Newsies Director Jeff Calhoun and Soft Power Composer Jeanine Tesori Will Lead Freddie G Master Classes

Education News   Newsies Director Jeff Calhoun and Soft Power Composer Jeanine Tesori Will Lead Freddie G Master Classes
Lighting designer Ken Billington and sound designer Matt Kraus are also among the Broadway professionals who will work with teachers from across the U.S.
Jeff Calhoun and Jeanine Tesori
Jeff Calhoun and Jeanine Tesori

Tony Award-nominated director Jeff Calhoun (Newsies), Tony-winning composer-lyricist Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Soft Power), Tony-winning veteran lighting designer Ken Billington (Sweeney Todd, Chicago), and sound designer Matt Kraus (Kristin Chenoweth: My Love Letter to Broadway, Liza’s at the Palace) will lead workshops and master classes with theatre educators from across the U.S. this week as part of the ninth annual Freddie G Fellowship.

The four days of classes and activities honor 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.

Created by Music Theatre International co-chairman and Tony Honors for Excellence recipient Freddie Gershon and his wife Myrna, the 2018 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 to enhance arts programs. The teachers are empowered to identify and select how their respective school’s theatre program can best utilize the funds.

The participants will also attend a workshop of The Drowsy Chaperone JR.

The Gershons, who created the Stephen Sondheim Inspirational Teacher Awards, underwrite the July 11–14 event. The Freddie G Fellows were selected from applicants attending the 2018 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia, and the Junior Theater West Festival in Sacramento, California.

This year’s Freddie G Fellows are Marianne Adams (Grandstreet Theatre School), Dr. Lamar Bagley (The SEED Public Charter School), Tina Barrus (Plaza Academy), Melissa Charles (DMR Adventures), Jenise Coon (Chico High School), Kate McElliot (Mill Springs Academy), Anne-Marie Pringle (Musical Mayhem Productions), and Cliff Thompson (Triple Threat Academy).

“The four days will fully engage the winning teachers in the Broadway musical theatre world and provide one-of-a-kind learning opportunities for them to take back to their schools, students and communities,” Gershon said in a statement. “These teachers perform inspiring work with limited financial resources. We want 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 best Junior shows. With 70 plus teachers as Fellows, they pass on tips and skills learned in New York during the week to others.”

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