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TDF Open Doors to Present 2018 Graduation

TDF Open Doors to Present 2018 Graduation Over 400 guests including current and past New York City high school students, and the performing arts professional mentors who have participated in TDF Open Doors, the theatre arts mentoring program that TDF founded in 1998 with playwright Wendy Wasserstein, will attend this year's graduation at 5:30pm on Monday, June 4 at The Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College (524 West 59th Street, NYC).

The graduation ceremony will open with a performance by Kenita R. Miller, who was nominated for a Drama Desk Award for her role Mama Euralie in the Tony-nominated Best Revival Once on This Island. Also performing will be musician, poet and TDF Open Doors alum, Amy Leon. The audience will then hear about the program from the perspectives of a teacher, a mentor, an alum and current students.

"TDF Open Doors is celebrating 20 years, honoring Wendy's vision of taking small groups of students to the theatre, meeting afterward, and chatting over a meal-a simple yet eloquent way to celebrate the joy of live theatre going together and investigate what is meaningful, personal, and lasting about attending live performance." said Ginger Bartkoski Meagher, Director of TDF Education Programs. "Amazing students and mentors journey together through a season, inspiring one another, and learning about the world as it's reflected through the art, and through each other."

TDF Open Doors operates on the belief of its co-founder, playwright Wendy Wasserstein, that "theatre going is the birthright of every New Yorker." In Open Doors, dedicated theatre and dance professionals each mentor eight underserved New York City high school students and bring their groups to six Broadway and/or Off Broadway performances over the course of an entire school year. These performances are followed by lively post-performance discussions. The students also keep a journal of their theatre experiences over the course of the year which are reviewed by and discussed with their mentors.

TDF Open Doors was the first arts education program to receive a special Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre when it received the special honor in 2012. This year, Open Doors had 29 mentors working with 24 groups of students from New York City high schools. To help continue their theatergoing journey, all the students are gifted with free TDF memberships.

The 2017-18 TDF Open Doors Mentors and the schools where their students are from:


Adam Bock, playwright - Brooklyn HS for the Arts

Mark Brokaw, director - DeWitt Clinton HS, The Bronx

Kathleen Chalfant, actress - Telecommunications HS, Brooklyn

Rachel Chanoff, producer/performing arts programmer

and Keith Randolph Smith, actor - Cicely Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, NJ

Dawn Chiang, lighting designer - KAPPA International, Manhattan

Kirsten Childs, composer/lyricist/playwright - Fannie Lou Hamer HS, The Bronx
Alexander Dinelaris, playwright/director - Community School for Social Justice, The Bronx
Joe DiPietro, playwright/lyricist - High School for Economics and Finance, Manhattan

Alan Eisenberg, former Executive Director of Actors' Equity - Repertory HS, Manhattan

Scott Ellis, director - All Hallows High School, The Bronx

Peter Friedman and Caitlin O'Connell, actors - Pan Am International HS, Queens

Anne Hamburger, producer - McKinney HS, Brooklyn

Natasha Katz, lighting designer, Frank Sinatra HS, Queens

James Lapine, writer/director - William Cullen Bryant HS, Manhattan

Kenny Leon, director - Renaissance HS, The Bronx

Robert Longbottom, director/choreographer - Gaynor McCown ELS, Staten Island
Aubrey Lynch, dancer/choreographer- Talent Unlimited HS, Manhattan

Kathleen Marshall, director/choreographer

and Scott Landis, producer- Maspeth HS, Queens

Derek McLane, set designer- Edward R. Murrow HS, Brooklyn
Jessica Pabst, costume designer- Renaissance HS, Manhattan
Marc Platt, producer- West Bronx Academy, The Bronx

Dick Scanlon, playwright/director/actor - Queens HS for Science and Math, Queens

Leigh Silverman, director - Millennium HS, Manhattan

Rebecca Stenn, dancer and Caleb Teicher, dancer/choreographer - Flushing International HS, Queens
David Zippel, composer/lyricist - Young Women's Leadership School, Manhattan


Marc Acito, playwright - Guest Mentor

These talented mentors understand the importance of live performance in the cultural education of today's youth and engage their groups in lively, in-depth post-performance discussions. TDF Open Doors has proven that, through this personal and dynamic interaction, it fosters a deep appreciation of theatre and an understanding of its relevance in the students' lives.

To see a brief video of Wendy Wasserstein at the 2003 TDF Open Doors graduation speaking of how she and TDF founded the program, go to:

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