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JewishJournal.com

November 29, 2012

Saving the Arts – Broadway Style

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/saving_the_arts_broadway_style/

Photo

Carole Cook

When I was young I took piano lessons.  I hated them.  I begged my mother to let me stop and she said I would regret it if I quit.  I told her if I was not allowed to stop I was going to lock myself in my room and never come out.  I quit piano.  My mother was right, I regret quitting to this day.

When I was young I took ballet lessons.  I hated them. I begged my mother to let me stop and she said I would regret it if I quit.  I told her if I was not allowed to stop I was going to scratch off all my freckles with sandpaper. I quit ballet. My mother was right, I regret quitting to this day.

I love the piano.  I would give anything to be able to sit down at the piano and play.  I love ballet.  I sit and watch the poetry of movement and am transported into the beauty.  I never understood the importance of the arts as a child, but as a mother I am passionate about their importance.

The arts are a relevant part of the life I lead with my son.  He is an actor, director, comedian, and writer.  He wants to pursue a career in the arts and so I support him.  I was hoping medical school was an option, but will happily watch him playing a doctor on the big screen instead.

I am blessed that my son goes to a school with arts.  It is very sad to me that so many art programs are being cut from schoos due to budget cuts. Arts matter and should be provided to all children, in all schools.  Arts make kids happy and help them to become well-rounded adults.

I complain about the budget cuts at my son’s school and I try to make a difference by volunteering and donating money.  This week however, a child schooled me in how to really do it.  A remarkable girl by the name of Jennifer took matters into her own hands and kicked ass.

Jennifer put on a show this week to raise money for arts in her school.  This young girl and her mother, my friend Elizabeth, produced a show called “Pure Broadway – A Cabaret for a Cause” and brought in $30,000 to Jenny’s school to use toward putting on a musical theater production.

It was a wonderful evening and I enjoyed every second of it.  Hosted by Broadway legend Carole Cook, it was a mixture of professional performers and theater students.  If you didn’t know who the students were, you’d be hard pressed to know the difference as everyone was that good.

Carole Cook was amazing.  She is a real old-fashioned broad and she had us all rolling with her shtick.  A woman named Kathy Deitch sand a song from Wicked that gave me goose bumps, and Timothy Quinlan sang a song from the Full Monty that made me swoon.  The talent was insane.

Jenny sang a song that blew me way.  She is so talented and beautiful.  Her friend Allison channeled Judy Garland in her number and I was amazed by these kids.  Not only by their talent, but their heart and soul.  If this is the future of the arts we have a very bright future indeed.

I am in awe of this young girl, and am so proud of her amazing mother for what they did.  Instead of complaining about the cut of arts, they jumped in with both feet and made a real difference.  They entertained us all and showed that change is possible if you are willing to work for it.

If you have children, are a patron of the arts, and understand how vital these programs are to our children, I hope you will be inspired to help in your own way, for schools that are important to you.  I am proud to know Elizabeth and Jenny, and was honored to see all their show.

School is hard. Not just academically, but emotionally. For me the arts provided a fun and safe outlet for me to be me.  For my son, the arts will shape his future.  When it comes to arts being cut from the education of our kids, we need to take a stand, and keep the faith.

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