Created by Music Theatre International CEO and Tony Honors for Excellence recipient Freddie Gershon, the 2014 event allows eight theatre educators the opportunity to immerse themselves in the New York theatre scene, working one-on-one with industry professionals in a fully funded weekend of seminars, master classes and Broadway shows. In addition, each of the participating teacher's schools receives $5,000 from Gershon and his wife Myrna to enhance their arts program.
The Gershons, who created the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, underwrite the July 9-12 event. The educators were selected during the Junior Theatre Festival in Atlanta, GA, last January.
Leading the workshops will be Carlyle, Tesori ( Shrek, Fun Home), Beguelin ( Aladdin, The Wedding Singer), Tony-winning lighting designer Ken Billington ( Chicago, Sweeney Todd) and sound designer Matt Kraus ( Liza's at the Palace).
"The weekend will fully immerse the teachers in the Broadway world and provide one-of-a-kind learning opportunities for the teachers to take back to their schools, students and communities," Gershon said in a statement. "These teachers do inspiring work with limited financial resources. We want to give them the opportunity to live the Broadway experience and interact with top professionals to reward them for all they do to introduce the next generations to Broadway and musical theatre." The participating teachers include Danelle Cauley, Miriam Reynold, Carli Roye, Tessa Derfner, Brian Seagraves, Kelleybrooke Brown, Mary Katherine Smith-Gall and Sue Booton.