06.20.17

Avenues On Broadway!

Neil Ginsberg
Vocal Music Teacher for the Middle and Upper Grades Programs, Upper Division, Avenues: The World School

Students gave their regards to Broadway during the toe-tapping, song-singing, subway-hopping, intensive Minimester week as they learned the ins and outs of the theater world and got to know some of the people behind the scenes of Broadway productions. The week began with Mr. Ginsberg and Ms. Wallace teaching solos and duets from musicals in preparation for a master class with Kathryn Alison, currently in the Broadway company of Aladdin. Students sang for her and learned about vocal technique as she shared tips for getting notes past the footlights.

Next, Jerad Schomer, designer for Charcoal Blue, took us on a tour of the newly renovated Hudson Theater where Sunday in the Park with George was about to end its run. When we arrived, the stage crew was putting the finishing touches on the drop-down lights and happily shared their process with us. “Can we go on stage?” asked a sixth grade Broadway hopeful. “Sure, why not!” was the reply as our ensemble stormed the stage with the energy of an opening night cast. The usual Avenues “no phone rule” did not apply as many selfies were snapped on the Broadway stage.

Students spent the week learning about the theater.

Students spent the week learning about the theater.

Onstage at the Hudson Theater.

Onstage at the Hudson Theater.

At the American Theater Wing, students learned about the Tony Awards (originally called the Antoinette Perry Award) and got to hold the coveted statues (more selfies) while meeting with Joanna Sheehan Bell, the director of programming. After our tour of the Theater on Film archive and visit to the “Curtain Up” exhibit at the Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts, we were eager to perform our flash mob Footloose number at the iconic Lincoln Center fountain. (Fortunately we were able to finish our song before we were informed by security about the no performing rule…phew!).

Holding Tony Awards at the American Theater Wing.

Holding Tony Awards at the American Theater Wing.

Visiting Lincoln Center.

Visiting Lincoln Center.

There is so much to learn and love about Broadway, and Minimester is the perfect time for interested students to immerse themselves in the world of theater. These lucky middle graders were not only able to improve their skills as performers during the week but also gain insight into the many facets of making theater and the unsung people who make it possible.