New York, New York -- Over 300 current and past New York City high school students and their mentors who have participated in TDF's "Open Doors," the theatre arts mentoring program that TDF founded with playwright Wendy Wasserstein, will attend this year's graduation ceremony on Monday, June 4 at 6:00pm at the New Victory Theater (209 West 42nd Street). This year has been "Open Doors'" biggest year ever with a total of 23 mentors working with18 groups of students from New York City high schools.
For the past nine years, “Open Doors” has operated on the belief of its co-founder, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, that “theatergoing is the birthright of every New Yorker.” In “Open Doors,” dedicated theatre and dance professionals each mentor eight underserved New York City high school students and bring their groups to six Broadway and/or Off Broadway performances over the course of a school year. These talented mentors understand the importance of live performance in the cultural education of today’s youth and engage their groups in lively, in-depth post-performance discussions. “Open Doors” has proven that, through this personal and dynamic interaction, it fosters a deep appreciation of theatre and an understanding of its relevance in the students’ lives.
The following is the current list of “Open Doors” mentors and the schools their students attend:
Kathleen Chalfant (actor) – Telecommunications High School (Manhattan)
Kirsten Childs (composer/lyricist/playwright) – Fannie Lou Hamer Freedom H.S. (Queens)
Graciela Daniele (director/choreographer) – Harvey Milk H.S. (Manhattan)
Scott Ellis (director) – All Hallows Institute (The Bronx)
William Finn (composer/lyricist)/Rachel Chanoff (producer) – H.S. of Media & Communications (Manhattan)
James Lapine (writer/director) – Murray Bergtraum H.S. (Manhattan)
Robert Longbottom (director/choreographer) – Townsend Harris (Qeeuns)
Lar Lubovitch (choreographer) – Truman High School (The Bronx)
Kathleen Marshall (director/choreographer) – Midwood H.S. (Brooklyn)
Michael Mayer (director) – John Dewey H.S. (Brooklyn)
Derek McLane (designer) – Edward R. Murrow H.S. (Brooklyn)
Tere O’Connor (choreographer)/Miguel Gutierrez (choreographer) – Fashion Industries H.S. (Manhattan)
Marc Platt (producer) – FDR High School (Brooklyn)
Frank Rich (journalist/author) /Alex Witchel (journalist/author) – DeWitt Clinton H.S. (The Bronx)
Mo Rocca (actor/writer/humorist) – Bayside H.S. (Queens)
Tom Schumacher (producer) – Lafayette H.S. (Brooklyn)
Jack Viertel (producer) /Linda Viertel (educator) – Millennium High School (The Bronx)
David Zippel (composer)/Kenny Leon (director) – Young Women’s School (Manhattan)
After a brief reception and introductions by mentors James Lapine and Kathleen Marshall, the ceremony will consist of speeches from two former "Open Doors" students and two current "Open Doors" students who will reflect on their experiences in the program and how it has impacted their lives. There will also be a special performance by 2007 Tony Award nominee, Karen Ziemba. To help ensure the students’ future theatregoing, each graduating student will receive a $100 TKTS gift certificate.
Major corporate and foundation funding for "Open Doors" has been provided by: Akerman Senterfitt, The Helene Berger Foundation, The Educational Foundation of America, The Ettinger Foundation, Inc., Home Box Office, The Abe and Frances Lastfogel Foundation, Marc Platt Productions, The Rudin Foundation, Inc., The Segal Company and The Andrew H. & Ann R. Tisch Foundation.
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In addition to "Open Doors," TDF operates the following Arts Education Programs with the belief that future audiences are built by engaging students, first-hand, in the vital and exciting activity of the creative process, as well as providing opportunities to see live performances of great theatre:
Stage Doors – This school year serves 5,000 students, in 70 schools. Stage Doors is a project-based arts education program that provides middle and high school students with a meaningful introduction to live theatre. Each participating class attends a Broadway or Off Broadway performance and participates in eight in-class workshops: four workshops conducted by a guest teaching artist and the other four conducted by the classroom teacher. During these workshops the students are engaged in a classroom project which serves as preparation for the performance while giving them an opportunity to experience the creative process first hand. This program is offered at no cost to the school or students.
Residency Arts Project (RAP) - This school year serves 480 students, in 5 schools. In response to the need for curriculum-based arts programming, TDF developed RAP, an intensive playwriting program that brings the magic and craft of live theatre to young people who have little or no exposure to theatre. Through extensive collaboration, the teaching artist and classroom teacher develop a playwriting curriculum that best serves their population of students. The residency consists of: ten to twelve playwriting workshops conducted by a teaching artist; attendance at a top Broadway or Off Broadway play; and staged readings by professional actors of selected original student plays at the end of the semester.