Kimmel Center Welcomes Home Michael J. Woodard For Special Afternoon With Musical Theater Students

Kimmel Center Welcomes Home Michael J. Woodard For Special Afternoon With Musical Theater StudentsPhiladelphia native, Kimmel Center ShowStoppers alumnus, and American Idol contestant Michael J. Woodard is returning home to spend time with high school students before heading back to Hollywood. The students are currently participating in the Kimmel Center's free after-school, musical theater program, ShowStoppers. Woodard's stellar performances have landed him a coveted seat in the Top 24 on American Idol.

During his time as a Kimmel Center ShowStopper, Michael J. Woodard played roles such as Lumier in Beauty and The Beast, Dr. Dillamond in Wicked, and Inspector Javert in Les Miserables. Michael will be talking with high school artists from Philadelphia to share insights about his journey to American Idol, with a special performance to follow.

"The mission of the Kimmel Center is to transform lives through music education. ShowStoppers empowers and enriches the lives of young adults like Michael," said Anne Ewers, President & CEO of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts. "We are thrilled for Michael and all that he continues to accomplish as a rising young artist from Philadelphia! The Kimmel Center family is cheering him on as he sings to become the next American Idol!"

Earlier in the season, Woodard impressed judges Katy Perry, Lionel Richie, and Luke Bryan at auditions with his soulful rendition of "Make it Rain" by Ed SHeeran, earning his golden ticket to Hollywood. He then joined four fellow contestants to form a group they named "God's Diversity" on stage at the Dolby Theater for the first phase of "Hollywood Week." Their leading performance of Clean Bandit's "Rather Be" had both the audience and all three judges jumping to their feet, advancing them to the next round. Katy Perry tweeted at Woodard after the show saying, "I'm absolutely IN LOVE with everything that is @michaeljwoodard #americanidol."

Before his time with the ShowStoppers and American Idol, Woodard was named the winner of The Hub's MAJORS & MINORS Signing Competition. 13-years-old at the time, Woodard performed to win a recording contract with Boardwalk Records and RCA Records. He also sang the National Anthem at the opening of the 2011 US open in Flushing Meadows, New York.

The ShowStoppers After School Musical Theater Program is a Kimmel Center-curated free, fast paced after-school program for high school students in grades 9-12. Meeting twice a week after school, the program maximizes skills in theater, voice, and dance while preparing for public performances held twice a year on the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus.

Located in the heart of Center City, Philadelphia, the Kimmel Center's mission is to operate a world-class performing arts center that engages and serves a broad audience through diverse programming, arts education, and community outreach. The Kimmel Center Campus is comprised of the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts (Verizon Hall, Perelman Theater, SEI Innovation Studio, and the Merck Arts Education Center), the Academy of Music (owned by the Philadelphia Orchestra Association), and the Merriam Theater. The Kimmel Center is also home to eight Resident Companies: The Philadelphia Orchestra, Opera Philadelphia, The Pennsylvania Ballet, The Philly POPS, PHILADANCO, The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia, The Philadelphia Chamber Music Society and Curtis Institute of Music. With nearly 9,000 seats per night, The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is the region's most impactful performing arts center, and the second largest in the country. TD Bank, America's Most Convenient Bank, is the season sponsor of the Kimmel Center's 2017-2018 Season. American Airlines is the official airline of Broadway Philadelphia. For additional information, visit

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