Last weekend, I caught up with BD Wong at the Maravel Arts Center on 445 W. 45th St. in New York, where he was rehearsing a number which will be performed in “Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship to Benefit Rosie’s Theater Kids,” on Tuesday, March 27, 2012, at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater, 405 W. 55th St. @ 9th Ave in New York.
BD will also be hosting the event, (also honoring Tom Viola, Executive Director of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids), which features Rosie’s Theater Kids alongside Derick K. Grant, Brandon Victor Dixon, Zakiya Young, and special taped video appearances by Audra McDonald and John Tartaglia. A highlight of the evening is sure to be an original piece conceived and co-written by BD, in which he will perform with 11 of the children from the “Rosie’s Theater Kids” program.
In Manhattan, thousands of children live near the “Great White Way” but never have the opportunity to step inside one of the theaters and experience Broadway. As Rosie O’Donnell says, it’s “like living in Hawaii and not having access to the beach.” Today, New York City public schools rely largely on private funding for arts education and they continue to struggle due to a constant shortage of public funding. This is where Rosie’s Theater Kids comes in, providing theater exposure and theater training to hundreds of NY City Public school kids each week.
BD shared, “For several weeks now, I have been rehearsing with 11 of Rosie’s Theater Kids, Music Director Steven Jamail and RTK Vocal Performance Teacher Lisa Danser. Everyone on the staff there is a gem.”
“My pal Wayne Barker (Broadway composer of PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS) and I wrote a mini-musical for me to perform with the RTKs, based upon a beloved Polish children’s story called KING MATT THE FIRST. Each kid has a featured role in the piece, and they have taken to the material like bees to honey.”
“I really recommend you check this out. I’m really kind of proud of it, and it is just a lot of fun. And it is a great, great cause.
…They are all totally remarkable. There’s not an ounce of bad energy. Get a ticket! Smiles guaranteed.”
The Tony award-winning actor has just returned from attending the world premiere of his latest film (in which he is featured with Joan Chen, Booboo Stewart, Harry Shum, Jr.) WHITE FROG, directed by Quentin Lee at the SFIAAFF30 in San Francisco.
He is also currently appearing as Dr. John Lee in NBC’s new critically acclaimed drama “Awake,” which also stars Jason Isaacs, Laura Allen, Steve Harris, Dylan Minnette, Michaela McManus, Wilmer Valderrama and Cherry Jones.
In 2003, thanks to the generosity and vision of Founder Rosie O’Donnell, Artistic and Executive Director Lori Klinger created RTKids, dedicated to providing quality instruction in music, drama and dance at no cost to New York City public school students, inspired by O’Donnell’s life-long concern for children, love of theater, and dream of teaching. Eighty-six percent of students who participate in Rosie’s Theater Kids are from low-income families. Rosie’s Theater Kids annually involves more than 5,000 teachers, students, and their family members at 17 schools. There are currently programs in Harlem, Midtown West,Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, and Chinatown.
“PASSING IT ON: An Evening of Mentorship to benefit ROSIE’S THEATER KIDS”
6:30PM Doors open
8:00PM VIP after party
Purchase tickets online or call: 646-434-2774.
General Admission – $225 -includes one general admission ticket for the performance
VIP Ticket – $500 – includes one VIP ticket for the performance and after-party, listing in the program.