Paul Mercier, Playwright
CAMP BROADWAY, Broadway's "original" summer camp, makes theatre arts an accessible and relevant way for creative children to build confidence, hone presentation skills, and discover their unique talents at every stage of their lives.
It is easy to say that young people are making a comeback in Buffalo and on Broadway. This means that the theatre world's focus should be on educating and inspiring young people in following their dreams! From what the world saw at the past few Tony Award celebrations, young people are important to the theatre world and have real opportunity to pursue their passions at any age. It is undeniable that children in the spotlight bring a certain quality to any performance and create a nostalgia for those who have spent their lives on the stage.
One of our featured Broadway Series shows of the season is Matilda the Musical! Based on the adventurous Roald Dahl children's book, this show-stopping comedy celebrates the creativity and imagination of kids.
Although Broadway has seen many talented kids over the last century, it is still quite astonishing to see young people take on roles that are challenging even for adults. The four actresses that alternated as Matilda in its first few months on Broadway are Sophia Gennusa, 9; Bailey Ryon, 10; Oona Laurence, 10; and Milly Shapiro, 10.
Another show coming to Buffalo with Shea's Broadway Series is the classic family musical Annie! Since its first premiere in 1976, Annie has swept up the hearts of children and adults alike. Like Matilda, Annie faces many challenges while just trying to be a kid but always promotes a positive outlook on life and maintains that "The sun will come out tomorrow..."
Countless studies have shown that children benefit from participating in the arts. But even though the benefits outweigh the costs, many schools cut programs and deny children initial experiences with the arts. With growing initiatives like the Shea's education program, it is possible to give many children opportunity to learn new skills and discover their passions. The Theatre Alliance of Buffalo and Theatre of Youth hold many opportunities for children as well. Whether you want to be on the stage, backstage, or in the audience, Buffalo has got kids of all ages covered!
Youth Drama offers personal development, self-esteem, self-reliance, self-worth, confidence, responsibility, heightened awareness, deeper consciousness, better and broader social skills, tolerance, understanding, friendship, romance, community development, group dynamic, cross-cultural exchange, collective identity, transformation, transcendentalism… an enhanced vocabulary, with lots of clapping; artistic expression and dishwashing, acting, dancing, singing, and floor-sweeping, set-building and carpet painting, lighting design and ceiling reconstruction, public disorder and general mayhem…
Paul Mercier, Playwright
This year at the Tony Awards the theatre community saw many wondrous sights! The best of the best displayed previews of their productions to the world at the most prestigious award ceremony in theatre history. At Shea's we value all types of theatre created by people of all ages and with programs like The Kenny Awards, Exploring the Arts, Broadway Master Classes, and Camp Broadway we can excite and educate young people in their pursuits of the stage.
The King and I was revived on Broadway this year and notably uses many children in it's cast! A classic Golden Age musical staged in modern times can often be hit or miss, but The King and I continues to enchant audiences over 60 years after its first premiere!
Fun Home won the Tony Award for Best Musical this year! (And it probably had something to do with this excellent young actress!)
11-year-old Sydney Lucas took the stage by storm in front of the world. The story of her character was played by three actresses throughout the show, Sydney played the youngest version.
The Tony Awards wouldn't be the Tony Awards if we didn't celebrate the American musical! Something Rotten provoked much laughter this year with its witty, zany comedy. This silly song poked fun at the Tony crowd who all earn their money and fame from long musical interludes and kick lines.
Some past Tony Winners for Best Musical that have performed on Shea's stage are Kinky Boots, Once, The Book of Mormon, Memphis, Billy Elliot, Jersey Boys, South Pacific, The Lion King, Avenue Q, Annie, Spamalot, In the Heights, The Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserables, La Cage aux Folles, Evita, Fiddler on the Roof, Rent, The King and I, and that's only in the past 10 years!
It is an incredible privilege to include so much quality theatre in our lives though we are far from the source.
For this season, Shea's is continuing its long streak of presenting Tony Award-winning touring musicals to the Buffalo community!
Newsies- 2012 Winner of Best Score and Best Choreography in a musical!
Matilda- 2013 Winner of Best Book, Scenic Design, Lighting Design, and Actor for a musical!
Annie- 1977 Winner of Best Actress, Book, Choreography, Costume Design, Scenic Designer, Score, and BEST MUSICAL!
Pippin- 1973 Winner of Best Actor, Choreography, Director, Lighting Designer, Scenic Designer in a musical!
Beautiful- 2014 Winner of Best Actress and Sound Design in a musical!
Dirty Dancing- Record-Breaking Worldwide Tour! (Not Tony Eligible, Foreign)