NEW YORK CITY – Marianne Adams of Helena’s Grandstreet Theatre School was one of eight outstanding educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country selected to work one-on-one with Broadway greats at the 9th Annual FREDDIE G FELLOWSHIP which just wrapped in New York City.
The event was underwritten by Myrna and Freddie (“G”) Gershon, Co-Chairman leading theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI). The four days of events honored instructors and teachers who are working to make a difference for their students and communities through the process of staging musical theatre productions in their schools and educational theatre groups. In addition to the New York experience, each of the teachers received $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna to enhance their arts program.
The teachers attended private master classes led by Tony Honor® winning director and choreographer Jeff Calhoun, Tony Award® winning lighting designer Ken Billington, Tony Award winner composer and musical arranger Jeanine Tesori, and Broadway sound designer Matt Kraus.
“The four days fully engaged the winning teachers in the Broadway musical theatre world and provided one-of-a-kind learning opportunities for them to take back to their schools, students and communities,” says Gershon. “These teachers perform inspiring work with limited financial resources. We want to give them the opportunity to live the Broadway experience and interact with qualified professionals to reward them for all they do to introduce the next generations to live theatre and simultaneously enhance their knowledge, skills and experience.”
Dozens of educators attending the 2018 annual Junior Theater Festivals in Atlanta and Sacramento with over 7,500 attendees, applied for the program, and eight in total were selected. The educators were immersed in Broadway, attended the current hit show Frozen and met the cast, observed a developmental workshop performance of The Drowsy Chaperon Junior and experienced Broadway as theatre insiders.
“Without teachers there is no Broadway Junior. Myrna and I feel strongly about our personally investing in teachers and immersing them in experiential skills that they can take home and utilize to guide their students and pass on to other teachers,” added Gershon. “It’s crucial we keep live theatre thriving in this country by working with both educators and children. Myrna and I believe that all of America’s teachers should be honored and appreciated. Our future is in their hands.”
The Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest musical theatre festival dedicated to educational musical theatre groups that work with elementary and middle school students. This year’s title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill®.
MTI is a strong proponent of educational theatre. In 1996 MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon launched “MTI’s Broadway Junior musicals, 30 and 60-minute shows for younger performers.
Thirty Broadway greats such as Alan Menken and Bernadette Peters sent their greetings and thanks to the teachers via a DVD, which you can watch below: