Date of the 10th Annual Jimmy Awards Announced

The National High School  Musical Theatre Awards will take place on Monday, June 25 at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre. High school students from across the country will compete for the coveted Jimmy® Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress at the 10th annual presentation. The talent showcase will feature dynamic ensemble and solo performances. In…

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Five Metro schools join TPAC’s Disney Musicals in Schools community

We’re pleased to announce that five new schools have been selected to participate in the 2017-18 Disney Musicals in Schools program! The program is an initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theater programs in economically disadvantaged elementary schools.

The newly selected schools are Alex Green Elementary School, Glencliff Elementary School, Shayne Elementary School, Thomas A. Edison Elementary School, and Tusculum Elementary Elementary School. This is the seventh year of partnership between Disney’s Theatrical Productions, Metro Nashville Public Schools and TPAC’s education program.

The selected schools will begin a 17-week musical theater residency in January. Each school will receive performance rights, education support materials and guidance from two teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with TPAC teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. As a capstone to the experience, TPAC will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show on the stage of Andrew Jackson Hall for an audience of students, teachers, family, and community members.

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Miles and Erica Aubrey to lead workshops, host Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards on May 13

Miles and Erica Aubrey, a Nashville-based couple with a broad range of Broadway, TV, film, and music credits, will lead a full day of performance workshops and serve as celebrity co-hosts for the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or “Spotlight Awards,” presented in partnership between the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and Lipscomb University on May 13.

Founded by Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb’s College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theatre, the awards program invites students and teachers to submit their performances and productions to be evaluated by members of the local theatre community, receive valuable feedback and compete for a variety of awards.

Now in its fourth year, the program has grown to include 30 high schools in Middle Tennessee, including: Pope John Paul II High School, Central Magnet School, St. Cecilia Academy, Hillsboro High School, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, Davidson Academy, Station Camp High School, Brentwood High School, Goodpasture Christian School, Tullahoma High School, Wilson Central High School, Siegel High School, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville School of the Arts, Ravenwood High School, Oakland High School, Stewarts Creek High School, John Overton High School, Page High School, Hendersonville High School, Ensworth School, Monterey High School, Mount Pleasant High School, Franklin High School, Centennial High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Father Ryan High School, Cane Ridge High School, Independence High School and Dickson County High School.

Students from these schools have been hard at work creating, rehearsing and performing their musical productions since October. A diverse group of adjudicators including Lipscomb faculty, TPAC staff and Nashville area theater professionals have attended performances and write evaluations with feedback for future improvement.

On May 13, the program will culminate on the Lipscomb campus with a full day of workshops, led by the Aubreys and others, on subjects like improv acting, dance, audition techniques, and more. That evening, TPAC will host the “Spotlight Awards,” a Tony Awards-style ceremony in Andrew Jackson Hall, where the top 10 schools will perform and students will be honored with a variety of awards. The ceremony will be available to the public with tickets on sale soon at TPAC.org.

“We are thrilled to have Miles and Erica Aubrey as our hosts this year. They bring a ton of professional and Broadway experience in musical theatre, vocal training, musicianship, and TV/film. One of the really great things about them is that they have followed their dreams and been successful both individually and together as a couple, and I think they will inspire the students in a way that they can see how to balance a career and family at the same time,” said Kari Smith, theater and dance instructor in Lipscomb University’s College of Entertainment & the Arts and director of the program. “Miles and Erica are multi-talented and have such incredible and inspiring resumes, but they are also so personable, down to earth, and encouraging. I believe the students are going to love working with them in the workshops, and I know we will all love seeing Miles and Erica perform together at the ceremony.”

This year, TPAC is bringing new resources and opportunities to the program, helping it to grow in scope and impact with the help of TPAC Education staff and its connections to the Broadway industry.

One of TPAC’s most significant contributions is its connection to The Broadway League, which will allow the two students receiving the Best Male Actor and Best Female Actor awards to travel to New York and participate in The Jimmy Awards (www.JimmyAwards.com) on June 26, 2017. Named in honor of legendary Broadway theater owner and producer, James M. Nederlander, the 10-day program celebrates the most talented high school actors from across the nation.

For more information, please email NashvilleMTA@Lipscomb.edu or call 615-966-7111.

Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.

Miles Aubrey recently finished a nine-year run on Broadway as Norm Waxman in the Tony Award-winning musical “Jersey Boys,” directed by Des MacAnuff. Aubrey also was seen in Broadway’s “Ring of Fire,” directed by Richard Maltby Jr. Regional theater credits include numerous shows at North Shore Music Theater, Casa Manana, Goodspeed, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Charlotte Rep and Lyric Theater. Favorite roles include Dillard in “Foxfire,” the Prince in “Cinderella” and Hortensio in “Taming of the Shrew.” TV/film appearances include Charlie Calello in Clint Eastwood’s film adaptation of “Jersey Boys,” “Unsolved Mysteries,” “The Tonight Show,” The Tony Awards, “Live with Seth Meyers,” “Ellen,” and Comedy Central’s Onion News Network. During his years in NYC, Aubrey was cast in numerous readings and workshops, including “Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical,” produced by Gaylord Entertainment, and Broadway-bound musical “The Sting,” directed by Tony Award winning John Rando. Also an accomplished musician, Aubrey is currently on tour playing lead guitar for six-time Grammy nominee and Warner Brothers recording artist Brandy Clark. Aubrey has toured North America and the U.K., with several national television performances, and has over two dozen appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. He was also a guest artist at the prestigious All-Star Guitar Night in 2015. Numerous guitar companies professionally endorse Aubrey, including Fender, Taylor, Paul Reed Smith, and Kyser. His original music has been heard in productions at Nashville Repertory Theatre and North Shore Music Theater. A native Oklahoman, Aubrey studied at the University of Miami and SUNY Purchase.

 

Erica Aubrey holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in musical theatre from New York University. Aubrey spent the last decade working as a professional actress in New York. Most recently, she performed the role of Mrs. Newton in the Chicago-based Broadway tryout of “Amazing Grace,” directed by Gabriel Barre and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gatelli. She was the standby for Tony Award winner Kelli O’Hara in “Far From Heaven” at the prestigious Playwrights Horizons, directed by three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif. She performed alongside Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth in “Music in the Air” at the New York City Center Encores! series, and has performed principal roles in equity theaters across the country, including the Ryman Auditorium, Casa Mañana, Theatre Aspen, Gateway Playhouse, American Folklore Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, and New York Stage and Film. Notably, she played Shelby in “The Spitfire Grill” in the 10th Anniversary production directed by the show’s composer, James Valcq, and played Judy Bernly in the first regional premiere of “9 to 5: The Musical” starring Sally Struthers. While in New York, she took part in numerous readings and workshops of new musicals, including “Moonshine: That Hee-Haw Musical,” co-written by Grammy Award-nominated and Warner Brothers Nashville recording artist, Brandy Clark. Aubrey has appeared on “The Late Show with David Letterman” as a back-up singer for Clark and also has worked as a back-up singer for the jam band Phish, performing in sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden. She has performed in concerts with and on recordings for composers Alan Menken, Craig Carnelia, Stephen Schwartz, and Adam Gwon. She is the voice of Lucille in the MTI cast recording of “Junie B Jones The Musical,” which was released on iTunes and Amazon in January 2017. In Nashville, she remains active as an actress, session singer and voice-over artist, and recently took part in a staged reading of the new musical “Part of the Plan,” co-produced by KSquared Entertainment and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. She is working on a solo album and can be seen on Season One of the Netflix/Marvel Comic series “A.K.A. Jessica Jones.”

TPAC Education included in 44 programs receiving CMA Foundation grants

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Students at Rose Park Magnet Math and Science Middle perform a song from their production of “The Lion King” at the DMIS Student Share at TPAC.

We are so proud and grateful to be included as one of 44 recipients of the 2017 CMA Country Music Association Foundation’s annual donation to support music education programs. The record-setting $3.1 million, issues this year thanks to the generosity of Country artists and fans who attend the annual CMA Music Festival, was announced last week on Giving Tuesday. The grants bring CMA’s total contributions since 2006 to more than $17.5 million.

“If it weren’t for the artists, who all perform for free during CMA Music Festival, and the thousands of fans who support the event each year, these donations would not be possible,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “The CMA Foundation donates to causes that are important to our community, but every dollar is given on behalf of the artists and fans that support Music Fest each June.”

According to the press release, “Studies show students who participate in the arts are more likely to graduate, have better attendance rates, and higher GPAs than students not enrolled in arts classes. The CMA Foundation recognizes the importance of music education in keeping kids engaged and in school as well as providing access to higher education through scholarships and supporting music educators.”

As one of the recipients, the Tennessee Performing Arts Center will use the CMA Foundation grant to support TPAC Education’s Disney Musicals in Schools program, a free semester-long, after-school musical theater program that inspires students and their school communities to organize around the challenging work of mounting a 30-60-minute musical production. Guided by TPAC teaching artists, the program utilizes active partnerships that combine school, professional, and community resources to create rich avenues for student learning while providing teachers with the training and tools needed to strengthen their arts programs. DMIS is expected to reach nearly 1,600 Metro Nashville Public Schools students in 30 elementary and middle schools this school year. Disney Musicals in Schools currently engages 26 Metro Nashville Public Schools, 1,200 students, 130 educators, 600 volunteers, and 12 teaching artists.

For more information on the CMA Foundation, visit CMAfoundation.org.

For more information on TPAC’s comprehensive arts education programs, visit TPAC.org/Education.

Things between TPAC and Lipscomb are about to get “Nashie”

IMG_4294 - Cropped for SpotlightTPAC is adding a sixth arts in education program under the TPAC Education umbrella: a partnership with Lipscomb University’s College of Entertainment & the Arts to implement and expand the university’s Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, now nicknamed “The Nashies.”

The combining of forces is expected to apply new resources to the program and increases opportunities for musical theater to Middle Tennessee high schools. Created in 2012 to recognize excellence in local high school theater, the awards program allows students and teachers to submit their performances and productions for adjudication by members of the local theater community, receive valuable feedback, and compete for a variety of awards.

Over 600 students from 18 schools participated last year. Now in its fourth year, the successful program is expected to grow in scope and impact with the help of TPAC Education staff, additional resources, and the center’s connections to the Broadway industry.

“We founded the program to honor students doing innovative work and foster a spirit of creative collaboration among students, teachers, and the arts community,” said Mike Fernandez, Dean of Lipscomb’s College of Entertainment & the Arts. “I’m thrilled the program has grown so much in such a short time with close to 20 area schools participating last year. Now, with TPAC as a partner, we hope to double that number. I believe that fostering and encouraging the arts in our schools is key to a thriving city like Nashville, so the more who have the opportunity to participate, the better.”

From October to April, evaluators including Lipscomb faculty, TPAC staff, and Nashville area theater professionals will attend performances and write evaluations with feedback for future improvement. In May 2017, the program will culminate on the Lipscomb campus with a full day of workshops on subjects like improv acting, dance, audition techniques, and more. That evening — May 13, 2017 — TPAC will host a Tony Awards-style ceremony, “The Nashies,” in Andrew Jackson Hall, where the top 20 schools will perform, Lipscomb will award $2,500 scholarships for two outstanding students, and students will be honored with a variety of additional awards.

Though TPAC will be involved throughout the year, one of the center’s most significant contributions is its connection to The Broadway League, which will allow the two students receiving the Best Male Actor and Best Female Actor awards to travel to New York in June and participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy Awards. Named in honor of legendary Broadway theater owner and producer, James M. Nederlander, the 10-day program celebrates the most talented high school actors from across the nation.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Lipscomb University’s College of Entertainment & the Arts on the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, and we’re excited to contribute to growing this important cultivation of local talent,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC president and chief executive officer. “Whether they involve young performers taking their first steps on stage in a recital or Broadway stars returning to dazzle us in a touring Broadway production, we delight in those signature moments on TPAC stages when we celebrate the creative abilities honed right here in Music City. We can’t wait to see what new moments these future stars of the stage will bring.”

Early Bird Registration for the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards is open. Registration is $210 until Sept. 30, 2016, $250 until Nov. 30, 2016, and $290 until Jan. 30, 2017. The price includes three adjudicator visits to the school production, feedback from adjudicators, workshops at Lipscomb on May 13, and seats at The Nashies at TPAC on May 13, 2017. Click here to register. For more information or to see if a school is within the judging radius for Middle Tennessee, please email NashvilleMTA@Lipscomb.edu or call 615-966-7111.

“School Patrol” explores TPAC Education’s TechShop for teachers

“Now that school is back in session, there are many fond memories of summer camp. But as you’ll see in this week’s School Patrol, while one of the most beloved camps didn’t attract any children, it was attended by a number of curious students.”  – Vicki Yates, NewsChannel 5

 

 

Click the video above to watch NewsChannel 5’s “School Patrol” feature on TPAC Education’s TechShop, an annual workshop on theatre production designed NOT for curious students but FOR curious teachers so they can learn about lighting design and other aspects of producing theatre in their schools.

“You go back to school inspired with some new ideas, new ice-breakers, new strategies,” teacher Gina Kelly tells Vicki Yates of NewsChannel 5, which broadcasts a weekly “School Patrol” on diverse education topics. Kelly, a teacher Overton High School, takes her students to TPAC for student performances and participates each year in the technical theatre workshop for educators.

The popular, professional development opportunity — held over three days in various TPAC spaces, on stage and backstage — offers tips and tools as the experts, from TPAC’s Tech Department and the community at large, lead sessions on lighting, scenic and costume design, choreography, and other theatrical necessities such as making a lighting “GOBO” with a .99 cent pie plate and an x-acto knife.The workshop is held over three days in various TPAC spaces, on stage and backstage.

TPAC Education and Technical Department staff in the spotlight during the two-and-a-half-minute, action-packed story included Cassie LaFevor, Bill Rios, and Jessica Costello.

TPAC receives 2016 grant from CMA Foundation

CMA and TPAC - Main ImageCMA Foundation announced today its annual donation for music education as well as grant recipients for 2016, totaling a record $2.68 million thanks to the generosity of Country artists and fans at CMA Music Festival.

“If it weren’t for the artists, who all perform for free during CMA Music Festival, and the thousands of fans who support the event each year, these donations would not be possible,” said Sarah Trahern, CMA Chief Executive Officer. “The CMA Foundation donates to causes that are important to our community, but every dollar is given on behalf of the artists and fans that support Music Fest each June.”

TPAC is proud to be among the 29 charitable groups receiving this generous support. The 2016 grant will go to TPAC Education and fund the organization’s Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS) program. DMIS is a free semester-long, after-school musical theater program that inspires students and their school communities to organize around the challenging work of mounting a 30-45-minute musical production. Guided by TPAC Teaching Artists, this program utilizes active partnerships that combine school, professional, and community resources to create rich avenues for student learning while providing teachers with the training and tools needed to strengthen their arts programs. DMIS is expected to reach nearly 1,300 Metro Nashville Public Schools students in 26 elementary and middle schools this school year.

Thank you CMA Foundation!

TPAC drafts NFL legend Eddie George as arts education advocate

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Eddie George will serve as advocate for TPAC Education. Photo by Mary L. Carter.

The nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) announces that NFL legend, former Tennessee Titan, Heisman Memorial Trophy winner, and actor Eddie George will serve as advocate for TPAC Education, the organization’s expansive and nationally recognized education department.

George, who was honored with TPAC’s highest honor, the Applause Award, in August 2014 and joined the TPAC Board of Directors last July, will raise awareness of the need for arts education and its positive impact on educational achievement and well-being.

“We couldn’t be more thrilled at Eddie’s deep interest in how TPAC Education engages and inspires young people. Talented in his own right and a born mentor, Eddie is an excellent messenger for how someone can expand and enrich their life through participation with the arts,” said Kathleen O’Brien, TPAC president and chief executive officer. “Our goal over the next year is to get Eddie involved organically to see our various programs up close and provide him opportunities to speak with young people about accessing and celebrating their creative potential.”

As education advocate, George will work with TPAC to provide a strong voice of support for arts education, engage directly with students, teachers, and artists participating in the programs, and help the organization identify new ways to expand its efforts in reach, number of students, or with additional programs.

“When I was young, my mother made sure I was exposed to the arts, and I took ballet lessons to learn better body control when I got older. So, the arts were always a part of my life,” said George. “After my football career, the arts helped me find my voice. Now, I want to share that experience with kids and encourage them to discover their creative abilities, find their own voice, and live more well-rounded lives.”

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Q&A with Babs Rector: A teacher’s view on the value of arts education

Babs Rector - Cropped“I cannot tell you how much I grew as a teacher and a patron of the arts by participating in ArtSmart,” wrote Babs Rector on the eve of her retirement as a 5th grade teacher at Meigs Middle Magnet School. “TPAC Education has consistently offered superior professional development and stayed current with educational trends, which is a feat itself! I am so glad to have had the opportunity to be part of it.”

After teaching in three different Metro Nashville Public Schools over the course of three decades, Rector took time answer a few questions from SPOTlight about her experience with arts education. Throughout her 30-year teaching career, she was an active participant in TPAC Education’s ArtSmart, a program which blends professional development training, collaboration with teaching artists on classroom residencies, and attending performances on TPAC’s annual Season for Young People.

 

Q: We so appreciated your sending a note about your TPAC experience as you retired. Tell us more about your growth as a teacher and a patron of the arts after participating in TPAC Education’s ArtSmart.

Babs Rector: As a teacher, I realized that arts education helped me reach children with different learning styles. That’s important. TPAC Education also taught me to be more creative with any subject matter.  If I was teaching science, for instance, I wanted the lessons to be creative.  I wanted my students to relate to the subject.  I learned to apply and adapt ArtSmart principles in other creative ways across the curriculum. I also found that TPAC Education excels at understanding current trends in education.  The current emphasis on project-based learning (PBL) in Metro Schools is a great example of that.  Arts education is not just something ‘extra.’  TPAC provides teachers with the resources on plugging into the latest standards and requirements, across the curriculum.

Q: Describe the impact of ArtSmart in your life, both personally and professionally.

BR: For me, in the beginning, the ArtSmart Institutes helped me to define different ways to look at different works of art. Personally, that exposed me to a variety of art forms, from modern dance to visual arts. I’d choose one focus for the classroom from the different options.  After I was introduced to them, however, I was likely to attend a performance or go to Cheekwood to see the sculptures. I also benefitted from working directly with professional artists — actors, musicians, dancers, painters, sculptors and others. Their perspectives were not something I had ever experienced personally. To work closely with the artists gave me so many different ideas on how to work with students.  And then, I did something that is so critical to the student experience and collaborated with the teaching artists. We brainstormed ideas for each ArtSmart unit in the classroom.  We came up with unique ideas for student learning and we came up with them together.  That helped me with professional development in other areas, especially collaborations with other teachers.

Q: The training and teaching artist residencies culminate with a field trip to TPAC for a performance or to another place to view visual art.  How was that beneficial to classroom learning?

BR: First of all, TPAC’s performances or ArtSmart works of visual art relate directly to various subjects. Going to a performance at TPAC?  You cannot even begin to tap into the depth of what those performances have to offer.  The quality of the shows is always top-notch. The highlights of going to TPAC were seeing how the students reacted during the performance or talked about it after the experience because they had experienced something similar in the classroom. Clearly, they connected with the live performance and it reinforced what they’d learned.  One example: Before we saw A Midsummer Night’s Dream we experimented with talking in couplets and explored how difficult it is to come up with something with that pattern of rhyme. We talked about the names of the characters.  Why would Shakespeare choose those names?  This play is not something that students would normally study in the 5th grade. ArtSmart helped them to connect to the work of art and give them an early introduction to William Shakespeare in a way that was relevant to them at their age.

Q: What kind of impact did you see in the lives and learning of your students?

BR: When we focused on the plays, for example, we did a lot of work with writing, including crafting short skits. I saw so much development and creativity when we did those activities.  Some of the students, who were perhaps not so academically talented, really shined when they acted out a skit.  When they performed a theatrical piece, let’s say, they were very witty and creative. They had a chance to shine in a different way.

Q:  Any parting words?

BR: I wish that every teacher, every student, had more opportunities in arts education.  I firmly believe that the arts are vital to a well-rounded education. I believe that the arts open doors for children. TPAC Education provides opportunities that many children do not otherwise experience in their young lives. When they see a play or study a work of visual art, it helps them to work through some of their own challenges and problems.  As a teacher, it’s been very rewarding to see how the arts draw out the creativity and ability of all children regardless of their cultural and economic circumstance. Kids need this experience. The arts enrich their lives.  At the same time they enjoy the arts activities and performances, they work out some things that are very tough in life.

Click here to learn more about ArtSmart and TPAC Education’s other programs.

Country duo Maddie & Tae to host Disney Musicals in Schools “Student Share” on May 14 at TPAC

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Disney Musicals in Schools #StudentShare will be held at TPAC on May 14.

The Disney Musicals in Schools “student share” event will be more magical than ever when Maddie & Tae, country music’s breakaway hit duo, host the special showcase event in the Tennessee Performing Arts Center’s Andrew Jackson Hall on Thursday, May 14.

Over the past year, more than 1,100 students across 20 Metro schools have been rehearsing and staging their own shows through TPAC Education’s Disney Musicals in Schools TPAC-Nashville, sponsored by the CMA Foundation.

The rapidly rising stars will interact with children from Metro Nashville Public Schools who will perform songs from their Disney musicals in full costume on the TPAC stage. The artists and representatives from the CMA Foundation, Disney, and TPAC will be available for interviews beginning at 10 a.m. and after the performance which begins at 10:30.

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