Sunday, January 30, 2011

Rosie's Theater Kids - Redux

First posted 8/07

NOTE: I love watching talented kids on stage and I was very fortunate to be in the audience for the performance written about in this article by Roger Friedman of FOX News.
I stood applauding with the rest of the audience for the standing O at the end of the show with my heart in my throat.
Just think what might have become of these kids if Rosie hadn't stepped in to help them.


Roger Friedman- FOX NEWS

With all the feuds and public debates over “The View” and Donald Trump, we tend to forget about Rosie O’Donnell’s amazing work in charity and education.
If you’re in New York City on Friday at 3 p.m., you can see some of the results. That’s when her Broadway Kids program puts on a performance at the 42nd Street Studios of “This Joint Is Jumpin’,” a musicial revue that I caught on Thursday in dress rehearsal.
Dubbed “a collection of pieces inspired by the Harlem Renaissance,” this show is simply remarkable and a little breathtaking.
“Joint” features a cadre of kids ages 8 to 14 who put on a show more real and less “stagey” than “High School Musical.”
Rosie’s team — including Lori Klinger, Thecla Harris and Stanley Wayne Mathis, among others — has turned a bunch of underprivileged kids into the city’s most talented group of younger-age actors.
And this is just the beginning. In November, O’Donnell will unveil the Maravel Arts Center just west of the theater district. It’s named for Rosie’s teacher, Pat Maravel, and they’ve already raised over $5 million since O’Donnell bought the building and gutted it. Donations are still being accepted. The building will be dedicated in November at a gala. I’m told Paul Simon may be one of the big surprise talents.
Meanwhile, Rosie’s got her hands full with a group of kids not unlike The Little Rascals. I don’t want to name names, because so many of these kids could be snatched up by casting directors if they’re seen — and we don’t want to see them get jaded too fast!
But watch out for Daniel Estrella, who seems to be channeling the spirit of the late, wonderful Gregory Hines. And Kirra Silver could be Audra MacDonald’s missing “child.”
They say that several of the kids have already gotten into the “Fame” High School for Performing Arts just based on their work here. Bravo!
And here’s a little trivia: After the show, Rosie and pals, along with her remarkably cool 12-year-old son, Parker, stopped next door and stood in a long line at the Cold Stone Creamery in Times Square to get cones. Everyone told Rosie to move up front, but she had a ball just waiting her turn.

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