Performances to Showcase Original Student Works
NEW YORK, March 17, 2021 – High school musical theater students from the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, D.C. will perform their original songs alongside a slate of Broadway stars on Friday, March 19 at 7 PM. The concert, which is open to the public as a free webcast, is the culmination of the second annual ASCAP Foundation Andrew A. Isen Musical Theater Songwriting Workshop.
The innovative workshop provides a unique opportunity for high school theater students to learn the fundamentals and art of musical theater songwriting. With unparalleled access and insight into the vibrant musical theater community, it is The ASCAP Foundation’s first high school musical theater songwriting program with a Broadway mentor.
In the four-month intensive workshop, under the direction of ASCAP songwriter and Broadway performer Nick Blaemire, the students collaborate with their classmates to create original songs. As part of this initiative, students are introduced to the basics of copyright and intellectual property and given the opportunity to copyright the new, original material they will be performing during the virtual concert.
“This workshop gives high school theater students the incredible opportunity to learn the craft of musical theater songwriting under the expert tutelage of Nick Blaemire. After a successful inaugural workshop in 2019, The ASCAP Foundation is honored to continue this inspiring program and tremendously grateful to Andrew Isen for his dedication to and support of musical theater education,” said The ASCAP Foundation Executive Director Colleen McDonough.
Blaemire wrote the music and lyrics to the Broadway musical Glory Days, which premiered in D.C. and has since had over 50 productions all over the world. His newest musical Space Dogs, with collaborator Van Hughes, was slated for a 12-week run at Off-Broadway’s MCC Theatre, directed by Tina Landau (SpongeBob), before the pandemic hit. Blaemire recently released an EP of original songs entitled Superstitious Drive, and as an actor, most recently appeared on the Netflix series Dash & Lily.
For the virtual concert, Blaemire and the students will be joined by Broadway performers Chad Burris (Mean Girls, Frozen), Sara Kapner (Band's Visit), Jon-Michael Lyles (A Strange Loop, The OA), Vasthy Mompoint (SpongeBob, The Prom), Doron Mitchell (To Kill a Mockingbird), Ines Nassara (The Wiz, Ragtime), James Hayden Rodriguez (The Lightning Thief), Vishal Vaidya (Groundhog Day), RJ Vaillancourt (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel) and Jason Veasey (A Strange Loop, The Lion King). All musical works have been arranged by Wiley DeWeese (The Lightning Thief, Whisper House) and will be played by band members Kevin Wunderlich, Yuka Tadana and Jeff Fernandes. Editing is by Jason H. Thompson.
They take part in support of Ellington student songwriter/performers Nyah Alexis, Samiya Allen-Graham, Eric Easter, Makael Exum, Elisha Fonseca, Lauren K. Harris, Cassie Lustig, K’Lah Morgan, Mari Powell, Jahmiya Quarles, Taylor Robinson, De’La Strader, Kwencie Stewart, Taylor Tompkins and Erik Ventura.
Andrew A. Isen, who is funding this program, is an accomplished leader and business pioneer and a long-time D.C. resident. In recent years, his philanthropic vision has been laser-focused on supporting the next generation of talented musical theater performers and writers.
The show will be webcast live and archived for future viewing at https://tinyurl.com/rdnsse3m
About The ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education, talent development and humanitarian programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org.
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