Take a look above at footage from the Educational Theatre Association and the International Thespian Society's 3rd annual Broadway Back to School concert. The benefit, held September 23 at Feinstein's/54 Below, supported theatre education in underserved schools.
The evening featured stage favorites, including Chad Kimball, Lesli Margherita, Ryan Haddad, Marla Louissaint, John McGinty, Q. Smith, Carla Stickler, and Ana Villafañe—performing alongside high school students. The Broadway actors recalled how they got started, complete with high school production photos.
The evening came full circle when EdTA Hall of Fame theatre teacher Ruben Van Kempen of Seattle went onstage with former student Kimball, the original star of Memphis who's currently starring in Come From Away, and Brody Grant, a newly graduated thespian who is just a few months away from his own performance as Huey at the International Thespian Festival in the Georgia All-State cast of Memphis.
EdTA Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald spoke of the importance of theatre in building life skills; the JumpStart Theatre program creates sustainable school musical theatre programs where there previously were none. About the evening, Theobald said, “The most incredible Broadway stars brought the house down, shared their stories and hearts, and gave back to high school student Thespians. The audience was filled with generous people who care about putting students on a positive path for success through theatre education.”
EdTA also presented Playbill with its Standing Ovation Award in recognition of a “corporation or organization that makes significant contributions to theatre education on the national level through philanthropic efforts or its programs and activities.” Playbill runs print public service announcements about the value of school theatre in at least two Broadway houses every month, reaching an audience of more than 600,000 annually. Sarah Jane Arnegger, Playbill Educational Programs Business Manager, accepted the award.