BEACON FALLS — Woodland Regional High School drama teacher Susan Cinoman has begun to make a name for herself on the small screen with the help of a former pupil.
Cinoman wrote a script for the ABC show, “The Goldbergs,” last year. The episode, titled “Mama Drama,” aired on Oct. 1.
The show, which was created and produced by Adam Goldberg, follows a fictional version of Goldberg and his family during the 1980s. Goldberg was at student in Cinoman’s drama class at William Penn Charter School in Philadelphia, Penn.
“He was a drama kid. He was in all of my plays. I directed him and I helped him with his writing. That’s how I met him, and we kept up a friendship over the years. Then lo and behold he started writing for TV. He was writing the show and I was seeing on the show all of these things that I recognized from our past,” Cinoman said.
Cinoman, who has been writing plays for over 20 years, thought since she was part of his past around the time the show is based she would be able to write a good script for the show.
“I sent him an email and said, ‘I have a pitch for you and see what you think.’ He knows my writing and has seen my work over the years. He read the pitch and said, ‘Yes, I love it,’” Cinoman said.
Mama Drama is about the character Adam Goldberg auditioning for a role in the musical “Jesus Christ Superstar.” Cinoman explains Adam Goldberg wants to audition and has humble expectations when he first decides to audition. But his mother, Beverly, pumps him up, telling him he’s meant to play the role of Jesus Christ. However, after auditioning, he is cast in the small role of Todd the Apostle.
“He is very disappointed and angry, and so is his mom, so they decide to do a whole other show in rebellion. And, of course, it is a disaster,” Cinoman said.
Since her script was loosely based on Goldberg’s past, Cinoman wrote herself as the drama teacher. The character, called Ms. Cinoman in the show, is played by Ana Gasteyer.
After Goldberg accepted her idea, Cinoman said, she flew out to Los Angeles to work on the script with the show’s writers.
The show is filmed on Sony Pictures Studio’s lot, which is where classic movies, such as Wizard of Oz, and newer shows, such as Breaking Bad, were shot, Cinoman said.
“It has huge warehouses that are beautiful. They don’t look like old warehouses, they are pristine. You go into the warehouse and it’s like you are at the Goldbergs. You walk through their living room which is, to the tiniest detail, laid out as if you are in somebody’s living room in the ‘80s. It’s like an exhibit,” Cinoman said.
She wrote Goldberg as nerdy and an outcast in her script because that is how he is portrayed in the show. However, Cinoman said, it is not how she remembers him.
“The way he writes himself, his character is a little bit nerdy, a little bit of a misfit, isn’t athletic. In reality, as a kid, he was the most popular, adorable, charismatic kid. He was the lead actor in everything I did. That’s kind of how he has perceived himself, this character of the outsider or misfit. But he wasn’t, he was a winner from the get-go. He was always extremely funny and extremely talented,” Cinoman said.
Cinoman has written other potential storylines for the Goldbergs, but none have been used yet.
“Whether or not it’s going to happen is the question. I’d like it to happen, but it’s not announceable in any way. I am working on stuff and I hope something happens, but we’ll see what the future brings,” Cinoman said.
Although Susan Cinoman, the writer, may not have made any repeat performances for the Goldbergs yet, Ms. Cinoman, the character, has appeared in another episode.
“I imagine she’ll be back because the actress is so good and so funny,” Cinoman said.