By Adam Hetrick
05 Jul 2013
Created by Music Theatre International CEO and Tony Honors for Excellence recipient Freddie Gershon, the 2013 event allows eight theatre educators the opportunity to immerse themselves in the New York theatre scene, working one-on-one with industry professionals in a fully funded weekend of seminars, master classes and Broadway shows.
Gershon and his wife Myrna, both of whom created the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, underwrite the July 10-14 event. The educators were selected during the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA, last January.
According to MTI, "The weekend honors 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 teacher's schools also receives $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna to enhance their arts program."
In addition to Schwartz and Dogfight-A Christmas Story writers Pasek and Paul, the teachers will attend workshops with Cinderella choreographer Josh Rhodes, Tony Award-winning A Christmas Story, The Musical director John Rando and special needs children teaching specialist Tessa Derfner.
The educators will also attend the Tony Award-winning Broadway revival of Pippin and a developmental performance of Children of Eden JR. Backstage Broadway tours are also planned.
"The weekend will fully immerse the teachers in the Broadway world and provide one-of-a-kind learning opportunities for the teachers to take back to their schools, students and communities," Gershon said in a statement. "These teachers do inspiring work with limited financial resources. We want to give them the opportunity to live the Broadway experience and interact with top professionals to reward them for all they do to introduce the next generations to Broadway and musical theatre."
The participating teachers include Danelle Cauley, Claudia Appel, Merill Cheyne, Lori Flanders, Eric Bragg, Spencer Lau, Joanne O'Kain and Shirlee Idzakovich.