Monday, December 23, 2013

ASK- After School at the Klein

One of the hallmarks of NPT is the "partnering with other non profits" concept.  Certainly all of our custom-built shows for other nonprofits and their Galas and fundraising events are strong examples.

Another example that combines all three of our components (Broadway/Entertainment stars, Mentoring and Nonprofit partners) is After School at the Klein (ASK) .  We just finished ten weeks of teaching Monday-Wednesday classes after school with classes such as Film/TV (taught by 2 time Emmy nominee Scott Bryce, Commercial production (Mark Holleran-producer), Voice with me, Acting with Broadway veteran, Jerold Goldstein, Puppetry, Stage tech, 3D design, Hip Hop, Jazz, and much more.

OH and did I tell you that it's FREE for any 8th-12th grader in Bridgeport!  The Klein is committed to making a difference in their community and NPT is committed to helping them with our outstanding teachers and know-how when it comes to producing.

That was my job this past week. Producing the final event of this semester to showcase what they had learned thus far.  A "Sample platter" show if you will, for parents and family.

Up till now no one really knew all the components of the program. No one had seen the examples of performance and product from the classes.  Until our two hour performance that showcased each class's work.

The 30 second commercials that that class made were awesome.  The singers did a wonderful job. The dances were fun.  The 3D design stuff was totally cool.  The puppets made a grand entrance to the sound of the African drumming class.  

Organizing shows is something I love to do. Producing them.  Even though it can be a pain to get everyone on the same page, when I write the show and then host it I love seeing the whole thing come together.

What was really great was hearing and seeing the kids themselves catch fire about midway through. Cheering for each group or soloist. I don't think they even knew what they had to be proud until they saw it all laid out in front of them. As the MC,  I also really pushed the theme of "accountability " for next semester.  If you show up for all the classes you get to perform. If you don't, you are not a featured performer.  And let me tell you, ALL these kids want to get up on stage and perform. For some of them it's the only positive feedback they get.

Below are pictures from the event that some of the college interns took. By the way, one of my favorite parts of this program is working with my wonderful college interns who take the bull by the horns and make it happen.

This is one of the videos that the commercial class made.  

Destiny and her Spoken Word presentation (acting class)
She wrote it. 

Girls from the voice class singing Silent Night
            African Drumming starts it out right! 
 Shakespeare class presenting Sonnets 

Commercial class                                           Victoria singing

Wednesday, December 4, 2013


This is such a great post from Ken Davenport (NY producer of Kinky Boots, Godspell etc) that I had to post it here.  He is saying exactly what we are doing and also what one of our board members, Elaine, is very on top of!  Love this!

Site specific and environmental theater has always been a “thing.”  (I was one of the few that got to see Jonathan “Rent” Larson’s site specific JP Morgan Saves The Nationwhich was performed on the steps of a big bank downtown.)
But is it me, or do much higher profile productions seem to be finding their way into new and interesting spaces?  And do more productions in traditional spaces seem to be using the spaces non-traditionally?
Take the in-a-tent Natasha, Pierre and The Great Comet of 1812.  Or what about the “360 degree scenic and video environment” seen in Here Lies Love?  Murder Ballad?  Sleep No More?  Then She Fell?  
And everyone’s talking about how Rocky (directed by Here Lies Love helmer, Alex Timbers) turns the theater into a boxing ring by physically moving the audience.
And away from The Great White Way, what about this recent productionof the Jeanine Tesori musical, Violet, which took place on a moving bus?  That’s right . . . I said on a bus!
So what do all these productions have in common?
You guessed it . . . the creators could all be on an “Under 40″ list.
Is it just because younger folks have to come up with cheaper performance spaces than traditional halls?  Are younger folks more likely to try something a little more out there?
Or, is it that the next generation of artists . . . and audiences . . . demand a different type of experience than the generations before it?  Is it that a revolution of how we consume theater may be coming, which doesn’t take place in old fashioned proscenium houses with only two bathrooms and uncomfortable seats?
If you’re 40 years old or younger, then you’ve grown up in the computer age.  And that means you experience the world in an entirely different way than the people who came before you.
And that means you’re going to create art in a totally different way as well.
And this generation is only just getting started.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

December 8th, 8pm is our next Sunday Spotlight, the "virtual master class" with three newly minted stars!

1. Christine Dwyer.- Broadway debut as"Elphaba" standby (and a former student of mine!)

2.Renee Lawless- Already a Broadway performer and now Tyler Perry TV show star in "The Have and the Have Nots".

3. Joe Abraham- Also a Broadway performer and now a Film pro as well in "Jersey Boys" the film! Joe and his wife, Christine are also new authors of the book "The Thriving Artists". 

Our panel will discuss their new ventures and how they made their "debuts" into Broadway, TV and Film, offering in depth tips and candid advice for your career.