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...