Connect with us

Theater

Theatre News: Free Shakespeare in the Park, The Soap Myth, Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation, Broadway Association

Published

on

This year, we must stand together in keeping our city and each other safe. This means our summer season of Free Shakespeare in the Park will not be possible, and we must cancel our planned productions of RICHARD II and Public Works’ AS YOU LIKE IT.  We must also suspend our remaining season of programs and events at our flagship home at Astor Place through August 31.

This is a time of immense shared loss, throughout our city and throughout the world. The Public will bear financial losses, reductions in our staffing, and most heartbreakingly, the loss of our ability to gather and share stories together.  

In observation of Yom Ha-Shoah and to foster an ongoing sense of community during these isolating times, Temple Emanuel Streicker Center will host a special live-stream panel discussion on Monday, April 20 at 6:30pm (EST). The discussion will be introduced by Temple Emanuel Rabbi Joshua M. Davidson and National Jewish Theater Foundation President Arnold Mittelman. Taking questions from the worldwide virtual audience, the panel will include stars Ed Asner and Tovah Feldshuh, playwright Jeff Cohen, historian and Project Director for the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum Michael Berenbaum and the Obama Administration’s Special Envoy for Combatting Anti-Semitism Ira Forman. Moderating the panel discussion will be Richard Salomon, Vice President of the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center. The panel discussion is free but registration is required via the Temple Emanuel Streicker website.

The 85-minute play The Soap Myth was taped on April 22, 2019 at the Center for Jewish History/YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York City. A program of PBS/WNET and the ALL ARTS channel’s “House Seats” series, it can be viewed free-of-charge on any of the ALL ARTS streaming platforms.
Alongside Ed Asner as Holocaust survivor Milton Saltzman, Tovah Feldshuh plays the dual roles of Holocaust scholar Esther Feinman and Holocaust denier Brenda Goodsen. Also in the cast are Liba Vaynberg as journalist Annie Blumberg and Ned Eisenberg portraying five roles, including Holocaust scholar Daniel Silver. The play reading was directed by Pamela Berlin.

The performance of The Soap Myth is a part of the National Jewish Theater Foundation/Holocaust Theatre International Initiative program “Remembrance Readings” to honor and commemorate the Holocaust through works of theater. The Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is the educational partner of The Soap Myth.

The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation has announced the recipients of their special COVID-19 response grants for playwrights, composers, lyricists and librettists who have had a full professional production cancelled, closed, or indefinitely postponed due to the COVID-19 closures. Earlier this month, in response to theater closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Foundation announced its decision to reinvent the means by which it would distribute funds allocated for its 2020 Idea Award for Theatre. Supplemental funding from the Venturous Theater Fund of the Tides Foundation supports additional grants to playwrights, through administrative services provided by New DramatistsThe Foundation has awarded 80 grants of $2,500, a total of $200,000, for theater writers impacted by the crisis.
The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation COVID-19 response grant recipients: Raquel Almazan, Kevin Artigue, Hilary Bettis,Liza Birkenmeier, Seth Bisen-Hersh, Jessica Blank & Erik Jensen, Carlyle Brown, Darcy Bruce, Diana Burbano, Heather Chrisler, Heather Christian, J. Julian Christopher, Kate Cortesi, Patricia Cotter, Nathan Davis, Guadalís Del Carmen, Jeremy Desmon, Noah Diaz, Christopher Dimond, Sarah Einspanier, Will Eno, Bonnie Gleicher, Daniel Goldstein, Kirsten Greenidge, Katori Hall, Kate Hamill, Jessica Huang, Caroline Hewitt, Justin Huertas, Anthony Hudson, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Candrice Jones, Sukari Jones, Barbara Kahn, Nambi E. Kelley, Hannah Kohl, Abe Koogler, Michael A. Kooman, Michael John LaChiusa, Rehana Lew Mirza, Haruna Lee, Melissa Li, Ethan Lipton, David M Lutken, Steven Lutvak, Caroline V. McGraw, Aaron Meicht, Omar Vélez Meléndez, Tony Meneses, Anna Moench, Nahal Navidar, Ronan Noone, Yea Bin Diana Oh, Matthew Paul Olmos, Marisela Orta, Andrew Palermo, Zach Redler, Gab Reisman, Marco Antonio Rodriguez, Steph Del Rosso, Elyssa Samsel, Laura Schein, Madhuri Shekar, Mat Smart, Celine Song, Gary Soto, Caridad Svich, Alexandra Tatarsky, Shaun Taylor-Corbett, Melisa Tien, Jillian Walker, Stephanie Kyung Sun Walters, Cheryl L. West, Whitney White, Jason Odell Williams, Sam Willmott, Chris Wiseman, Nathan J. Yungerberg, Karen Zacarias and Daniel Zaitchik.

From the nearly 300 eligible theater artists who have applied, The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation COVID-19 response grant recipients were selected randomly by electronic  lottery. Eligible playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists were those who had a professional production canceled should submit their name and proof of a professional show’s closure. (“Professional,” in this case, is defined as LORT, Off Broadway, or Broadway).  With a submission deadline of April 14, The Foundation aimed to make funds available to artists as quickly as possible, as many artists are already in dire need. “The Bret Adams & Paul Reisch Foundation’s mission as a charitable foundation is to give money to writers with ‘big ideas.’ This year, our ‘big idea’ is our declaration that we must help those who have had productions cancelled” says Bruce Ostler, V.P. and Board Member of The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation. “In no uncertain terms, the business of theatre today has ground to a shocking halt due to the pandemic. Playwrights are not salaried workers and therefore are NOT eligible for unemployment for a cancelled production. We want to get money to people who need it NOW.   At the very moment when  theatres began announcing they were canceling productions and shows started closing, a small group of concerned theatre samaritans ran towards the emerging doom to put forward the simple but ‘big’ idea that together we can and should help those in need.  Today at 7PM, when all New Yorkers shout and cheer out our windows for first responders, I know I will be thinking of these theatre first responders: Kate Bussert, Sheilah Rae, Terry Bernstein, Ben Pesner, Emily Morse, Joel Ruark, Mark Orsini, Bonnie Davis, Beth Blickers, Melissa Crespo and Sarah Ruhl.  I am proud and honored to be associated with these nimble humanitarians.” 

Theatrical Agent Bret Adams and his partner Dr. Paul Reisch loved the theatre with great passion. As a theatrical agent, Bret shepherded the careers of many actors, writers and directors and designers, including Phylicia Rashad, Judy Kaye, Ruby Dee, Ossie Davis, Sherman Helmsley, Anna Maria Alberghetti, Eve Arden, Christine Ebersole, Kathleen Marshall, Jayne Wyman, Andre DeShields, Kathy Bates, Susan H. Schulman, Jack Heifner, Philip McKinley and Robert Harling, among many others. After Bret and Paul’s passing, in 2006 and 2015 respectively, their eponymous foundation was created at their bequest. The Bret Adams and Paul Reisch Foundation champions visionary playwrights in their creation of expansive, illuminating, and idea-driven theatre.  Embracing diversity in all its forms, The Foundation encourages artists with fresh perspectives – particularly those from underrepresented backgrounds – to create idea-driven new plays and musicals reflecting on multivalent  themes including science, history, philosophy, gender, race, politics, sexual orientation, technology, religion, money, global warming, and medicine, among others. For more information, visit www.BretnPaulFoundation.org

Broadway Association Zoom meeting will be held on Tuesday, April 21st at 12:30 pm. As the public health crisis continues, the Broadway Association invites you to our April virtual meeting to continue the dialogue regarding the impacts of COVID-19 and how the Broadway Association community can access support and how many in our community are providing valuable resources.

We are pleased to be joined by:

A group of people posing for the camera

Description automatically generated
  • Charlotte St. Martin, President of the Broadway League, who will provide a briefing in regard to the current suspension of all Broadway performances. 
  • Joe Benincasa, President and CEO of the Actors Fund, who will discuss the various Actors Fund initiatives and programs to provide relief to the Broadway community.
A group of people posing for the camera

Description automatically generated

Our featured speaker will be Jumaane D. WilliamsNYC Public Advocate, who will discuss his connection to the performing arts and his current work and initiatives to help impacted individuals and small businesses.

The meeting will begin promptly at 12:30PM. If you are new to ZOOM, please visit www.zoom.us or download the free app and RSVP to Alexandra Byrne, ab@nicholaslence.com, who will then share the Zoom meeting information with you. 

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

Broadway

Music For A Summer Night With The Connector, Here We Are, The Heart of Rock and Roll, Hell’s Kitchen, Fangirls and Parting Gift: The Songs of Gerald Ginsburg

Published

on

One of my favorite musical last year was Jason Robert Brown’s The Connector. Concord Theatricals Recordings has released the original cast recording of MCC Theater’s acclaimed world premiere production. The album is now available on digital platforms worldwide. Digital sheet music for the songs, published by Concord Music Publishing and released by Hal Leonard, is also available today.

Stream or download the album, as well as purchase digital sheet music, Here.

Watch Hannah Cruz, Scott Bakula and the cast record “The Whole World Changed” Here.

Watch Ben Levi Ross sing “See Yourself” Here.

The album is produced by four-time Emmy® Award-winner Jeffrey Lesser and three-time Tony Award-winner Brown (Parade, The Bridges of Madison County), who also serves as arranger, orchestrator and pianist. Three-time GRAMMY® Award-winner Sean Patrick Flahaven, Chief Theatricals Executive for Concord, is the album’s co-producer. The album was recorded by Isaiah Abolinand mastered by Oscar Zambrano with art direction by Derek Bishop.

With a book by Jonathan Marc Sherman and conceived and directed by Daisy Prince, this timely new musical tells the story of two talented young journalists: a fast-rising writer who must confront how far he’ll go for the ultimate scoop, and an editor who must decide how far she’ll go to stop him. The Connector’s world premiere production from MCC Theater ran in a limited engagement from January 12 through March 17, 2024.

The album features original cast members Scott Bakula, Max Crumm, Hannah Cruz, Ashley Pérez Flanagan, Danielle Lee Greaves, Mylinda Hull, Daniel Jenkins, Jessica Molaskey, Fergie Philippe, Eliseo Román, Ben Levi Ross, Ann Sanders and Michael Winther.

Tom Murray is the album’s music director and Kristy Norter is music coordinator. The band includes Brown, Jamie Eblen, Hidayat Honari, Adam Kaufman, Randy Landau, Todd Reynolds and Alison Shearer.

Complete production credits can be found in the album booklet HERE.

The company of Here We Are. Photo by Emilio Madrid.

I don’t know how this happened but the original cast recording Here We Are the last musical with music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim featuring Francois Battitse, Tracie Bennett, Bobby Cannavale, Micaela Diamond, Amber Gray, Jin Ha, Rachel Bay Jones, Denis O’Hare, Steven Pasquale, David Hyde Pierce, and Jeremy Shamos is on YouTube. Click here to listen. What a great summer treat.

The The Heart of Rock and Roll may be closing but the Original Broadway Cast Recording of the Broadway musical The Heart of Rock and Roll is out and available on all music streaming services.

The album is produced by Huey Lewis, Brian Usifer and Will Van Dyke with Hunter Arnold, Tyler Mitchell and Kayla Greenspan serving as Executive Producers.

Joy Machine Records is a new venture from Ian Kagey, Sonny Paladino, Brian Usifer and Will Van Dyke. The record label was formed in 2023 to bring an artist-driven approach to the recorded music industry by using the theatrical principles of collaboration and community. Their focus is on providing services that amplify the voices of new artists within the field of musical theater, releasing cast albums for Broadway and Off-Broadway shows, as well as collaborating on solo albums with established theater performers. The label’s services seek to support a developing musical from inception to its Broadway cast album.

The album will include the original cast of The Heart of Rock and Roll including 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 Heart of Rock and Roll, the new musical inspired by the iconic songs of Huey Lewis and The News, opened on Broadway on April 22, 2024 at The James Earl Jones Theatre (138 W 48th St, New York, NY)

The Original Broadway Cast Recording for critically acclaimed new Broadway musical, currently nominated for 13 Tony Awards, the most of any new musical this season, Hell’s Kitchen is available now via Alicia Keys Records/Interscope Records on streaming and digital platforms worldwide with a physical release to follow. Additionally, the official music video for “If I Ain’t Got You” featuring Brandon Victor Dixon and Maleah Joi Moon is out now and can be found here.

Ghostlight Records has announced the release of the new single “Learning to Be Lonely” from Fangirls the multi-award-winning, smash-hit musical with book, musical and lyrics by wunderkind Yve Blake. The song is available in both vocal and instrumental versions. Following unprecedented sell-out success across Australia, a brand-new production of FANGIRLS is being mounted in London as a co-production between Sonia Friedman Productions and the Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, premiering on July 13. Tickets are available Here.

Shereen Ahmed, Mikaela Bennett, Philip Chaffin, Will Chase, Victoria Clark, Jason Danieley, Adrienne Danrich, Jordan Donica, Colin Donnell, Telly Leung, Paul Lincoln, Patti Murin, Kelli O’Hara, Elena Shaddow, Nathaniel Stampley, Elizabeth Stanley, and Lauren Worsham come together to record some of the most beautiful music never before heard on disc. The collection highlights the composer’s lifelong work, a style he dubbed “theater lieder.” Two dozen musical settings of poetry by such luminaries as W. B. Yeats, Edna St. Vincent Millay, and E. E. Cummings are being unveiled for the first time. The songs are orchestrated by Jonathan Tunick, Doug Besterman, Larry Hochman, Michael Starobin, Chris Jahnke, and John Baxindine, among others, and performed by an orchestra of 17 under the baton of Richard Carsey. The album is produced by Tommy Kraskerand Bart Migal.

Gerald Ginsburg — born in Lincoln, Nebraska, in 1932 — attended Oberlin College and the Manhattan School of Music before embarking on a career as a composer. But after a lauded debut at Carnegie Hall in 1974, self-doubt led Ginsburg to keep much of his music to himself, although he continued to compose for the remainder of his life. When he died in 2019, the full evidence of his years of solitary work was revealed: an archive of highly lyrical, emotionally moving and entertaining songs. PS Classics is proud to present Parting Gift: The Songs of Gerald Ginsburg, the legacy of an under-recognized composer who channeled his emotions into the intersection of poetry and music — and left behind something glorious.

Continue Reading

Off Broadway

The Welkin Is A Play About The Cruelty Of Women

Published

on

Lucy Kirkwood’s The Welkin asks several questions about right and wrong, the violence women deal/dealt with, power between wealth and not, the belief that men are the better species, even to women and why and how women do not defend or truly help each other.

Stepped in 1759, Suffolk, England, the story centers around Sally Poppy (Haley Wong), who’s sentenced to hang for helping her lover murder a little girl, except she herself is with child, so she claims. It is up to twelve women to decide her fate. Is Sally telling the truth or lying to save her skin. Under English law “pleading the belly” could commute the sentence saving Sally’s and her child’s life.

Midwife Lizzy Luke (Sandra Oh) believes in life, but these women have issues that effect the outcome. One has miscarried 12 times (Emily Cass McDonnell) in eight years and delivered a stillborn son, one is going through menopause and is overheating (Ann Harada), Sarah Hollis (Hannah Cabell) lost her voice in childbirth and has not spoken since, one is not who she says she is (Mary McCann). These women’s circumstances and beliefs often blur their choices and we are like peeping Tom’s looking in.

Wong, as the complex Sally, is a rebellious teen, who is over life as it was dictated for her. She wants to live by her own rules and when the puzzle has been exposed this plays leaves more questions than answers, which is impossible to ask or state here without giving the whole play away. Lets say, who her mother is, who her father is, who the child is and who the women who ultimately decides her fate was never really explored and that is the fascinating psychology that would have made this play soar.

Sandra Oh last seen on Broadway in 2006, is best known for TV’s Killing Eve and Grey’s Anatomy. She is the heart and soul until she is not. Once her secrets are out the play seems a little like Mother’s Play.

Emily Cass McDonnell makes us hate women whose own self centered needs and wants take no prisoners. Hannah Cabell makes us wish women who are like her would stay silent. Ann Harada and Dale Soules as Sarah Smith bring humor to challanging aspects of a women’s journey.

There are two men in the play Mr. Coombes (Glenn Fitzgerald), the bailiff who is a special friend to Oh’s character, until he is not and Danny Wolohan as the doctor that the women choose over a midwife, because he is a man. In The Welkin women eventually choose a man over their own. This man’s opinions of women, is beyond tragic.

Hanging over the play is the arrival of Halley’s Comet, why really is this play called The Welkin and an odd section where The Bangles “Manic Monday is sung ala an ode to Bridgerton. In a show that is over 2 hours, that could have been cut.

Director Sarah Benson’s direction at times seems odd and leaves more questions than answers. What is extremely well done \s the casting, as this cast all shine in their respected roles.

The Welkin is disturbing on so many levels. What it is saying seems unpalatable, but we do need to take it’s message to heart for at some point for the sake of humanity we need to connect and be on each other’s side.

The Welkin: The Atlantic Theatre Company at the Linda Gross Theatre, 336 West 20th Street until July 7th.

Continue Reading

Events

Josh Groban Hosts The 2024 Jimmy Awards

Published

on

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!

Continue Reading

Off Broadway

Yada, Yada 

Published

on

What’s better than a 90-minute sitdown with old friends? Nothing, of course, and that’s exactly what Singfeld, A Musical Parody About Nothing is all about. An energetic and highly talented cast take on the proposition that Jerry and George are going to write a musical about–what else?–nothing. Chiming in with comments and suggestions are Elaine and Cosmo, with occasional drop-ins from Mr. and Mrs. Costanza, Mr. Peterman and Susan. Other familiar names, situations, phrases and even subtle musical homages (I counted at least five) are jammed into this fun-filled and highly enjoyable show. 

So the rhymes aren’t always perfect, who cares? You’ll be trying to stifle your laughter so you don’t miss the next reference which will have you guffawing even harder. Another tribute to the cast: on this hot afternoon, they performed under hot lights and gave it their all. This show is a must for any Seinfeld fan—bring your friends and, well, yada yada. 

Singfeld, A Musical Parody About Nothing: The Jerry Orbach Theater the Theater Center 210 West 50th Street

Continue Reading

Cabaret

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

Published

on

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.

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2023 Times Square Chronicles

Times Square Chronicles