At the 2016 Tony Awards, three-time Tony winner and legendary composer Andrew Lloyd Webber and President of the American Theatre Wing Heather Hitchens announced a partnership. Through the Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative, the theatrical institution would grant Classroom Resources, 4-Year University Scholarships, and Training Scholarships to directly impact the educations of public school students who demonstrate exceptional theatrical talent, but lack the finances to study theatre. The Foundation granted $1.3 million to fund these programs.
Funded by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation, the Wing has announced five students who have earned University Scholarships and 20 middle and high school students who have earned training scholarships to hone their skills pre-college.
Production designer/technician Natalia Avila of Houston, Texas, who will attend the University of Oklahoma; stage manager Carrli Cooper of Winter Garden, Florida, who will attend the University of Michigan; actor Kaisheem Fowler-Bryant of Bronx, New York, who will attend Howard University; actor Marcus Gladney of Huntsville, Alabama, who will attend Carnegie Mellon University; and actor Grace Pruitt of Ashland, Oregon, who will attend Azusa Pacific University, all received the University Scholarship that grants them $10,000 towards their course fees renewable for four years as long as they maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher.
The Training Scholarships are awarded to middle and high school students so that they can afford theatre training programs or camps, as well as private lessons in music, dance, and voice. Eugene Bois, Destiny Cable, Colette Caspari, Quinn Chisenhall, Jamia Croft, Daelin Elzie, Aaron Graham, Anijah Lezama, Sydney Lopes, Kelly Lukito, Jhala Martin, Dina Perez, Haley Prince, Jennifer Reyes Fernandez, Jada Rice, Ariana Rodriguez, Julia Schick, Alex Serrano, Amara Valerio, and Leon Weir III have earned scholarships to pursue their education in the performing arts.
The scholarships are awarded by two separate panels, which includes members of the professional theatre community, like casting director Bernard Telsey. “Serving on the panel was such a joy and so eye-opening for me,” said Telsey, who serves on the University Scholarships Panel. “The students’ applications reminded me why we do what we do and the effect that theatre has on young people. I’m so thrilled that they’ll get the additional support to go to college to further pursue their passion for the arts. Mark my words, they will be the next generation of stage managers, set designers and actors.”
And, just announced, OBIE co-presenters Peter and Pamela Barbey believe in the program so much that they have donated $500,000 to the Wing’s Andrew Lloyd Webber Initiative and will match others’ donations for investment in the future of the initiative, dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 for the next two years.
Applications are currently closed but will open for submission beginning in the fall with January 2018 deadlines. Winners are then notified in April. For information on how to apply visit AmericanTheatreWing.org.