What Are We Thankful For?

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As we enter into the holiday season, our Education Department shares what they are thankful for.

We are thankful for you! Now, more than ever, we are reminded of the power of musical theater to unite communities, give voice to the voiceless, allow us to feel empathy for others and to share our stories with the world. We are grateful for our wonderful community of students, teachers, parents, schools and community partners who support our education programs and inspire us each day. From the Education Department of The 5th Avenue Theatre, we wish you a joyous holiday!

Orlando Morales, Director of Rising Star Project and Internships

I am thankful for musical theater’s power to truly bring people together.  Yes, currently there is some rhetoric and a few expectations around the notion of uniting people. And as we look to models of how to actually do this, I am thankful that I have experienced profound connection with others (often very different from myself in every possible way) through the inimitable act of going to see a musical.

Lauren Ruhl, Adventure Musical Theater Coordinator

One of my favorite memories from Adventure Musical Theater this year happened in a little town way out on the coast. We had done the show nearly a hundred times at that point and were well established in our routine. The day had gone as usual, we had finished our performance at the school and were packing up to leave – definitely running on autopilot at the end of a long week – when a lady approached us and introduced herself as the librarian. “I had no idea what this show was going to be about, and I wasn’t even planning to come but I poked my head in as I was passing by and realized that this story was about my great-great-grandmother!” she announced. We immediately stopped everything and excitedly gathered around to hear her story. It turns out that her ancestor had been one of the original Mercer Girls that our show was about. She even said that her family used to tell a story about her great-great-grandmother that had never made sense, but now that she saw it within the context of our show she finally realized what they were talking about. It was a wonderful surprise in a time and place that we would never have expected to experience that!

Connie Corrick, School Programs Manager

This year I am particularly thankful for teachers. I am grateful that my work at The 5th gives me the opportunity to interact with the gifted high school educators who generously share their knowledge and skills with young people who have a passion for theater.

Anya Rudnick, Director of Education and Outreach

I am grateful for the opportunities I have had to connect with our theater patrons, to learn about what excites them and share in the joy that musical theater brings. I am also grateful for the chance to bring stories to life for thousands of young people through our Adventure Musical Theater Touring Company. Truly, my favorite moments have been sitting in a school auditorium with 400 elementary school students who are experiencing live theater, some for the very first time. Their curiosity, their excitement and the connections they make to their own lives is noting short of inspiring.

Kwapi Vengesayi, Community Engagement Specialist

I am thankful for the many opportunities I’ve had to work with different organizations within our diverse community. To see the amazing work they do, finding points of mutual interest and then finding new and unique ways to partner with them has been an amazing experience. It’s been an enriching, engaging and educational experience for all.

 Albert Evans, Artistic and Education Associate

I get to work with The 5th Avenue’s fiercely dedicated education department and with our brilliant music team. Everything I was privileged to do this year, from Show Talks to musical arrangements for Paint Your Wagon, was challenging and satisfying, and for that I am truly and deeply grateful.

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