New York, N.Y. – West Concord’s Noelle Arms of Poison Apple Productions was one of eight outstanding educators from schools and performing arts centers around the U.S. to work one-on-one with Broadway greats at the 10th Annual Freddie G Fellowship which just wrapped in New York.
The four days of classes and activities 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 all-expense paid visit to New York, each of the teachers’ schools received $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna. The teachers are empowered to identify and select how their respective school’s theatre program can best utilize the funds.
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 winning choreographer, performer and director Christopher Gattelli, Tony Award winning writer and actor Bob Martin, Tony Award winning composer Matthew Sklar, Broadway sound designer Matt Kraus, educational consultant Cindy Ripley and educator, playwright, and director Timothy Allen McDonald.
They joined the tradition of Broadway professionals who have given workshops and joined the Freddie G winners in prior years (including Stephen Schwartz, Baayork Lee, Chad Beguelin, Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, among others). Past Freddie G guests have included Stephen Sondheim, Bobby and Kristen Lopez, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and Bernadette Peters.
The event was underwritten by Freddie Gershon, Co-Chairman of the global theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI), his wife Myrna and MTI.
“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,” said Gershon.
“These teachers perform inspiring work with limited financial resources. We wanted 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. The teaching Fellows act as peer to peer guiding lights, viz: teachers helping teachers in their quest to mount the shows. With 80 plus teachers as Fellows, they pass on tips and skills learned in New York during the week to others.”
Dozens of educators attending the 2019 annual Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta and the Junior Theater West Festival in Sacramento with thousands of attendees, applied for the program, and eight in total were selected. The educators will participated in dynamic, hands-on master classes with some of Broadway’s leading choreographers, directors, producers, actors and designers. They were immersed in Broadway, attended the Broadway hit The Prom including a backstage tour, observed a developmental workshop performance of Something Rotten JR., and experienced Broadway as theatre insiders…giving their feedback to the developmental process from their p.o.v.
“Without teachers there is no Broadway Junior. Myrna and I feel strongly about teachers and their significant role. This week gave us an opportunity to immerse them in experiential skills they can take home and integrate with their students and pass on to other teachers,” added Gershon.
“Live theatre and the arts are thriving with the private sector supporting both educators and children,” said Myrna. “Teachers deserve to be appreciated.”