Eight exceptional drama and music teachers from schools around the country participated in the first-ever Broadway Welcomes America's Teachers at the First Freddie G Theatre Experience this past weekend, July 16-18 in New York. They were hosted by Freddie ("G") Gershon, Chairman and CEO of Music Theatre International to honor schools, instructors and teachers for their outstanding performances of school productions of Broadway shows during this year's MTI Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta this past January.
The eight educators participated in Master Classes with some of Broadway leading choreographers, directors, producers, actors and designers. Special receptions and dinners, teacher workshops on topics including musical styles, vocal techniques, marketing, "directing" Master Classes, backstage tours were some of the opportunities the honorees experienced. Special guest Broadway teachers included Academy Award nominee and Tony and Emmy Award winner Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman, Tony-award winning director and choreographer Jeff Calhoun (Sleeping Beauty Wakes, Big River and Grey Gardens) and Broadway actress and choreographer Baayork Lee (A Chorus Line). BroadwayWorld was on hand for several of these workshops and brings you coverage below.
The eight teachers attending the Broadway Welcomes America's Teachers At The First Freddie G Theatre Experience (along with the shows for which they are being honored) included:
• Richard Hall: Social Circle Theater, Social Circle, GA - Outstanding Production 2010 -
Thoroughly Modern Millie JR. Social Circle Theatre runs as a Non-Profit Organization providing opportunities for children in a community where more than 60% of the students in the Public School system are on a free or reduced priced lunch program.
• Relana Gerami: Bay Area Theatre and Voice Academy (BATAVA), Big League, TX -
Outstanding Production 2010 - Disney's Alice in Wonderland JR. BATAVA is owned and operated by Relana and her husband. It is a music academy offering voice and piano lessons in addition to producing musicals. Students come from a number of different school districts in the area from South Houston to Galveston.
• Aaron Goodson: Atlanta Charter Middle School, Atlanta, GA - Outstanding Production 2010
- Into The Woods Jr. ACMS presently enrolls students in grades 6-8 from all over Atlanta with 52% of the students in the free and reduced meal program.
• Nathan Gerrells: Dawson County Arts Council, Dawsonville, GA - Outstanding
Production 2010 - Seussical JR. The students include great diversity in socio-economic status.
• Emily Moore: Boothbay Region YMCA, Boothbay, ME - Outstanding Production 2010
Seussical Jr. Boothbay Region YMCA offers a number of theatre classes including: Music Theatre Workshop, Children's Choir, Music Theatre Dance, Cooking with Showtunes, and the Freaky Friday Theatre Group.
• Tina Reynolds: Bravo Academy! Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School, Oak Park, IL -
Outstanding Production 2010 - Seussical Jr. BRAVO! encompasses all of the arts programming for Oak Park Middle School. The school has just over 900 students in sixth - eighth grade with approximately 400 students involved in the theater classes and productions.
• Heather Taft: Ashevillie Arts Center, Asheville, NC - Broadway Junior Spirit
Award 2010. Asheville Arts Center is a place for children and adults to join together for performing arts education. The students come from many different economic backgrounds, with a large majority being children of single parents.
• Christie Jeter: Jeter Backyard Theatre, Gibsonia, PA - Runner-up Broadway Junior Spirit Award
2010. The Jeter Backyard Theater is a teaching community theater, casting over 150 children (ages 5-18) per year.
With nearly 50 schools and 1,800 students, January's Junior Theatre Festival is the world's largest musical theatre festival dedicated to troupes that work with elementary and middle school students. Six groups at the festival received the Outstanding Production award and were invited to send their director/head teacher to the Freddie G weekend. The seventh and eighth teachers selected are the directors of the groups that received the Freddie G Broadway Junior Spirit Award, the highest honor given to a school group at the festival. For more information, visit www.mtishows.com.
Photo Credit: Kevin Thomas Garcia
BWW Hi-Res Gallery - Original Version