practice speaking in front of a camera and learning how TV productions work behind the scenes.”

Aspiring to a career in acting, modeling “and maybe even TV production,” Jenny emphasized the interesting variety of topics and the range of different guests they had encountered on the show. “I especially like when we are on location filming outside the studio because it is fun to see what is going on at the local businesses we are helping to promote.”

Rachel’s passions include writing, reading, traveling, and drawing. She would love to write scripts for a TV series, or realistic fiction, or a series of books about the supernatural. Misha is into acting, and continues to take classes in the Master program at the JW Actor’s Studio. She also loves writing, drawing, cooking, reading, and circus arts.

To find out more about what’s going on in the world of Rachel, Misha, Jenny, and Cue the Lights, tune in to PCT on Friday or Saturday evening on channel 30 for Princeton residents with Comcast and on channel 45 for Princeton and other surrounding areas with Verizon Fios. It is also streamed on www.princetontv.org and is on YouTube.