Jill Marie Burke and Brent Crayon Reunite to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Jason Robert Brown's SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD

Theatre Artists Across the Country Offer a Message of Hope to Benefit the Educational Theatre Foundation 

By: Dec. 09, 2020
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Jill Marie Burke and Brent Crayon Reunite to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Jason Robert Brown's SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD

Two industry veterans have teamed up to honor the 25th Anniversary of Jason Robert Brown's SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD featuring one of musical theatre's most inspiring finales, Hear My Song. Performer Jill Marie Burke and music director Brent Crayon enlisted the support of director Alan Bailey, and together they assembled Broadway performers, regional theatre standouts and high school musical students, to record a music video honoring the work of Jason Robert Brown and benefiting the Educational Theatre Foundation.

Tony award winner Jason Robert Brown's SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD debuted Off-Broadway at the WPA Theatre in 1995. As his first produced show, it has a theme that resonates 25 years later. "It's about one moment. It's about hitting the wall and having to make a choice, or take a stand, or turn around and go back," said Brown, who started doing musicals in high school. "Then I just kept wanting to do them. I felt at home in the theater, in that way that you're supposed to if that's the kind of person you are. It is gratifying to know that this version of the song will directly benefit a new generation of theatre."

Jill Marie Burke, co-collaborator on this production, says, "This song, with its message that it will be okay, resonates with all of us in the theatre community, and with people everywhere. The joy it brought us in producing the piece is amplified knowing that it will build awareness of the work being done by the Educational Theatre Foundation."

Brent Crayon, Music Director/Piano-Conductor for the Rubicon Theatre production of SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, received the 2005 Ovation Award nomination for Best Musical Direction. He sats, "It was a thrill to collaborate with Jill and Alan to showcase Jason Robert Brown's exhilarating music and lyrics combined with images from every level of theatrical production to show the huge impact theatre has in our lives."

"We reached out to theatre artists around the country and asked them to share clips and images of shows they had done in the months before theatres shut down. The passion we saw in those images was extraordinary," adds Alan Bailey, co-author of the musical SMOKE ON THE MOUNTAIN. "As we put this together, our goal really became to share the message of hope that the song promises, in a time when it is so needed."

The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF) exists to provide financial support to enhance theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child. Through JumpStart Theatre, ETF lays the foundation for sustainable musical theatre programs in schools where these programs did not exist and through need-based grants, assists schools with revenue to maintain their programs. ETF's Pathway program focuses on fostering racial equity in school theatre. "ETF is honored to be the beneficiary of this beautiful work of art," said Julie Cohen Theobald, ETF President. "Hear My Song is an inspiring reminder of the promise of tomorrow and of the power of theatre to make lives better."

The Hear My Song video shows the joy, and the ache of how vibrant theatrical lives were just a short time ago. The video features compelling clips of actors, musicians, dancers, stage managers, designers, crews - everyone who's part of the theatre experience from high schools, colleges, regional theatres, to Broadway. Jason Robert Brown's exhilarating music and lyrics combine with images from every level of theatrical production to show the impact of theatre and provide hope for what the future will bring.

About Jill Marie Burke
Jill is an actor, vocalist, session singer, producer, voice teacher, and musical director. Her first professional work began onstage for the Walt Disney Company portraying such characters as Princess Jasmine, Ariel, and Pocahontas. Her voice can be heard singing the well-known "Priceline Negotiator" jingle in their national commercials. Her theater credits include It's Only Life with composer John Bucchino, Inside Out which she won a StageSceneLA Scenie and Robby Award for her performance, Stephen Schwartz's Snapshots, and Songs for a New World which she was nominated for a L.A. Ovation Award. Jill has had the privilege of singing with such stars as Tony Award winning Jason Robert Brown, Richard Carpenter, Robert Morse, and her "uncle" Johnny Mathis. She is a company member of Musical Theatre Guild in Los Angeles, she stars in the cabaret revue Hollywood Revisited, and frequently belts out our National Anthem for the Anaheim Angels. Jill recently returned from Las Vegas from headlining in the long-running tribute show Legends in Concert, debuting rock icon Pat Benatar. Plus, she pays tribute to Pat in her own tribute band LIVE FROM EARTH - A Tribute to Pat Benatar.

About Brent Crayon
Brent Crayon is a music director and pianist based in Los Angeles. He has had the privilege of collaborating with such notable artists as Stephen Schwartz, Jason Robert Brown, Daisy Prince, John Caird, Paul Gordon, Richard Maltby, Jr., and John Bucchino. Brent was the music director/pianist for the world premieres of John Bucchino's, It's Only Life, Bubble Boy, the Musical, and Stephen Schwartz's Snapshots. Brent's recent productions include three shows with Sacramento Music Circus and a production of Peter Pan in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Brent can be seen and heard in McCoy Rigby's production of A Night with Janis Joplin streaming on Broadway HD.

About Alan Bailey
Alan Bailey conceived and directed the Off-Broadway production of Smoke on the Mountain, which ran more than five hundred performances at the Lamb's Theatre and went on to become Samuel French's most-licensed play worldwide for fifteen years. Alan's New York credits also include directing the Off-Broadway premiere of Squeeze Box, produced by Mel Brooks at the Acorn Theatre, as well as writing and directing the cult-favorite cabaret Henry The 8th at the Grand Ole Opry. A Macon, Georgia native, Alan is a five-time undefeated Jeopardy! champion and multi-tournament Jeopardy! veteran. He currently divides his time between the theatre and game show writing, having recently written for the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Who Wants to Be a Millionaire.

About the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF)
The Educational Theatre Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, which is the home of the International Thespian Society. ETF provides essential financial support to enhance excellence in theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child, putting them on a more positive life path. ETF is focused on three areas: creating sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none through JumpStart Theatre; awarding need-based grants to schools through the Thespian Relief Fund; and fostering racial equity in school theatre through the Pathway program. In 2018 alone, ETF awarded more than $650,000 in grants, directly impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities, and enabling the development of musical theatre programs in diverse middle schools in six states. For more information, visit educationaltheatrefoundation.org.

Joan Almedilla
Dedrick Bonner
Jill Marie Burke
Steven Janji
Jayme Lake
Jennifer Paz
Kevin Odekirk
Merrick Siebenaler

Emiliano Almeida - Drums
Brent Crayon - Piano and Keyboard 2
Rhea Fowler -Violin
Jeff Novack - Bass
Hillary Smith - Cello
Nick Stone - Percussion