Broadway Back to School, the third annual event benefiting theatre education programs for underserved schools, will takes place on September 24 at Feinstein’s 54 Below. Produced by the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) and the International Thespian Society (ITS), Broadway Back to School will be chaired and hosted by Hunter Bell ([title of show].
Touted as a “fun-filled, fast-paced evening featuring Broadway stars performing alongside Thespian students,” Broadway Back to School is open to all to “celebrate the theatre arts and all the young people whose dreams, talent, and energy make theatre possible.” International Thespian Society members and other guests will have the opportunity to meet those involved in evolving the landscape of the theatre education.
“Having the opportunity to experience theatre in school changes lives,” said EdTA Executive Director, Julie Cohen Theobald, “and with the help of theatre enthusiasts, we’re working to help more students have the experience of feeling accepted, valued, and part of something larger than themselves.”
The evening’s talent will include Ana Villafañe who recently starred as pop icon Gloria Estefan in the Broadway musical On Your Feet!, Ryan J. Haddad (Hi, Are You Single?, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt), Memphis Tony-nominee Chad Kimball (currently in Come From Away) will be joined by his theatre teacher and EdTA Hall of Fame inductee, Ruben Van Kempen, who is currently the director of Troupe 5832 at Roosevelt High School in Seattle, Washington, Marla Louissaint, the 2015 Jimmy Awards Best Actress whose credits include Jamboree (Encores!), God Bless You Mr. Rosewater (Encores!), and TV credit Seven Seconds (Netflix). Also performing are Olivier Award-winner Lesli Margherita (Zorro the Musical), who appeared on Broadway in Matilda and Dames at Sea, and John McGinty who appeared in Fêtes De La Nuit, Veritas, and the world premiere of Samuel D. Hunter’s new play of The Healing.
The musical performances will be backed by Dave Anthony on drums and Greg Chudzik on bass. The creative team for Broadway Back to School includes Seth Rettberg, Christine Riley, with John Conover serving as Production Stage Manager.
To help raise money and awareness for Broadway Back to School, EdTA is also announcing a theatrical-themed online charity auction. This auction will benefit the event which raises valuable funding to support theatre education across the country. Prizes for the auction have been donated by Playbill, Inc., Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell, Disney Theatrical Group, Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, Samuel French, Inc., and The Musical Company.
Online bidding will commence Tuesday, September 5 on chartityauctionstoday.com and will continue through midnight September 22. All auction winners will be announced at Broadway Back to School on Sunday, September 24. Bidders need not be present to win. Prizes include a private dinner with Hunter Bell and Susan Blackwell, a chance to co-host with Playbill’s Tyler Mount, four VIP tickets to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and many more.
For tickets and more information visit Broadway Back to School.
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals and maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.