On Saturday, June 9, 2012 Theatre Development Fund’s Open Doors program was among those honored with a special 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre. The honor was presented by American Theatre Wing President, Ted Chapin to TDF's Executive Director Victoria Bailey and long-time TDF Open Doors mentor, Scott Ellis. Here is a link to their acceptance speech
The Tony Honors for Excellence in the Theatre were established in 1990 and are awarded annually to institutions, individuals and/or organizations that have demonstrated extraordinary achievement in theatre, but are not eligible in any of the established Tony Award categories.
Through Theatre Development Fund’s arts education program, TDF Open Doors, mentors introduce New York City public high school students to theatre. These mentors are working theatre professionals (directors, actors, producers, playwrights, etc.) rich with knowledge of theatre craft and history, Founded in 1998 by TDF and playwright Wendy Wasserstein, the program operates on the belief that theatregoing is the birthright of every New Yorker. Each mentor is matched with eight high school seniors from an underserved New York City high school, and brings the students to six Broadway and/or Off Broadway performances over the course of an entire school year. These talented and accomplished mentors are the best possible ambassadors to introduce the arts to young people as they engage their groups in lively, in-depth post-performance discussions and journaling. TDF Open Doors has proven that through this personal and dynamic interaction, a deep appreciation of theatre and an understanding of its relevance is fostered in the students’ lives.
See a brief video of Wendy Wasserstein at the 2003 TDF Open Doors graduation speaking of how she and TDF founded the program.
TDF Open Doors Mentors 2011-12 include:
Adam Bock, playwright; Mark Brokaw, director; Kathleen Chalfant, actress; Rachel Chanoff, producer/performing arts programmer; Kirsten Childs, composer/lyricist/playwright; Graciela Daniele, choreographer/director; Alan Eisenberg, former President of Actor’s Equity; Scott Ellis, director; Miguel Gutierrez, choreographer/dancer; David Henry Hwang, playwright; James Lapine, writer/director; Robert Longbottom, director/choreographer; Aubrey Lynch, dancer/choreographer; Joe Mantello, director/actor; Kathleen Marshall, director/choreographer; Derek McLane, set designer; Marc Platt, producer Frank Rich & Alex Witchel, journalists; Thomas Schumacher, producer and President of Disney Theatricals; Rachel Sheinkin, book writer/producer/educator; Tracey Scott Wilson, playwright; David Zippel, composer/lyricist
TDF Open Doors Guest Mentors 2011-12 include:
Luciana Achugar, choreographer/dancer; Lemon Andersen, actor/poet; Vanessa A. Jones, actress; Tom Fontana, producer; Robert La Fosse, choreographer/dancer Keith Randolph Smith, actor; Theresa Rebeck, playwright; David Stone, producer.