Rosie O'Donnell & Rosie's Theater Kids to Honor Pat Birch at PASSING IT ON, 4/28

Rosie O'Donnell & Rosie's Theater Kids to Honor Pat Birch at PASSING IT ON, 4/28

Rosie's Theater Kids (RTKids) will present "Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship" to benefit Rosie's Theater Kids at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater on Monday April 28, 2014 at 7pm. This year's event will honor legendary director and choreographer and RTKids mentor, Pat Birch.

The benefit promises to be an exciting night of entertainment featuring some of Broadway's best talent. Multiple Emmy Award winning TV host and Actress, and RTKids founder Rosie O'Donnell, who is set to receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award at the 2014 Tony Awards for her work with RTKids, will appear with the students in an exciting, re-imagined, percussive version of "Rhythm of Life". Tony winner, Shuler Hensley will be singing the Sondheim hit, "Agony" with one of RTKids' gifted baritones. Footloose choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett will create an extraordinary piece for RTKids youngest level boys and the men from ABT Studio Company to "Holding Out for a Hero." Broadway star Mamie Duncan-Gibbs will appear with the students in a Fosse-style production number mentored by Chet Walker. Acclaimed tap dancer Deborah Mitchell, featured in Black and Blue, will perform a duet with an RTKids hoofer.

.Born in Englewood, New Jersey, Birch began her career as a dancer in Martha Graham's Dance Company and then onto Broadway musicals with the highlight being - West Side Story (playing "Anybodys"). She has worked as choreographer on and Off-Broadway on shows that include the original productions of A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures, Candide and Grease-whose 3,388 performances made it for a time the longest-running musical in Broadway history. She has also had a long career in movies ("Grease," "Grease II"), television ("Saturday Night Live," music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones, Carly Simon and others) and opera - a career that has garnered her five Tony nominations, two Emmys and the Astaire Award as Best Choreographer for Parade

"Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship" not only provides an exciting opportunity for the students to collaborate with some of Broadway's great talents, but also allows them to be part of a true ensemble. This is just part of the extraordinary work being done at Rosie's Theater Kids, which has been dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts since 2003. It proudly serves students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience theater, positively changing the trajectory of their lives by providing comprehensive classes in music, dance, and drama; thoughtful mentoring; and structured academic guidance. The goal is to inspire excellence, motivate learning, uplift the human spirit, build confidence, and spark a lifelong appreciation of the arts. RTKids benefits thousands of children who live near the "Great White Way," but never have had the opportunity to step inside one of the theaters and experience Broadway. As Rosie says, it's "like living in Hawaii and not having access to the beach."

Today, New York City public schools rely largely on private funding for arts education and they continue to struggle due to a constant shortage of public funding. In 2003, thanks to the generosity and vision of Founder Rosie O'Donnell, Artistic and Executive Director Lori Klinger created RTKids, dedicated to providing quality instruction in music, drama and dance at no cost to New York City public schools or students. Eighty percent of students who participate in Rosie's Theater Kids are from low-income families. Rosie's Theater Kids annually serves more than 5,000 teachers, students, and their family members at 20 schools. They are currently in schools in Harlem, Midtown West, Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, Inwood, and Chinatown

For more information, visit www.rosiestheaterkids.org.

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