Thanks to "Passport on Broadway," 48 South Korean kids ages 8-14 were granted the chance to come to New York — and the United States — for the very first time this summer, from July 29-Aug. 21. During their time in the Big Apple, they learn about the cultural phenomena of the Great White Way and learn about theater arts firsthand from a wide array of mentors and guest artists.
The creative team on "Passport to Broadway" is Amy Weinstein, artistic director/president of StudentsLive (Tony Randall’s National Actors Theater, director of education); Geraldine Boyer-Cussac, musical director ("Songs for a New World," Metropolitan Opera); Cornelius Bethea, choreographer (Broadway's "Chicago," "Scottsboro Boys"); and Jessica James, associate producer.
Present and previous cycles have featured guest artists such as Tony Award-winner Ben Vereen, Duncan Stewart (Duncan Stewart & Co.), Jeff Calhoun (director of "Newsies"), John Tartaglia (TV/Broadway actor, "Avenue Q," "Johnny and the Sprites"), Kevin Woodworth (costume designer on Broadway's "Chicago"), Benton Whitley (casting associate at Duncan Stewart & Co.), Nick Pramik (director of marketing and partnerships at SpotCo), Douglas Lyons ("The Book of Mormon"), Rachelle Rak ("Catch Me If You Can"), Erica Mansfield ("Evita"), Christopher Jackson ("In the Heights"), Bernard Dotson ("Merrily We Roll Along") and more.
"Passport to Broadway" is a program from StudentsLive, an educational theater company that has been running this particular experience since 2009. This summer welcomes the 10th group from South Korea, while other rotations have involved participants from China, Japan, Brazil and Guatemala. The young learners come into the program speaking little or no English, and over the course of their studies they improve their language skills while also learning about local culture, expressions and movement.
The children currently visiting from South Korea will be performing "Journey to America," featuring 40 classic songs and medleys from Broadway's history with a book devised just for this occasion, bringing into the story the children's unique view on coming to this country for the first time and what the arts mean to America. You can catch the final performance at the Manhattan Movement and Arts Center on Aug. 20 or learn more at www.passporttobroadway.com.