Rose Theater Educator Sue Gillespie Booton Honored at FREDDIE G BROADWAY EXPERIENCE in NYC
Sue Gillespie Booton of Omaha's Rose Theater was one of eight outstanding educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country selected to work one-on-one with Broadway greats at the 5th Annual FREDDIE G BROADWAY EXPERIENCE which just wrapped in New York City. The event was underwritten by Myrna and Freddie ("G") Gershon, Chairman and CEO of leading theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI).
The weekend honored instructors and teachers who are working to make a difference for their students and communities through the process of staging musical theatre productions in their schools and educational theatre groups. In addition to the New York experience, each of the teachers' schools received $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna to enhance their arts program.
"The experience was nothing short of amazing and came at the perfect time in my career. After working years on the national level as an actor, and later making the transition to musical theater education in Omaha, the experience allowed me to touch base with the Broadway and national level artists," said Booton.
The teachers attended a private dinner with Stephen Sondheim and special workshops led by Tony Award nominated composer and musical arranger Jeanine Tesori, Tony Award winning director and choreographer Warren Carlyle, four time Tony Award nominated playwright Chad Beguelin, Tony Award winning lighting designer Ken Billington and Broadway sound designer Matt Kraus.
"The experience fully immersed the teachers in the Broadway world and provided one- of-a-kind learning opportunities for the teachers to take back to their schools, students and communities," says Gershon. "These teachers do inspiring work with limited financial resources. We wanted to give them the opportunity to live the Broadway experience and interact with top professionals to reward them for all they do to introduce the next generations to Broadway and musical theatre."
Dozens of educators attending the 2014 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia applied for the program, and eight total were selected. They participated in dynamic, hands-on master classes with some of Broadway's leading choreographers, directors, producers, actors and designers. They also attended the Broadway show Aladdin (complete with a backstage tour), watched a developmental performance of Peter Pan JR. (one of the newest potential Broadway Junior titles), and experienced Broadway like true theatre insiders.
"I feel strongly about personally investing in these teachers by immersing them in experiential skills they can take home and share with students and other teachers," added Gershon. "It's crucial we keep theatre alive in this country by working with both educators and children. Myrna and I feel that America's teachers should be honored and appreciated. Our future is in their hands."
Booton serves as The Rose Theater's BROADWAY at The Rose Director and has been The Rose's Resident Choreographer for 12 years, creating choreography for Tarzan, How I Became a Pirate, Disney's High School Musical, Disney's High School Musical 2, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Pinkalicious-The Musical, and Peter Pan-The Musical, among others. Her latest Rose stage credits include Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type, How I Became a Pirate, and Pinkalicious- The Musical. She was recently awarded the "Best Director" award at the regional Access Broadway convention as well as nominated for the jazz piece "Queen Medley." Additionally, she was nominated for a 2014 Theatre Arts Guild Award for Outstanding Choreographer for Tarzan, Omaha Entertainment Awards "Best Choreography" for both Disney's High School Musical and Disney's High School Musical 2 and was awarded "Best Choreography" for her pieces "Crawl," "Sucked Under," and "Wipeout" from regional conventions Showbiz, Access Broadway, and Dance Olympus.
About The Rose - The Rose Theater is one of the largest and most accomplished children's theaters in the nation, with a reputation for enriching the lives of children and families through top-quality professional productions and arts education. The Rose is committed to making the arts accessible to all children, providing opportunities for thousands of children throughout the community to attend shows and participate in classes each year.
Through its BROADWAY at The Rose program (led by director Sue Gillespie Booton), The Rose offers a complete musical theater, voice, acting and dance training program for children ages 3 to 18. BROADWAY at The Rose classes encourage students to explore their musical talents while receiving a highly-focused arts education designed to train and nurture aspiring artists who dream of a professional career in musical theater.
About The Junior Theater Festival: The Junior Theater Festival is the world's largest musical theatre festival dedicated to educational musical theatre groups that work with elementary and middle school students.
About Music Theatre International: Music Theatre International www.mtishows.com is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, protecting the rights and legacies of composers, lyricists and book writers. MTI's core business is issuing licenses, scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to schools as well as amateur and professional theatres across the globe. With over 300 classic and contemporary show titles from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and London's West End, MTI shows have been performed by over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide. MTI is particularly dedicated to the idea of theatre as education and in 1994, created Broadway Junior - 30 and 60-minute musicals for younger performers. Broadway Junior musicals have resulted in over 100,000 productions and more than 400,000 performances in grade schools across the United States.