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Laura Benanti, Megan Hilty, Celia Keenan-Bolger and Chita Rivera Give Back at the 2019 Broadway Back to School Gala

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An all-star cast will join the previously announced Tony Award-winners Celia Keenan-Bolger and Chita Rivera to give back to school theatre by supporting the Educational Theatre Foundation(ETF), which provides financial support for school theatre education programs.

They are joined by award-winning student Thespians from across the country in this unique evening of entertainment.Broadway Back to School is the only event where professional artists share their talents alongside behind-the-scenes stories of how they got started in high school theatre, stories are as inspiring as the high school Thespians with whom they’ll perform. (Thespians are members of the International Thespian Society, the honor organization for middle and high school theatre students, with 2.4 million alums, currently celebrating its 90th anniversary.)

Tony, Drama Desk, and Outer Critics Circle Award winner Laura Benanti was most recently seen on Broadway as Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady and won her Tony as Louise in Gypsy, but her first award was a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award for Outstanding Actress in a high school production for the title role in Hello, Dolly!.

John Cariani, the stage and screen actor most recently seen in The Band’s Visit on Broadway, is also a playwright, best known for Almost, Maine, the most produced play in U. S. high schools for five years in a row.  It is also one of the most popular plays in the world, having been translated into over a dozen languages.

Thespian alum  Gavin Creel (Troupe 451 in Findlay, Ohio) won a Tony Award for his performance as Cornelius Hackl inHello, Dolly!, and an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical as Elder Price in the West End production of The Book of Mormon.

Megan Hilty

Tony Award nominee Megan Hilty is best known for her work as Ivy Lynn on NBC’s Smash. Her Broadway credits include Doralee in 9 to 5: The Musical and her Broadway debut as Glinda in Wicked

Cariani will introduce Derailed, a play by Thespian Jared Goudsmit, a finalist in the 2019 Thespian Musicalworksprogram and 2018 Thespian Playworks program.  To Kill a Mockingbird star Will Pullen will perform a scene from the student playwright of Troupe 748 in Kirkwood, Mo. Pullen is joined by Victor Colasurdo a Thespian alum of  Troupe 7455 Toms River, NJ and current Pace University student,  and Qawiyya Haqq, a Thespian from Troupe 7891 Burlington County Institute of Technology, Medford, NJ.

A highlight of the evening is the presentation of the Broadway Back to School Award to honorees Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman in recognition of their leadership in building access and excellence in school theatre. They were among the first creative leaders in the theatrical industry to recognize that the involvement of young students in musical theatre was essential for their success in school and life, as well as for the progress and growth of the industry. 

For its fifth anniversary, on September 22 at 6:30 p.m., Broadway Back to School has moved to the Edison Ballroom. Key in leading the event’s growth are the host committee, headed by Hunter Bell, Tony-nominated playwright and vice chair of the ETF National Board of Trustees and Kim Rogers, Concord Theatricals vice president and ETF National Board of Trustees.

The Broadway Back to School Committee includes: Sarah Jane Arnegger, Michael DiBianco, Matthew Hagmeier Curtis, Mark Drum, Ken Duffy, Nancy Duffy, Jason Goldstein, Glenn Halcomb, Jim Hoare, Courtney Kochuba, Carolyn Little, John Prignano, Abbie Van Nostrand, Mark Weinstein.

Previously announced Broadway Back to School performers include: Pullen, currently playing Jem in Broadway’s To Kill a Mockingbird; Drama Desk Award nominee Evan Ruggiero; Alex Stone, Thespian alum and recent graduate of Cincinnati Conservatory of Music; and J. Harrison Ghee, from Broadway’s Kinky Boots, who will be appearing asCrystal Demure.

The production team for 2019 Broadway Back to School is led by Artistic Director/Concept Creator J. Jason Daunter, Production Stage Manager for Broadway’s To Kill a Mockingbird and the upcoming West Side Story; with Creative Producer Matt Conover, Vice President, Entertainment, Disneyland Resort and chair of the ETF National Board of Trustees; Musical Director Christine Riley; Associate Director/Choreographer Jeff Whiting, founder Open Jar Institute and Board of Directors Educational Theatre Association; Musical Arranger P. Jason Yarcho; and Line Producer Hans Weichhart. 

The Educational Theatre Foundation  was launched November 2017 as the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, which is the home of the International Thespian Society. ETF provides essential financial support to enhance excellence in theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child, putting them on a more positive life path. ETF is focused on three areas: JumpStart Theatre – to create sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none; need-based grants to schools – to provide teaching and performance resources and equipment in under-resourced schools; and merit and need-based grants to individuals — to nurture the next generation of theatre teachers and artists.  In its first year, ETF has awarded more than $650,000 in grants, directly impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities and enabling the development of musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools in six states.

Suzanna, co-owns and publishes the newspaper Times Square Chronicles or T2C. At one point a working actress, she has performed in numerous productions in film, TV, cabaret, opera and theatre. She has performed at The New Orleans Jazz festival, The United Nations and Carnegie Hall. She has a screenplay and a TV show in the works, which she developed with her mentor and friend the late Arthur Herzog. She is a proud member of the Drama Desk and the Outer Critics Circle and was a nominator. Email: suzanna@t2conline.com

Events

Glen-Gery Launches First U.S. Exclusive Edition of Materiality at Dazzling New York Event

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Glen-Gery is once again bringing beautiful artistic impressions to the world. On April 18, they hosted an exclusive launch event for the first U.S. edition of “Materiality.” Over 300 guests gathered at Brickworks Design Studio on 5th Avenue for a spectacular event that showcased lively discussions with experts during “Shapes to the X Degree.”

The discussion was moderated by Morris Adjmi of Morris Adjmi Architects and spotlighted panelists Stanley Saitowtiz of Stanley Saitowitz | Natoma Architects Inc; Gregory Hoss of David M. Schwarz Architects; Kent Suhrbier, FAIA, LEED AP of Bohlin Cywinski Jackson; Ben Widger, AIA of Kennedy Violich Architects; Arthur Chang of NADAAA Inc. and Diego Samuel of HDR.

“In an era where architectural trends and materials come and go, brick’s enduring beauty, versatility and resilience stand out as a cornerstone in shaping structures that transcend time and inspire generations,” says Tim Leese, director of marketing for Brickworks North America. “Within its pages, Materiality: Brick in contemporary university architecture vividly illustrates this belief, showcasing the most exceptional architectural projects and designs from universities across the U.S.”

Featured architects brilliantly discussed how unique architectural designs and details can be achieved using masonry. Each honored professional spent time passionately explaining projects around America that re-shaped the modern landscape. It was a fascinating presentation that the audience enjoyed from start to finish.

The “Materiality” discussion was followed by Glen-Gery announcing its first-ever architect collaboration program to educate and empower the current and future generations of architects and designers.

All event attendees, including architects, designers and students, were given a chance to receive a one-of-a-kind collaboration opportunity with Glen-Gery to become an honorary member of its R&D Team. Those chosen will have the chance to visit the company’s Mid-Atlantic factory in Pennsylvania where they will work with Glen-Gery to design a custom brick shape, which can then serve as the centerpiece for conceptual building project renderings or sketches, cementing the program’s transformative impact.

Outstanding building designs that were in the spotlight on the special night included:

  • Zeppos Residential College at Vanderbilt University: A monumental 260,000-square-foot residential building with a collegiate gothic-style structure. Through the use of limestone details, patterned brick and a warm palette of interior materials, the building scale is humanizing and creates a series of public and private spaces, bringing comfort and familiarity to residents.
  • The Iribe Center of Computer Science and Engineering at University of Maryland: Peeling back the layers of this building project, the two-part structure showcases the intricacies of the non-structural application of brick. Through the use of parametric modeling, an abstract pattern was translated into a system of brick that creates the illusion of movement along the interior walls.
  • The Institute for Data Science at University of Rochester: As the signature focus of the University’s strategic plan, the 61,000-square-foot research institute’s design treats each brick as a digital ‘pixel’ of information. Shadows from the projecting bricks activate the facades, creating dynamic, textural surfaces that communicate natural environment data across the days and seasons.

To request a complimentary hard copy of Materiality, visit www.glengery.com/materiality.

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Rockers On The Rise: With Love – A Benefit Concert Featuring The Stars Of Tomorrow

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G.H. Harding

The Path Fund Inc.® and Avery Rehl are pleased to announce this special celebration of Love on Mother’s Day, Rockers On The Rise: With Love. The event will feature some of the most talented young performers of the next generation. Rockers On The Rise: With LoveRockers On The Rise: With Love is on Sunday, May 12, 2024 at 6 p.m. at The Cutting Room.

Rockers On The Rise is The PATH Fund’s new mentorship initiative that enables young artists to audition, perform, direct and produce their own shows with personalized mentoring and hands-on training to gain real-world experience. Having been a part of the annual Rockers On Broadway® concert series, Avery Rehl was inspired to lead this year’s Rockers-type event to support the arts community.

“I’ve had such a great time working with Cori Gardner and Donnie Kehr, and I’ve learned a lot from them as I’ve developed my performing career. Singing in Rockers On Broadway has been a great experience, and now producing Rockers On The Rise is giving me further insights into how the industry works. In the future, I look forward to giving back to the community and helping young artists grow with the PATH Fund.”, says Rehl.

The performers include:

The graduating high school seniors, class of 2024, Isabelle Gottfried; Avery Rehl; Matteo Russo (The Many Saints Of Newark); Sylvia Smith; and other young rockers, Nick Allen; Claudia Fabella; GG Roberts-Nguyen; Tyson Gottfried; Jackson Preisser; Gus Schonfeld; Jurnee Swan (The Piano Lesson); Audrey Simone Winters (The Sound Of Music (tour)).

The creative team is led by director Donnie Kehr; Executive Producers Avery Rehl, Cori Gardner; with music direction by Logan Medland.

“We are so honored that these young performers want to give their time and talent to our cause”, says Gardner. “Their commitment to the community is impressive and inspirational.” adds Kehr.

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Broadway

Theatre News: The Heart of Rock and Roll, Gutenberg! The Musical!, The Who’s Tommy, Jelly’s Last Jam, Follies,

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Tonight The Heart of Rock and Roll opens at the James Earl Jones Theatre. Two nights before there was a celebration performance with Huey Lewis with The News, Jimmy Kimmel, Cyndi Lauper, Casey Cott, Rosanna Scotto, Ben Vereen, Lorna Luft and more.

Cyndi Lauper and Huey Lewis

The Heart of Rock and Roll, stars Corey Cott, McKenzie Kurtz, Josh Breckenridge, F. Michael Haynie, Zoe Jensen, Tamika Lawrence, Raymond J. Lee, John-Michael Lyles, Orville Mendoza, Billy Harrigan Tighe and John Dossett.

The Original Broadway Cast Album of Gutenberg! The Musical! featuring GRAMMY® Award winners and Tony Award® nominees Josh Gad and Andrew Rannells will be released digitally on Friday, May 3 and physically on Friday, May 17 from Center Stage Records and Yellow Sound Label. The album will also feature comedy legend Mel Brooks in the role of the ‘Guest Producer.’

The Museum of Broadway will host original Broadway cast reunions for The Who’s Tommy on April 22 at 2pm and Jelly’s Last Jam on April 26 at 2pm. Each reunion will include a panel featuring multiple cast and crew members from the original Broadway productions.

For one night only—on Thursday, June 20, at 8:00 p.m. at Carnegie Hall Stephen Sondheim’s Follies. Directed and presented by Transport Group Artistic Director and five-time Drama Desk nominee and two-time Obie Award winner Jack Cummings III with musical direction by Joey Chancey.

The cast of Follies includes Broadway stars Julie Benko (Funny Girl), Mikaela Bennett(Renascence, BBC Proms West Side Story), Michael Berresse (Tony nominee, Kiss Me Kate), Alexandra Billings (Wicked), Klea Blackhurst (Everything the Traffic Will Allow), Harolyn Blackwell (Candide, Porgy and Bess), Stephen Bogardus (Tony nominee, Love! Valour! Compassion!; Falsettos), Norbert Leo Butz (two-time Tony winner, Catch Me If You Can, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Len Cariou (Tony winner, Sweeney Todd), Carolee Carmello (three-time Tony nominee, Parade; Falsettos), Jim Caruso (Liza’s At The Palace), Nikki Renée Daniels (Company, The Book of Mormon), Christine Ebersole (two-time Tony winner, Grey Gardens, 42nd Street), Katie Finneran (two-time Tony winner, Noises Off, Promises, Promises), Santino Fontana (Tony winner, Tootsie), Alexander Gemignani (Tony nominee, Carousel; Sweeney Todd), Miguel Gil (Kimberly Akimbo), Olivia Elease Hardy (Kimberly Akimbo), Erika Henningsen (Mean Girls), Grey Henson(Tony nominee, Mean Girls, Shucked), Fernell Hogan (Kimberly Akimbo), Jennifer Holliday (Tony winner, Dreamgirls), Rachel Bay Jones (Tony winner, Dear Evan Hansen; Here We Are), Isabel Keating (Tony nominee, The Boy from Oz), Adriane Lenox (Tony winner, Doubt), Norm Lewis (Tony nominee, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess), Ryan McCartan (Heathers), Donna Murphy (two-time Tony winner, Passion, The King and I), Thom Sesma (Pacific Overtures, Man of La Mancha), Barbara Walsh (Tony nominee, Falsettos; Company), Nina White (Kimberly Akimbo), Jacob Keith Watson (Merrily We Roll Along, Carousel), and Karen Ziemba (Tony winner, Contact).

The evening will feature the original Jonathan Tunick orchestrations played by a thirty-piece orchestra, and will also feature a selection of Michael Bennett’s original choreography restaged by original cast member Mary Jane Houdina.

This unique concert series features a different lineup of performers for each song, rather than a role portrayed by one actor for the entire evening. Additionally, in lieu of the musical’s book scenes, backstage stories and anecdotes from the creation of the original production are woven between songs.

The evening will be hosted by Kurt Peterson, who originated the role of Young Ben in the 1971 Broadway production, as well as licensing executive and theatre historian Ted Chapin, whose memoir Everything Was Possible is taken from his daily diaries during the pre-Broadway run of Follies, on which he served as intern during his senior year of college.

Follies, book by James Goldman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, produced originally on Broadway by Harold Prince, orchestrations by Jonathan Tunick, premiered on Broadway on April 4, 1971, at the Winter Garden Theatre in a production directed by Harold Prince and Michael Bennett, with choreography by Bennett.  The winner of seven Tony Awards, seven Drama Desk Awards, and the New York Drama Critics’ Circle Award for best musical, Follies developed almost immediate cult and legendary status following its closing on July 1, 1972, after playing 522 performances and 12 previews.  Scores of revivals followed on Broadway, in the West End, in regional theaters, and throughout the world.  This concert is presented by special arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh.

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The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

A TARNISHED TIFFANY — CBS is having a tough month. First, their much-ballyhooed Billy Joel concert -the initial showing- was cut off abruptly while Joel was doing “Piano Man” no less. It was re-run Friday to somewhat meager numbers and, also Friday, CBS canceled their show So Help Me Todd, which was a breath of fresh air in the TV-world. Last year, its debut year, it was a rave and a ratings winner.

CBS has several new shows set for September and the ratings for Todd had fallen dramatically. Now, not that network apparently cares, but there’s been an outpouring of both sympathy and bewilderment for the cancellation and downright hate, if you will. The show starred Marcia Gay Harden and Skylar Austin and was totally unique.

Roger Friedman disparaged the cancellation as well and said it was a perfect Sunday night show – although it would have kept getting pushed back by virtue of CBS-sports.

It was a totally brilliant and innovative show about a mother and a son working together and not always in harmony. An episode Dial M For Margaret (directed by Robin Givens no less) was simply brilliant. To be candid, I think CBS stepped it again – last year it was their canceling East New York with Jimmy Smitsbut stay tuned … sometimes the cancellations are un-canceled and it could just happen with SHMT.

Tiffany no more.

HEART ON — (via Ultimate Classic Rock) Heart kicked off their Royal Flush tour on Saturday at Greenville, South Carolina’s Bon Secours Wellness Arena with support from Cheap trick.

In addition to classics like “Magic Man,” “Straight On” and “Barracuda,” Heart also performed a few of Nancy and Ann Wilson’s respective solo songs, plus covers of Led Zeppelin and David Bowie.

The Royal Flush tour marks Heart’s first extended trek since 2019 and will keep them on the road, primarily in North America, through late September. The rockers will also head to Europe in June and July with Squeeze opening select dates, and they’ll support Def Leppard and Journey on a handful of stadium dates in July and August.

It’s been a turbulent decade for Heart, who haven’t released a studio album since 2016’s Beautiful Broken. Ann and Nancy Wilson put the band on hold that year after Ann’s husband was arrested for allegedly hitting one of Nancy’s children during their 2016 tour.

The sisters mended fences and embarked on the Love Alive tour in 2019, followed by another extended break during which they both released solo albums. However, Nancy Wilson said last June that Heart was working on new material that is “closer to what you would have heard us originally do in the ’70s, late ’70s. So, it’s really fun, it’s just exciting and inspiring.”

Danny Fried

SHORT TAKES — Danny Fried’s Sweet Mary Jane stage-presentation never got off the ground, sadly. What with the proliferation of weed shops and weed culture;it’d would have fit right in …

Johnny Rzeznik

Funny to see Travis Kelce say ‘when her album drops.’ Wonder if he even knew what that meant before he met her … Johnny Rzeznik’s song “Iris” (1998 from the movie City of Angels) has got to be one of the most beautiful songs ever. He teamed up with Daryl Hall for a duet on it for Daryl’s House.Just amazing: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PPlg6aSFzg0

Hannah Waddingham

Great Hannah Waddingham profile on Sunday’s Willie Geist gabfest. She’s terrific …

Chris Cuomo

Chris Cuomo back on CNN? With different management now in place there, discussions are indeed being held. He was the station’s #1 air-personality. Sorry Anderson. personally, I loved him … Big news from Rascal Felix Cavaliere later this week … Roger Friedman gave a race to Alicia Key’s Hell’s Kitchen musical: ‘Is a High End Jukebox Musical with Soaring Voices.’ Bravo! … Adios to the New York Post’s TV-man Michael Starr who has been there for 29 years. He used to have a daily column in the paper’s heyday called The Starr Report that was sensational; almost like a mini-Army Archerd. PR-pasha David Salidor got Starr his caricature up on the wall of The Palm on 50th street in NYC near booth 24. He’s done a series of books, including Joey Bishop, William Shatner; Don Rickles;  and his next one is on Rodney Dangerfield. Good man!

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Ed Steinberg; Peter Brown; Amanda Naylor; Thomas Silverman; Scott Anderson; Lenny Kalikow; Terry Jastrow; Anne Archer; Sam Rubin; Doug Breitbart; Nosia Mamet; Lush Ice; Kent & Laura Denmark; Felix Cavaliere; Dolly Parton; Melissa Manchester; Mark Bego; Lamar Fike; Obi Steinman; and CHIP!

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Team USA Launches Epic Journey to Paris in Big Apple

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It was a profound moment in sports.

In April, 100 athletes from all over the U.S. gathered for an epic  three-day media event with the goal of shining a light on the Olympic and Paralympic Movements in the United States at 100 days out from Paris 2024.

“We want to win the medal count,” USOPC  Rocky Harris stated.

So many great moments were witnessed including the packed gymnastics panel moderated by Hoda Kotb with Evita Griskenas, Kayla DiCello, Suni Lee, Yul Moldauer,  and Brody Malone.

The evolution of the Paralympic Movement Panel showcased  Beatrice Lavette (Para Equestrian), Calahan Young (Goalball), Jamal Hill (Para Swimming), Steve Serio (Wheelchair Basketball), Ezra Frech (Para T&F), and Justin Phongsavanh (Para T&F).

An incredibly moving Mental Health Panel had the crowd listening to Jess Bartley (USOPC), Perry Baker (Rugby), Nicky Nieves (Sitting Volleyball), Jaleen Roberts (Para T&F), Nevin Harrison (Canoe),  and Ilona Maher (Rugby).

“You can feel the energy and the excitement building − certainly inside the walls of our organization, but also around the country,” U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland said Monday.

“You can feel the energy and the excitement building − certainly inside the walls of our organization, but also around the country,” U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee chief executive officer Sarah Hirshland was quoted stating.

The 2024 Summer Games are now less than just 100 days away. Paris is prepping to host its first Olympics in 100 years with venues being built at some of the city’s most famous sites.

Founded in 1894 and headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee serves as both the National Olympic Committee and National Paralympic Committee for the United States. The U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee is focused on protecting, supporting and empowering America’s athletes, and is responsible for fielding U.S. teams for the Olympic, Paralympic, Youth Olympic, Pan American and Parapan American Games, and serving as the steward of the Olympic and Paralympic movements in the U.S.

For more information on Team USA, please visit HERE.

 

 

 

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