Queen Latifah Hosts FFS Finale Gala Event At Imperial Theatre 6/15

Fidelity Investments®, in partnership with Billy Elliot the Musical, the Viertel/Frankel/Baruch/Routh Group, LeAp (Learning through an Expanded Arts Program) and Camp Broadway®, today announced that entertainment icon Queen Latifah will host the Fidelity FutureStage® 2009 Finale on Monday, June 15. The gala event will be held at Broadway's Imperial Theatre, home of the Tony-nominated production of Billy Elliot the Musical.

After months of intensive playwriting and production development, the Fidelity FutureStage Finale marks the Broadway debut of six student-written plays, showcasing the work of over 1,000 NYC area students who participated in the 2009 Fidelity FutureStage theater education program.

"Fidelity FutureStage is giving these students a once in a lifetime opportunity to become Broadway's youngest playwrights," said Queen Latifah. "I am thrilled to help them celebrate a night they'll always remember."

Five of the plays were selected from among the 10 schools participating in the year-long Fidelity FutureStage school program. The sixth play is the winner of the Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Contest, a joint initiative of Fidelity and Billy Elliot the Musical to encourage young people throughout the NYC metro area to express their creativity through playwriting.

FIDELITY FUTURESTAGE FINALE PLAYS AND PLAYWRIGHTS:
Path to the Throne, by Steven Paul (age 12, 7th grade)
JHS 383K, Phillippa Schuyler (Brooklyn)
Phoenix Kills the Sunset, by Tiffany Blake (age 17, 12th grade)
Hillcrest High School (Queens)

The Baby Project, by Tanai Pirela (age 16, 10th grade)
Fordham High School for the Arts (Bronx)

Break-Down, by Keren Alshanetskey (age 14, 8th grade) & Jessica Fedin (age 13, 8th grade)

Mark Twain School for the Gifted (Brooklyn)
Culpa, by Vivienne Dayao (age 18, 12th grade)
Lower Manhattan Arts Academy (Manhattan)

Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Contest Winner:
Driver's Education, by MAdeline Hendricks (age 17, 12th grade)
Mamaroneck High School (Westchester)

The 10 New York City schools participating in the year-long Fidelity FutureStage theater program took part in a special Broadway Audition Day earlier this month. The day included a series of educational workshops featuring cast members and creative team of Billy Elliot the Musical and covering disciplines including getting into character and the ABC's of auditioning. Those workshops readied the students from each school for a special audition performance before a judging panel of theater industry insiders.

Following all 10 auditions, the panel, which included David Henry Hwang (Tony Award-winning playwright for M. Butterfly), Megan Larche (casting director: Grease, White Christmas, A Chorus Line), Paul Canaan (actor, theater program educator and Reality Show Judge from MTV's Legally Blonde), Michael Bush (Fidelity FutureStage Finale Director, Artistic Director of Emelin Theater) and Robert Ellman (theater education coordinator for the New York City Department of Education), selected five plays and their casts to move on to the Broadway finale.

The winner of the Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Contest is the sixth play to be included in the June 15 finale event. Participants of the contest were invited to write a ten-minute play reflecting the themes of Billy Elliot. More than 500 plays were submitted from students from across the NYC metro area, representing NYC, Westchester and Richmond counties outside of the city, Nassau and Suffolk counties on Long Island, as well as Bergen and Hudson counties in New Jersey.

The winning play was selected by a panel representing Billy Elliot the Musical including Lee Hall (Book), Jon Finn (Producer), B.T. McNicholl (Resident Director) and 2009 Tony-nominated Actor Gregory Jbara (Dad). Rounding out the judges was Fidelity FutureStage Finale Director Michael Bush. Leading up to the June 15 Fidelity FutureStage Finale, winning student playwright MAdeline Hendricks will work with B.T. McNicholl and other members of the Billy Elliot the Musical creative team to ready her play for the Broadway stage.

All of the plays featured in the June 15 finale will be published by Samuel French, the premier play and musical publishing and licensing company serving the Broadway community since 1830.

Fidelity FutureStage, now in its third year, is designed to bring theater to life for 600+ NYC students, representing 10 inner-city schools. The year-long theater education curriculum affords students the opportunity to learn from leading playwrights, directors, designers and actors, and ultimately experience the thrill of bringing their own creativity to life on a professional stage.

More than 1,000 hours of classroom work over the course of the school year includes instruction in theater arts disciplines ranging from playwriting and editing to casting, auditioning, set and costume design, directing and final stage production, coordinated by LeAp teaching artists in the classrooms. Some of the Broadway artists lending their time and support to the Fidelity FutureStage program have included: Kathleen Marshall (GREASE!), William Ivey Long (Grey Gardens, Hairspray), David Hyde Pierce (Accent on Youth, Curtains), Charles Strouse (Annie, Bye Bye Birdie), Alan Menken (Little Shop of Horrors, The Little Mermaid), Jerry Zaks (Caine Mutiny Court-Martial, Little Shop of Horrors), Raúl Esparza (Company, Speed the Plow), Lin-Manuel Miranda (In the Heights), Charles Dutton (The Piano Lesson) David Strathairn (Goodnight and Goodluck) and Chazz Palmintari (A Bronx Tale). Students in the Fidelity FutureStage classes also have the opportunity to attend Broadway shows throughout the school year. The guest artist school visits and Broadway field trips are coordinated with the help of the Viertel/Frankel/Baruch/Routh Group.

The Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Contest is a new extension of the program this year, created to give additional students throughout the NYC metro area encouragement and opportunity to participate in the theater arts. The contest was open to all high school students attending school in the NYC and surrounding counties in NY and NJ. Students were invited to write a 10-minute, one-act play reflecting one of the themes from the story of Billy Elliot: fulfilling a dream, discovering a special talent or overcoming adversity. The grand prize winner, Madeleine Hendricks, has the opportunity to work directly with the Billy Elliot the Musical creative team to develop and produce her play for the Broadway stage. The Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Contest was administered by educational partner and contest manager Camp Broadway.

For more information, visit www.FutureStage.com.

 



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