The Inspiring Broadway Beacon Awards by Robin Gorman Newman

On Monday, June 25 at their annual Broadway Beacon Awards Gala at The JW Marriot Essex House (160 Central Park South), leading NYC arts education nonprofit Inside Broadway (Executive Director, Michael Presser) honored Tony Award Nominee Ethan Slater (currently starring in the title role of the Tony-Nominated SpongeBob Square Pants the Musical). The evening also honored Tony Award-winning Broadway producer Orin Wolf (The Band’s Visit; President, NETworks Theatrical Presentations), Kenneth G. Alberstadt (Partner, Akerman LLP) and Alexandra Kambouris Alberstadt (Partner, Perkins Coie LLP).

Since 1982, Inside Broadway has impacted the lives of nearly one million New York City public school students with its one-of-a-kind theatre arts and education programs that enrich, educate, and foster new generations of theatergoer.  The Broadway Beacon Awards are presented to individuals in the theatre community who are advocates for increasing audiences for live theatre and understanding the

(Cast of Beautiful)

importance of Arts & Education in the lives of New York City’s young people.

The elegant and inspiring evening, hosted by FOX5 reporter Baruch Shemtov, began with an impressive Cocktail Hour, and silent auction, followed by the Awards Presentation which included special performances from Beautiful – The Carole King Musical as well as students from P.S. 97 in Brooklyn who participate with Inside Broadway‘s school programs. The talented students were so excited to take to the stage that their delight was palpable.  And, the performances by the Beautiful cast made me want to see the musical yet again.

This was my first year attending, and I left with a warm feeling.  It is so vital that young people be exposed to the arts, and that their passions be embraced and made viable and their talents nurtured.  Theatre has the power to change lives, and they represent the future of that community.  It was wonderful to be present in a room full of both ardent theatre lovers and supporters of the arts in schools.

(Ethan Slater)

(Student Performance)


Inside Broadway, established by Michael Presser in 1982 in cooperation with The Shubert Organization, today reaches over 70,000 New York City students in over 100 public schools each year. Their programs include an annual Equity musical production that tours to schools as well as a wide range of educational programs that allow participants to interact with professionals in the field and experience theatre hands-on in the classroom.

Programs of Inside Broadway are funded by the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, New York City Council, New York City Department of Education, and numerous foundations and individuals. The first Broadway Beacon Award was given to Carol Channing in 1995.

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Note: I attended as press, but my opinions are my own.