The annual special Tony Award for Excellence in Theatre Education Award, co-sponsored by the American Theatre Wing and Carnegie Mellon University, seeks to celebrate a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated exemplary impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. The Tony Awards announced today that Theater Director Madeline Michel from Monticello High School in Charlottesville, Virginia, will be bestowed this year’s honor. She will be recognized on Sunday, June 9 at Radio City Music Hall during the 73rd Annual Tony Awards ceremony.
“Theatre and arts education are fundamental to our educational system. Today, more than ever, we need our local school auditoriums, their wonderfully creative students and courageous theatre educators like Madeline Michel to put powerful new ideas on stage and to share them. We’re honored to present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award to Madeline this year,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League.
A standout to the panel of judges, with stellar recommendations from Albemarle County Public School District, community leaders, parents and students alike, Michel stood out in a sea of worthy candidates. Among her accomplishments was creating of an inclusive drama program, inviting students from all walks of life, to express themselves freely onstage that resonated so strongly.”
“This program is not about me, because it has to be about my students,” Michel said. “They are our future. They are the people that are going to change the world and make it better. These are the kids who give me so much hope in some very dark times.”
Michel’s curriculum is a multi-faceted experience in student playwriting, productions that engage a diverse cast and crew, and community service. Additionally, Monticello High School Drama Department raises thousands of dollars annually charity and to fund college scholarships for economically challenged students. Michel’s drama program took on a heightened resonance in 2017 when, in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally, Michel and her students used theatre to address racial inequality, elevating and leading the conversation for a wounded community.
“The Excellence in Theatre Education Award recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated exemplary impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theatre industry selected Michel from finalists across the nation. Michel will receive $10,000 for Monticello High School’s theater program and tickets to the Tony Awards and Gala. Michel’s students will also receive a visiting Master Class taught by CMU Drama professors. Additionally, two students chosen by Michel will be given scholarships to the university’s acclaimed Drama Pre-College Program in summer 2020.”
Mark Robinson is the author of the two-volume encyclopedia The World of Musicals, The Disney Song Encyclopedia, and The Encyclopedia of Television Theme Songs. He maintains a theater and entertainment blog at markrobinsonwrites.com.