Hunter Drama's Daniel Stoddart honored in New York
Daniel Stoddart, the Founder and Owner of Hunter Drama and formerly the Artistic Director for 10 years, was one of eight outstanding educators from schools and performing arts centers around the world selected to work one-on-one with Broadway greats at the 8th Annual FREDDIE G FELLOWSHIP which just wrapped in New York City. He is the first international educator to be selected. (Pictured Above: Jeff Calhoun, Daniel Stoddart and Baayork Lee)
The event was underwritten by Myrna and Freddie (“G”) Gershon, Chairman and CEO of leading theatrical licensor Music Theatre International (MTI). The four days of events honored instructors and teachers who are working to make a difference for their students and communities through the process of staging musical theatre productions in their schools and educational theatre groups. In addition to the New York experience, each of the teachers’ schools received $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna to enhance their arts program.
The teachers attended private workshops led by Tony Honor® winning director and choreographer Jeff Calhoun, Tony Award® winning director, choreographer and actor Christopher Gattelli, Tony Award® winning lighting designer Ken Billington, Broadway sound designer Matt Kraus, and musical director, musical supervisor, conductor and musician Dale Rieling. They join the tradition of Broadway professionals who have given workshops and joined the Freddie G winners in prior years (including Stephen Schwartz, Jeanine Tesori, Warren Carlyle, Baayork Lee, Chad Beguelin, Nell Benjamin and Laurence O’Keefe, among others).
“The four days fully engaged the winning teachers in the Broadway musical theatre world and provided one-of-a-kind learning opportunities for them to take back to their schools, students and communities,” says Gershon. “These teachers perform inspiring work with limited financial resources. We want to give them the opportunity to live the Broadway experience and interact with qualified professionals to reward them for all they do to introduce the next generations to live theatre and simultaneously enhance their knowledge, skills and experience.”
Dozens of educators attending the 2017 annual Junior Theater Festival of over 5,800 attendees, applied for the program, and eight in total were selected. The educators participated in dynamic, hands-on master classes with some of Broadway’s leading choreographers, directors, producers, actors and designers. They were immersed in Broadway, attended the current hit show Anastasia and met the cast, observed a developmental workshop performance of Matilda Junior and experienced Broadway as theatre insiders…giving their feedback to the developmental process from their p.o.v.
“Without teachers there is no Broadway Junior. Myrna and I feel strongly about our personally investing in teachers and immersing them in experiential skills that they can take home and utilize to guide their students and pass on to other teachers,” added Gershon. “It’s crucial we keep live theatre thriving in this country by working with both educators and children. Myrna and I believe that all of America’s teachers should be honored and appreciated. Our future is in their hands.”
The Junior Theater Festival is the world's largest musical theatre festival dedicated to educational musical theatre groups that work with elementary and middle school students. This year’s title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill®.
Music Theatre International www.mtishows.com is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, protecting the rights and legacies of composers, lyricists and book writers. MTI’s core business is issuing licenses, scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to schools as well as amateur and professional theatres across the globe.
With over 400 classic and contemporary show titles from Broadway, Off-Broadway, and London’s West End, MTI shows have been performed by over 70,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.
MTI is a strong proponent of educational theatre. In 1996 (after a two–year developmental incubation period) MTI Chairman and CEO Freddie Gershon launched “MTI’s Broadway Junior musicals” - 30 and 60-minute shows for younger performers. In 2012 he was awarded a Tony Honor for conceiving and creating this revolutionary program. During the past twenty one years over 5,000,000 students and over 500,000 educators have been involved in at least one of the close to 200,000 global productions of a Broadway Junior musical.