Underwritten by Music Theatre International Chairman Freddie Gershon, his wife Myrna, and MTI, the Freddie G Fellowship sends outstanding theatre educators from around the country on an all-expense paid trip to New York for a four day series of professional development workshops led by Broadway professionals. The teachers' schools also receive a $5,000 grant from the Gershons. Scheduled for July 10–13, the 2019 event is the 10th annual fellowship.
“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,” says Gershon. “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, teachers helping teachers in their quest to mount the best Junior shows. With 70+ teachers as fellows, they pass on tips and skills learned in New York during the week to others.”
In addition to hands-on master classes with Broadway choreographers, directors, producers, actors, and designers, the Freddie G Fellows will attend a performance of The Prom and take a backstage tour, and observe a developmental workshop performance of Something Rotten JR. The fellowship's programs are coordinated by iTheatrics.
Educators can apply for the program by attending the Junior Theatre Festivals, the world's largest musical theatre festival dedicated to educational musical theatre groups working with elementary and middle school students. Over 7,300 people attended the Atlanta and Sacramento festivals in 2019, which were sponsored by Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill.
The eight educators chosen for the 2019 fellowship are Lisa Nicole Cane (Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy in Tampa, Florida), Nicole Mann (The Anthony School in Little Rock, Arizona), Anne Kessler (Curtain Call Performing Arts Center in Mount Laurel, New Jersey), Vanessa Becker Weig (Woodford Theatre Young Artists in Lexington, Kentucky), Coty Forno (Mountain City Center for the Arts in Frostburg, Maryland), Matt Glickstein (Lana'l Academy of Performing Arts in Lanai City, Hawaii), Micaela Muro Dimos (Elizabeth Pinkerton Middle School in Elk Grove, California), and Noelle Arms (Poison Apple Productions in Martinez, California).
Past Broadway professionals who have participated in the Freddie G Fellowship include Stephen Schwartz, Baayork Lee, Chad Beguelin, Nell Benjamin, and Laurence O'Keffe. Surprise guests have included Stephen Sondheim, Bobby and Kristen Lopez, Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, and Bernadette Peters.