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Virtual VARIETY SHOW LAB Announces Inaugural Summer Sessions


June 22nd-26th, July 27th-31st, August 10th-16th | $275/session

Ages 12-18| Sessions Meet Daily via Zoom | 2-5pm

To Register:



Virtual VARIETY SHOW LAB Announces Inaugural Summer Sessions Virtual VARIETY SHOW LAB Announces Inaugural Summer Sessions

"Art is the only way to run away without leaving home"

- Twyla Tharp

Two months into their COVID-19 quarantine, Kimberly Hawkey and Ryan McGovern imagined there could be a better way to "Zoom." With over twenty years of combined experience as arts educators, Kim and Ryan brainstormed how they could bring together young artists across disciplines and create memorable virtual performances. The result is Variety Show Lab, a program designed for creative-minded youth, ages 12-18, who seek to explore their individual talents through a virtual platform.

Whether focusing on music, comedy, writing, or video production, students collaborate to choose a theme, and over five days, explore the facets of modern entertainment. The week culminates in a made-from-scratch video broadcast. And by breaking up instructional time between group collaboration and individual projects, the program enables participants to receive direct feedback from instructors.

While the Variety Show format is largely considered one of the past, Hawkey and McGovern saw the genre's fingerprint in quarantine entertainment- from SNL at Home to The Disney Sing-A-Long to Late Night TV - and realized teens today are more equipped than ever to take such a format and run with it.

"If there's one thing we do best, it's putting on a show. Ryan and I have always been passionate about writing, performing, and producing our own material, and we know the great joy of showing our work in front of an audience. Sadly, many young artists have seen their social and creative outlets minimized drastically over the past few months. Art and music classes have been pushed aside in schools' efforts to cope with the online format. In-person collaboration is obviously tricky at the moment, yet there are still ways for students to develop and share their talents and self-expression. We wanted to give young performers a chance to grow their original content in a welcoming virtual space. So much of this creative process is self-directed, but we are there to inspire and guide their own work while facilitating interaction with other students. Variety Show Lab acts as an incubator - connecting the comedian to the songwriter so they can create an original jingle; or the playwright to the actor so they can devise a scene with real-time feedback from peers and instructors. There is a place for every style of art and expression in true teamwork. We hope that quiet students will feel equally at home among the seasoned performers; bring us the jacks & jills-of-all-trades, as well as teens who want to focus primarily on one outlet during the week - film, acting, or dance, to name a few. The final projects are edited together as a themed Variety Show, which gets its own premiere and awards ceremony. I think families will be amazed by how social and motivational the program can be. Art heals! And we usually don't realize how much we needed it until we're back to creating again."

-Kimberly Hawkey, Instructor & Co-Founder of Variety Show Lab

About The Instructors

Kimberly Hawkey aka @elvanellemusic is a musician, bandleader, producer, and teaching artist based in Nyack, NY. As a vocalist, Kimberly has headlined in venues across the nation, including Birdland Jazz Club, the Iridium, Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra, Florida Studio Theatre, and Moab Music Festival. She is the lead singer, bandleader and lyricist of vintage jazz band, The Swingaroos; producing three full-length albums and developing five original shows for cabaret theatres. Kimberly has taught piano, voice and guitar for over ten years and is now the Artistic Director of Elvanelle Music, an independent label for concert production, education and community programming.

Visit to learn more.

Photo Credit: Emma Meade

Ryan McGovern aka @roomcgoo is a musical comedian, writer/director, and teaching artist based in Jersey City, NJ. As a comedian and singer, he has appeared at Caroline's on Broadway, 54 Below, Club Cumming, Dixon Place, The People's Improv Theatre and The iHeartRadio Lounge TriBeCa. He is the creator/bookwriter of The Showmen (The Finger Lakes Musical Theatre Festival, Musical Theatre Factory, Don't Tell Mama) and Roo-ining Christmas (Best Musical, Vancouver WebFest 2017), and has produced and edited web series for various musicians and comedians. He has also devised and/or directed dozens of musicals with young actors, most recently for Vanguard Theatre Company, NJPAC, and McCarter Theatre Center.

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