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Theatre News: 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival, The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room, Brickman for Broadway Christmas, Political Idol 2020 and Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies

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A number of notable productions are screening this week through Sunday as part of the 2020 Voices International Theatre Festival, produced by the Jersey City Theater Center (JCTC).  Here are a few highlights from among the 24 productions from 20 countries being show as part of the 10-day event. Visit www.jctcenter.org for details. 1/ “The Tin Ring” (England) – By Zdenka Fantlová, adapted by Mike Alfreds and Jane Arnfield.  A dramatization of the true-life story of Holocaust survivor Zdenka Fantlová, performed by Arnfield, and directed by Alfreds. One-woman performance in English.  Recorded performance. Sat Oct 24, 10am, talk-back with Arnfield following performance ($10) 

2/ “Antigone” (Estonia/Iran) – RAAAM Theater Group (producer) adapted by Iranian exile Ghanizadeh, written in Estonian, this censored work in Farsi and Estonian was produced with Estonian actors from RAAM Theater Group. Modern adaptation of Sophocles. Recorded performance with subtitles. Sat Oct 24, 4pm ($10) 

3/ “Mönster Outside,” (USA) – Sidra Bell Dance. The award-winning, New York based choreographer by Sidra Bell, who calls herself a movement illustrato, performs a piece about the nature of outliers and constructed self-identity.  Performance dance.  Recorded performance. Sat Oct 24, 7:30pm ($10) 

4/ “Chernobyl… At the Beginning and the End of Time”  (Russia) – Roman Viktyuk Theatre. Winner of the 2016 Golden Mask, conceived and directed by Roman Viktyuk. A family lives in the exclusion zone in Chernobyl following the nuclear disaster of 1986. Ensemble performance. Recorded, in Russian with English subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 10am ($10) 

5/ “Myth,” (Israel) – Matara (producer). A play by Iddo Netanyahu.  An examination of the conflict of our times between society’s self-declared elites and its populace. Classic chamber theatre format, Recorded performance, in Hebrew with subtitles. Sun Oct 25, 2pm ($10)  

Nearly all of the 24 productions being seen will have talk-backs with the artists immediately following the broadcast of their productions, giving audience members ample opportunities to engage with artists from around the world.  

You are invited to review The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room (www.TheDooWopProject.com) , a virtual theatrical concert, broadcast live from Shubert Studios, on Sunday, October 25th at 7:00PM EST. The Doo Wop Project traces the evolution of Doo Wop from the classic sound of five guys singing tight harmonies on a street corner to the biggest hits on the radio today. The theatrical concert takes audiences on a journey from foundational tunes of groups like the Crests, Belmonts, and Flamingos through their influences on the sounds of Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and The Four Seasons all the way to “Doo-Wopified” versions of modern musicians like Michael Jackson, Amy Winehouse, and Maroon 5. The Doo Wop Project: Live In Your Living Room is produced by Ken Davenport. Featuring stars of Broadway’s smash hits Jersey Boys and Motown: The MusicalThe Doo Wop Project brings unparalleled authenticity of sound and vocal excellence to recreate-and in some cases entirely reimagine-some of the greatest music in American pop and rock history. The last five years have seen sold-out shows across the country and performances with everyone from Katy Perry to Jon Bon Jovi to Jay Leno. The Doo Wop Project has been seen in theaters across the country from Minnesota and Maryland to California and New Jersey. Their popular Symphonic Pops show has been performed with dozens of symphonies including Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Omaha, Vancouver, Detroit, and more.

The cast of The Doo Wop Project includes: Charl Brown (Motown: The Musical), Dwayne Cooper (Smokey Joe’s Café), John Michael Dias (Beautiful: The Carole King Musical), Russell Fischer (Jersey Boys), Dominic Nolfi (Jersey Boys), and Santino Paladino (Pippin). Critics are raving about The Doo Wop Project. The Chautauquan Dailysaid, “Doo Wop Project is street corner music for a new generation” and The Omaha World-Herald cheered, “Refreshing pop flavor… a rowdy standing ovation!” Nuvo Indianapolis applauded “lush orchestral arrangements,” and Maryland Theatre Guide praised the show saying, “The joy of the group’s performance was infectious and it was clear the guys were having as much fun as the audience.” Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with each other AND with The Doo Wop Project via a live chat, which will appear next to the video stream. Attendees can request songs to The Doo Wop Project in the chat. The Doo Wop Project is also offering a DANCING GUARANTEE.  That’s right, just like their live shows, they will GUARANTEE that audience members are up on their feet, dancing in their living room when watching their live stream . . . or they’ll get their money back.

The Actors Fund, the national human services organization for everyone in performing arts and entertainment, announced today that Grammy nominated songwriter and piano sensation Jim Brickman will be taking the nation by storm this holiday season with Brickman for Broadway Christmas Live. All proceeds from the virtual concert on November 28 at 8 pm ET and the album sales will benefit The Actors Fund. Broadway fans and their families can enjoy this unique virtual concert experience from the comfort of home, while supporting The Actors Fund and their COVID-19 relief efforts. Click here to pre-order Brickman for Broadway Christmas (including the Brickman on Broadway limited edition) albums ($29.99). Click here to for tickets to the Brickman for Broadway Christmas Live November 28 virtual concert (ticket packages start at $20).

The Brickman for Broadway Christmas album features sensational performances from Megan Hilty, Santino Fontana, Kelli O’Hara, Norm Lewis, Adrienne Warren, Shoshana Bean, Max von Essen, Sierra Boggess and Matt Doyle and celebrates the season with soaring vocals, and a merry and bright holiday spirit.

Brickman will bring his November 28 live virtual concert experience up close and personal for supporters of The Actors Fund by blending yuletide memories and holiday carols. Scheduled to appear with Jim Brickman are Kelli O’Hara, Matt Doyle, Adrienne Warren, Max von Essen, Shoshana Bean, Norm Lewis, Megan Hilty, Wayne Brady

After sold-out runs in New York, Washington, DC, and Chicago, the smart and witty, political parody, Political Idol 2020, written by Robert Yarnall and Marc Emory, directed by Michael Goldfried, with music direction by Anessa Marie will debut its newest 2020 edition on October 27. Tickets are $20.20 and can be purchased on PoliticalIdolLive.com.

A wickedly funny and witty musical parody in the vein of Forbidden Broadway, Political Idol 2020 is hosted by Oprah Winfrey with constant interruptions by Donald Trump and features appearances by stars of the 2020 campaign season including Melania Trump, Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar, Elizabeth Warren, Nancy Pelosi, Kimberly Guilfoyle, Kamala Harris, Michelle  Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Ben Carson, Bill Barr, Mitch McConnell, Mayor Pete, and Bernie Sanders. 

Political Idol 2020 features 16 lyrically altered songs including “I Really Need Your Vote” (“I Hope I Get It “A Chorus Line)  “Strangers on the Right” (Strangers in the Night”), SEASONS OF TRUMP (Based on Jonathan Larson’s “Seasons of Love” from “Rent”), IT’S DIVERSION (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”), FAKE (“I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues” by Elton John), KAMALA MEDLEY (“Karma Chameleon” by Culture Club) and many more. 

During its last run, critic’s raved about  Political Idol saying its “Armed with irreverence, wit, and spot-on impressions of Hillary, Obama, Giuliani, and George W., a quartet of seasoned entertainers turn familiar songs into show-stopping political parodies.”

The cast includes Lara Buck Antolik (Film: Lady Hunters), Enga Davis (Broadway: ONE MO’ TIME. Film: IN THE FAMILY WAY), Joe DiSalle, Scott Foster, and  Robert Yarnall, Creative team includes Sara Jean Tosetti  (Costume Designer), Quentin Madia (Choreography), James Rushin (Audio Engineer), Bruno-Pierre Houle (Virtual Production Designer),  LCM247 (Video Production and Editing), Will Chaloner (Production Supervisor), Leah Michalos (Director Marketing), LDK Productions/ Lisa Dozier King (General Management). 

Marc Emory and Olson Rohdes (Executive Producers), with LCM247’s Patrick Heaphy (Producer).

Internationally acclaimed one woman show Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies  has added live streaming and in-person performance options through November 12. Written and performed by Jessica Sherr (Blue Bloods, Annie, Claws), it directed by Karen Carpenter (Harry Townsend’s Last Stand, Love Loss and What I Wore). 

In Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies , Sherr channels 31-year old Bette Davis’ fight against the male-dominated studio system.  On the night of the 1939 Oscars, Bette Davis returns home knowing she’s to lose Best Actress to Vivien Leigh’s Scarlet O’Hara, because the press has leaked the winners.  Davis takes us on the bumpy ride of her tumultuous rise, as the tenacious actress fights her way through the studio system to the top. Witness Bette triumph over misogyny to win roles and compensation on par with her male counterparts. See what happens when someone who always wins…loses. 

STREAM ON YOUR COMPUTER FROM HOME:
• Thurs. October 22 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. October 29 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. November 5 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
• Thurs. November 12 at 7:30pm EDT / 4:30pm PDT
Tickets are $18.50 each, available at www.bettedavisaintforsissies.com.

LIVE & IN PERSON POP UP SHOWS IN NEW YORK CITY:
•  Sun. October 25 @ 3pm EDT – Upper West Side/10025
These intimate live-and in person pop up shows will be presented using the LiveTours app and performed for an audience of 12. Ticket buyers must have a smart phone and headphones or earbuds. By downloading the app in advance, patrons will be able to clearly hear Bette while being able to maintain a safe social distance from her and other guests. The exact meetup location (as well as instructions and safety protocols) will be emailed to ticket buyers in advance of the performance. It is suggested that patrons bring their own pillow/blanket/portable chair for seating and wear comfortable shoes. Face masks must be worn at all times — no eating or drinking during the course of the event. In case of rain, refunds will be issued. Tickets are $20 each, available at www.bettedavisaintforsissies.com.

Bette Davis Ain’t For Sissies premiered at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2008 and has gone on to sold-out five-star runs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival over three consecutive years, a month-long run in Chicago, a US tour in 2015, and a run at St. James Theater in London. The show has been seen in 12 US states, including stops in Tuscon, San Antonio, Roswell, San Jose and Little Rock, among many others and in three countries. For more information visit bettedavisaintforsissies.com.

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

Celebrity

The Glorious Corner

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G.H. Harding

MAHER’S APPRENTICE— (Via Deadline) Bill Maher stumped tonight on Real Time for the U.S. release of The Apprentice, the Cannes Competition title starring Sebastian Stan as Donald Trump and Emmy-winner Jeremy Strong as Trump’s onetime firebrand lawyer, Roy Cohn.

“It looks great,” said Maher before observing, “This is Trump’s origin story under the tutelage of Roy Cohn.”

The Real Time host continued, “It’s being released in Japan, Canada, the U.K., Germany, [but] no one here will touch it. It bothers me so much.”

Industry watchers were expectant the film would get a U.S. deal soon after its Cannes launch. Some assumed a streamer would be the most logical fit. However, in an election year, threats of legal action from Trump’s team (the film includes a controversial scene in which the Trump character rapes his former wife Ivana) and a report of one disgruntled financier, didn’t help progress towards a swift domestic pact.

The state of play earlier this month was that multiple parties remained interested in the film domestically, and there was confidence a deal will get done, probably this month.

Maher didn’t sound so sure, and he was not happy.

 “This is MY industry, you f*cking p*ssies,” he said, before commanding, “Find a way to release this movie.”

Maher then went on to explain how he says Trump works to get his way across the board.

“First he intimidates the congresspeople…then he intimidates juries, and now he’s intimidating THIS town? Oy.”

Former New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, a guest on the show, replied, “He is very good at manipulation, at leverage, at the use of power.”

Cuomo continued: “Look at what happened with Fox and the Dominion lawsuit. Fox paid $800 million to the Dominion Voting [machine] company because they lied about the election and they knew they were lying. Why were they lying? Because the Trump people left Fox when they [Fox] said, ‘You lost the election.’ That’s his power: He’s got the dog whistle to his cult.”

Maher then summarized by waxing patriotic: “I’m an American and I want to see the movies that I want!”

I’m not a huge fan of Maher – he fired his agency for not getting invited to an Oscar-party- but he was the first one to get Daryl Hall to profess that he and then-partner John Oates, had a business relationship, not a partisanship. Then all the crap happened dissolving Hall & Oates – which still is a tragedy.

He definitely feels way-entitled … but his show does have its interesting moments. Think of an Andy Cohen-light.

Kelly Clarkson

SHORT TAKES — I happened to catch 2 episodes of Kelly Clarkson’s NBC-afternoon talk fest. Besides reading a tad to near her cue cards, she comes off nowhere as professional as Kelly Ripa or Katie Couric. Doing TV is the next step after making records, so she’s probably upped her income substantially, but she should stick to making records. She looks fabulous, but I was not impressed … Too bad about Justin Timberlake; having lived out there for years, extra-caution should always be applied. I understand the copy who arrested him was too young to even know who he was. Now that’s ironic …

Just saw a feature of NYC’s Virgin Hotel in NOMAD featured on NBC’s First Lookwith the always delightful Sara Gore. They showed the pool, the bar, the restaurant, but not the rooms. Weird, right? Don’t they want people booking rooms there? … Check out this terrific interview (Art Net) with art-maven (and maverick video-director) Ed Steinberg: https://news.artnet.com/market/interview-with-ed-steinberg-317245 … I like Kevin Costner; I always have …

His No Way Out is a major favorite, but as he promoted tirelessly his Horizon epic these last few weeks, he was quoted as saying he’d go back to Yellowstone if asked. Well, the show’s next season as been shot and yesterday Costner said he wouldn’t be going back at all. In a way, this sounds like the Jon Bon Jovi story all over again – will he or won’t he? I loved Yellowstone and loved it with Costner. A shame as it revived his career in a big way. I will see Horizon when it opens next week. Stay tuned …

Paul Giamatti and Robert Funaro

Here’s a great shot of our faves Robert Funaro and Paul Giamatti …

Caught a pretty good movie on Hulu this week, To Catch A Killer with Ben Mendelsohn and Shailene Woodely … New Coldplay album Moon Music (October) featuring the single “feelslikeimfallinginlove.” Check it out here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zKQ1ai_ymh0 … That long-in-the-works autobiography from old-pirate Dave Masom has new release date: September 10. Seems to be it was to be released almost 2 years ago. Wonder if they’ve updated it …

Donald Sutherland was one of my favorite actors … ever. His performance in Oliver Stone’s JFK was utterly brilliant; as was his roles in MASH; Klute; and Ordinary People. Just a brilliant actor. Rest In Peace … 

Paul McCartney

HAPPY BDAY Paul McCartney and Carson Daly.

ENDQUOTE —From Deadline on Justin Timerberlake’s mug-shot: He should use that picture as an album cover. It actually is a really good picture. Name the album, Trouble Man. And make that remake of Marvin Gaye.

NAMES IN THE NEWS — Ed Steinberg; Zach Martin; Scott Shannon; Naples Stamp; Mark Bego; David Geffen; Larry Elllison; Megan Ellison; Nancy Jeffries; Howard Bloom; Mark Adelman; Jared Leto; Tony Seidel; Toby Mamis; Arthur Levy; Danny Fields; Brad Balfour; Jane Blunkell; Sara Gore; Tom & Lisa Cuddy; Pete Sanders; Freda Payne; and SADIE!

Images on this page have been licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International license.

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Randy Edelman At Chelsea Table & Stage On a Dark And Stormy Night

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I have seen Randy Edelman several times at Chelsea Table & Stage, but this time it was a new Edelman, with a sharp haircut and a stylish look. He was more engaging and his playing exquisite.  This prolific composer has scored over 100 film scores and TV musical themes including excerpts from “My Cousin Vinny”, “While You Were Sleeping”, “The Bruce Lee Story”, “Gettysburg”, “Twins”, “Dragonheart”, “Billy Madison”, the theme from “MacGyver”, “Last of the Mohicans”, and other recognizable themes.

See his first set here.

The audience was well sold despite the horrible weather, but not exactly the best behaved. There was a woman behind me and her friends that were the rudest humans I have ever met. At one point they stood up to take selfies in the middle of the concert. Ironically this woman wanted me to interview her.

Randy’s enchanted the audience with his well known “A Weekend in New England” recorded by Barry Manilow, “You” recorded by The Carpenters and so many more recorded by Olivia Newton-John, Willy Nelson, Blood, Sweat and Tears, Bing Crosby, Dionne Warwick, and other musical stars.

Randy’s comedic sharing of tales with the audience added an intimacy. His heart and soul show through his music but it his conversational style that puts the audience at ease.

Make sure to catch Randy at Carnegie Hall this December.

For more information on Randy Edelman go to www.randyedelman.com

Gary Springer, Sara Johnson Kaplan, Suzanna Bowling

Lorraine Silvetz, Sara Johnson Kaplan, Taty (Tatiana), Gary Springer, Quinn Lemley, Suzanna Bowling, Errol Rappaport

Flora and Liza Pllumaj, Lorraine Silvetz, David Sexta and Elieen Shapiro

 

 

 

 

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Boomerang at Bryant Park Movie Nights Presented by Paramount+

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On Monday June 24 watch the star studded 90’s romcom: Boomerang. Join hundreds of New Yorkers at 8PM to revisit and enjoy this stylish and nostalgic NYC film classic, and follow the love triangle of the charming Marcus Graham (Eddie Murphy), Jacqueline (Robin Givens)  and Angela (Halle Berry) under the starry open skies of NYC.

This heartwarming feature film is great for a summer date night and will be sure to leave you laughing and smiling. So, bring a cozy blanket, some snacks and hit up the Hester Street Fair for some local food and drinks to enjoy! Hester Street Fair is now bringing the city’s best vendors to the Fountain Terrace each week, from 4pm-8:30pm, to make your Movie Nights picnic the most delicious it can be . Starting at 5pm, stop by our bar tent at the back of the lawn for summer-ready drinks, featuring special offerings from Stout NYC.

Forgot a blanket? Stop by the Bryant Park Shop for a cute blanket, apparel, games, our apiary honey, and more!

For more information on Paramount+ Movie Nights at Bryant Park and all of the free programming at Bryant Park this summer, visit bryantpark.org.

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Josh Groban Hosts The 2024 Jimmy Awards

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The Broadway League Foundation is pleased to announce the team of theatre professionals and industry experts who will serve as coaches and judges during the 15th annual Jimmy Awards®. Several Broadway stars will also make special guest appearances as presenters throughout the evening. Acclaimed EMMY®, two-time TONY®, and five-time GRAMMY® Award-nominated singer, songwriter, actor, and philanthropist Josh Groban will host the ceremony taking place on Monday, June 24th at the Minskoff Theatre.

Live Streaming Will Be Available on YouTube and Facebook Starting at 7:30pm Eastern JIMMYAWARDS.COM 

The 15th annual Jimmy Awards welcomes 12 coaches who will mentor the 102 high school students from across America who have come to New York City for a chance to win the Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress. The coaches include: English Bernhardt, Janet Dacal, Colin Hanlon, MaryAnn Hu, Leonard Joseph, Adam Kantor, Telly Leung, Adam J. Levy, Desi Oakley, Eliseo Román, Steven Telsey, and EJ Zimmerman.

The panel of judges for the 2024 Jimmy Awards is comprised of notable theatre professionals including Tony Award®-winning producers, award-winning casting experts, and industry leaders.Winners and finalists will be selected by Montego Glover, Kenny Leon, Joe Machota, Marc Platt, T. Oliver Reid, Tara Rubin, Nick Scandalios, Bernard Telsey, and Lia Vollack. This year, special guest judges include James Monroe Iglehart, Alan Menken, and Thomas Schumacher. Preliminary judges who evaluated and cast the nominees in the Character and Feature Groups included Gabriel Barre, Kristian Charbonier, Stephanie Klapper, Sammy Lopez, Kevin Metzger-Timson, and Dale Mott.

Throughout the evening, Victoria Clark, Justin Cooley, Andrew Barth Feldman, and Ayana Jackson will be special guest presenters introducing various awards, musical numbers, and tributes. 

The 2024 Jimmy Awards will stream for free online beginning at 7:30pm (Eastern) on Monday, June 24th via the Jimmy Awards Facebook and YouTube channels. The ceremony will remain available online for three days afterwards, through Thursday evening, June 27th. WABC’s Live Intermission Show will also stream live from the theatre and include exclusive interviews.

American Sign Language interpretation will be provided during the Jimmy Awards. For those interested in ASL interpretation, you can watch a live interpreter via an alternate YouTube stream. Live closed captions will be available through the “CC” feature on the primary YouTube stream. Additionally, closed captions will be available via an alternate link which will be a pinned comment. Accessibility services secured by Invest in Access.

Apples and Oranges Arts is the streaming and video production partner of the Jimmy Awards. The official media partner of the Jimmy Awards is WABC-TV.

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, better known as the Jimmy Awards®, is a coast-to-coast celebration of outstanding student achievement, recognizing individual talent in vocal, dance, and acting performance. The program impacts approximately 130,000 students who participate in regional high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of Touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. The 2024 Jimmy Awards anticipates welcoming more than 100 nominees from over 50 cities across the country as they make their debuts on a Broadway stage. During this exhilarating talent showcase, a panel of judges will select two students to receive the coveted awards of Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress. Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the Jimmy Awards has been the catalyst for more than $6,000,000 in educational scholarships.

Founded in 2009 by Nederlander Alliances LLC, Pittsburgh CLO, and Broadway Education Alliance (BEA), the mission of the NHSMTA is to raise the profile of musical theatre in schools, honor dedicated teachers, and inspire the next generation of performers and enthusiasts. Numerous participants have already been cast in Broadway, Touring, and West End productions. As of this spring, 67 Jimmys alumni have performed on Broadway or on Tour.
Presented by The Broadway League Foundation Inc., the NHSMTA invites two nominees from each local regional ceremony to New York City for a 10-day theatre intensive that includes coaching sessions, training, and rehearsals led by some of Broadway’s most accomplished professionals. All their combined efforts will lead to one extraordinary talent showcase performed live in front of an audience on a Broadway stage. For more information, please visit JimmyAwards.com.

The Broadway League conducts the program through The Broadway League Foundation Inc., its philanthropic division. Part of the Foundation’s mission is to enlighten and increase the public’s knowledge, appreciation, and awareness of the theatrical arts, and since its founding in 1993, has supported several projects to help preserve Broadway’s heritage and introduce new audiences to Broadway theatre. The Foundation is a corporation organized under the Not-for-Profit Corporation Law of the State of New York, the purposes of which are exclusively charitable as defined in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. Donations to support the program can be made at www.JimmyAwards.com.

Follow the Jimmy Awards on Facebook, Instagram, TikTok & YouTube!

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Can First Graders Mount a Broadway Musical And Raise Money for Charity?  Yes, They Can For Marin Mazzie

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New York City’s Midtown West School/PS 212’s First Grade Theatre Study program continues their tradition of creativity, collaboration, and philanthropy, this year benefiting the Cancer Support Community in memory of Tony winner and American Theater Hall of Fame inductee Marin Mazzie.

This astonishing group of first graders from Midtown West School/PS 212 and their teachers Bryan Andes and Rowena Hurst who, this year, produced an original musical version of The Little Mermaid with a score made up of Flaherty/Ahrens songs while raising funds to honor the memory of beloved Broadway legend Marin Mazzie, who died of ovarian cancer in 2018.

Developed by Andes in 2005, the First Grade Theatre Study (the Study) was created as a way to help students develop a deeper understanding of how people work together to create theater. Using a social studies lens, the two-year program looks at the entire process of how a show comes together – from the creation of a script to the running of a live musical, and every step in between.

The Study begins in kindergarten with an immersive study of fairy tales. Students learn about tales from around the world and how different cultures retell these stories in distinctive ways. Then, beginning in first grade, students engage in the research process. They meet with directors, designers, stagehands, front-of-house workers, wardrobe workers, advertising executives, and actors to gather information about each theater job.

In the winter, the students start writing an original fairy tale script, curating a score, designing advertisements and playbill covers, and deciding which job they will carry out for the production. The students go on to build set models, design costumes, sell tickets, choreograph dances, rehearse their lines, and more.

“Given our location near the heart of the theater district, the Study is also about connecting our school community with the theater community,” Andes said. “Since so many members of the theater community, across all areas of the profession, donate their time to visit our school or host us at the theater to teach us about their jobs, fundraising for a charity with links to Broadway is our way of giving back and saying thank you.”

The beneficiary for the 2024 production is the Cancer Support Community (CSC), a global nonprofit that uplifts and strengthens people impacted by cancer by providing support, fostering compassionate communities, and breaking down barriers to care. CSC’s services and resources are available at nearly 200 Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare partner locations as well as online and over the phone. Mazzie was a fierce supporter of CSC and actively advanced its mission to support people living with cancer and their loved ones. Her husband, Broadway star Jason Danieley, continues to be a champion for CSC and a resolute advocate for cancer patients and caregivers.

Members of CSC’s senior leadership, including Karen Costello, MSS, LSW, OSW-C, a licensed social worker and the Senior Director of CSC’s Cancer Support Helpline, spoke to the students this spring about the organization’s mission, answered their questions about cancer, shared how Mazzie advocated for patients, and told them how their fundraising will help people, including children, impacted by or coping with a cancer diagnosis.

Giving back is an important component of the First Grade Theatre Study program, with prior beneficiaries including The Actor’s Fund, Broadway Barks, BCEFA (Broadway Cares Equity Fights AIDS), and Covenant House. This year, in addition to raising money through ticket sales, the students are creating a vertical garden of sunflowers, Mazzie’s favorite flower. Handmade by the students, the 400 flowers, priced at $5 each, have already sold out. Their generosity and creativity do not end there. The students are also writing positive messages that will be placed in an affirmation jar to encourage patients, caregivers, and other participants at CSC’s nearby network partner, Cancer Support Community Greater New York and Connecticut.

On June 25, the first graders will present their original musical in a special afternoon event that includes both a museum and film documenting the journey and the live performance (complete with an 13-piece orchestra made up of Local 802 musicians, parent volunteers, and teachers).

“We are simply overwhelmed by the effort and generosity of this group of children,” CSC CEO Sally Werner commented. “The creativity, attention to detail, and curiosity they have shown in putting together this musical and fundraiser are outstanding. They are fortunate to have Bryan Andes and Rowena Hurst as their teachers whose dedication to creating a positive, life-changing experience and commitment to “paying it forward” by including a philanthropic and service component are stellar. We are honored to have been selected as their 2024 beneficiary.”

To support the students’ fundraising effort, go to:  https://bit.ly/2024mazziefundraiser

The Cancer Support Community is a global nonprofit that uplifts and strengthens people impacted by cancer. We are dedicated to fostering a community where people find connection, compassion, and knowledge. We provide professionally led support and navigation services, along with social connections and award-winning education — when, where, and how impacted individuals prefer throughout their cancer experience. These resources are available at nearly 200 Cancer Support Community, Gilda’s Club, and healthcare partner locations as well as online and over the phone — all at no cost. We amplify the voices of those impacted by cancer through research and advocacy and create solutions that break down barriers to care and close the healthcare gap for communities whose members are disproportionately affected by cancer.

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