Scholarships Offered for Kid City Theater's Summer Programs

A total of four scholarships are being offered to children and teens for a Manhattan musical theatre program in July at the historic 13th Street Repertory Company, with two weeks of training and rehearsals that culminate in a fully staged performance there. With tuition for the nine days (10 a.m.-4 p.m.) of intensive skill building and preparation set for regular students at $750, those competing for the scholarships will be chosen based on their talent and motivation displayed at an audition and interview, as well as their submitted essays titled "Why Being in Theatre Is My Dream." The Edith O'Hara Summer Scholarships, with the full tuition waived, are named in honor of the founder of the 13th Street Rep, Edith O'Hara, who turned age 99 this year and still resides in the building of the organization she founded in 1972.

This is the first summertime extension of Kid City Theater's residency after 28 years of classes and semester-ending shows held in after-school sessions once per week at the Greenwich Village location. These workshops have been taught from the beginning by Wendy Tonken, who returns to spearhead the July 5 through July 15 group (open to those between the ages of 7 and 15. In a statement, she explained, "We all know there are kids and teens out there who'd love to be trained and to perform in a show -- with costumes, make-up, songs, scenery, and props--- who are dedicated and have a natural gift and exciting potential needing nurturing and polish. But there are so many families with very limited financial resources, and I hate to see them excluded. You can't put a price tag on talent."

Joining Ms. Tonken and her staff in selecting the four special recipients will be a few others from various parts of the entertainment and education worlds who have unique perspectives. The first to be announced is a multi-talented performer currently in rehearsal for the Broadway revival of Cats, opening next month: Giuseppe Bausilio. He's already a Broadway veteran, although he turns just 19 later this month.

The trained ballet/jazz/modern dancer toured in the title role of Billy Elliot before making his Broadway debut stepping into the part, followed by more shows on The Great White Way, cast in Newsies and Aladdin. A role model for younger teens and children, the disciplined and hard-working artist has a special connection to the 13th Street Rep's stage where the summer kids will also perform, having trod its boards in Chip Deffaa's two-man musical Irving Berlin's America.

Also shining on Manhattan stages now are two recent Kid City Theater students of Ms. Tonken: Evie Dolan on Broadway in School of Rock and Graydon Yosowitz at the York Theatre's You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown.

The July student actors will work in one mixed-aged group and smaller clusters with core instructors/directors and guest workshop leaders. In addition to rehearsals, the six-hour days will include: theatre games; improvisation exercises; character building; musical theatre history; movement; small-group/individual singing coaching and ear training; concentration exercises; visits with members of the New York theatre community; and social time at lunch hour. Roles in the production are assigned appropriately to challenge each participant at his/her own level. Likewise, the choice of the show to be presented to the audience will be made among considered possibilities to best suit the particular group. All participants will be featured, with emphasis on ensemble "teamwork," developing a professional attitude and never losing sight of young people's social needs and "fun" aspect in the hard work in a supportive environment.

Two of the four scholarships cover the full $750 fee and two others are half-fee scholarships. Financial need must be demonstrated. For full details on all aspects of any of Kid City Theater program, student applications, email kidcityproductions@gmail.com.

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