Thursday, December 4, 2008
As we move into the final weeks of 2008, I think it is a good time to review the wonderful year we had at RBKids, some of which you've read about on this blog! Our artistic accomplishments were many, from the PS Broadway in-school performances, and original ACTE II summer intensive final show, to our nationally televised TV appearances on Rachael Ray, Rosie Live, and Live from Rockefeller Center on NBC just last night. The ACTE II students also performed at benefits around the city- Gilda’s club, Children Affected by Aids Foundation, and at Societe Generale’s upcoming Christmas party at the Rainbow Room. We prepared ten 8th grade students for admittance into Performing Arts High schools, the results of which we will find out in the spring.
Our greatest and most pressing challenge for the upcoming year is fiscal. The economic crisis has affected us all; giving has been reduced across the board for almost all charitable organizations, and unfortunately, we've had to make cuts to the budget across all areas by cutting schools, services, and part-time staff. However, we are left with our greatest asset: the excellent teachers and their commitment to the students of RBKids.
In order to continue the important work we do, we will need your help in 2009, and I encourage you to make a donation, no matter how small, today, by visiting www.rbkids.org.
Thank you, as always, for keeping up with the family here at RBKids! We look forward to the year ahead.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Are you unable to attend Rosie's Gala, but still want to help out? Now you can on CharityBuzz.com, where an online auction supporting the gala is currently is progress.
So if you're looking for a unique holiday gift or just want to treat yourself to something special, check out the one-of-a-kind items that the auction has to offer. You can't go wrong when you bid on items like tickets to a taping of Dancing with the Stars, a Caribbean vacation, signed Rosie merchandise, or any other of the exciting auction items! All proceeds will benefit Rosie's Gala: Building Dreams for Kids. Click here to make a bid!
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Building Dreams for Kids November 24, 2008
Marriott Marquis, Times Square
For $150 contribution, you can be a part of Rosie's Gala and see a spectacular tribute to Chita Rivera, performed by Broadway's finest, including Bebe Neuwirth, Christine Ebersole, the new Broadway cast of West Side Story and Rosie's Broadway Kids!
Ticket buyers will be seated at 9 PM. Tickets do not include dinner or auction. Proceeds benefit Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation and Rosie’s Broadway Kids.
For more information and tickets, call 914-579-1000.
We know it's not easy for an 8 year old to give up gifts on her birthday, and we are so thankful for the contribution of over $350! That's enough to outfit about 4 kids in our program with dancewear.
Thank you very much Kaitlin - we appreciate that you used your gifts to give our kids one!
Friday, October 31, 2008
One of our last groups of students from the first semester of our fifth-grade in-school program, PS Broadway, went to see Mary Poppins on Broadway yesterday.
Once a semester, we provide tickets to every fifth grader in each school we teach, in addition to their teachers, chaperones, and administrators. Inevitably, given inaccurate counting and absenteeism, there are sometimes extra tickets. In that case, we encourage schools to invite their own "VIP's" to ensure that no ticket goes un-seated! Yesterday, I received this lovely email from one of our schools' administrators:
"Toni, Here's a sweet story. A little girl came in yesterday morning to sign up for 4th grade. She was referred to us from the domestic violence shelter across the street. One of our 5th grade teachers had an extra ticket so the mom signed the permission slip, and she went on the trip. Her mom felt like she really got the star treatment. Can you imagine starting a new school and the first day going to see Mary Poppins? What a gift!"
Like Rosie says, every kid deserves a chance to sit "in the velvet"...
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
a post from Jeff
Another season of NYC Public High School Arts audition preparation is upon us!
A group of 9 eager RBKid's eighth graders have been busy since September
learning Monologues and Songs...some a cappella.
In preparation for their big auditions, this November.
For some of them it is their very first audition.
A daunting experience, to say the least.
They work on making it look natural and easy.
"Voices from High School"
"I Have Confidence"
"Kickin' The Clouds Away"
"Brighton Beach Memoirs"
They learn to breathe...
Enter the room
Say their names clearly
Take their time
Find their pitch
Trust their impulses, and
Rely on their hours of preparation and practice.
Every year hundreds of New York City public school students audition,
and only a select few make it into a Performing Arts HS.
RBKids have a 100% placement percentage.
We are proud of this accomplishment.
So are the kids.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
CD's are on sale now! You can hear the RBKids by going to broadwaycares.org and purchasing a CD today!
Thursday, October 2, 2008
The night before the first day of school, the perfect “first day” outfit laid out neatly, nervous excitement making sleep uneasy, anxiousness, hoping to be liked.
For students and teachers alike September is the New Year. We usher it in with fanfare and joy. Lots of preparation, pencils to sharpen, practice runs to the schools (without a chaperone!) so we don’t get lost, and lots of supplies. It is a contradiction really; a continuum and a fresh start all at once.
PS Broadway is back in session with 800 new students in ten New York City public schools. Our fifth grade students have eagerly watched for years as their older brothers and sisters, cousins, neighbors, and friends have been treated to the gifts of RBKids. It is finally their turn!
At ACTE II we are preparing our nine 8th grade students for their High School auditions. It is at the top of our list of priorities to help these students be accepted get into the best schools. These years are life altering, and it is worth our concentrated efforts to place these students in safe and healthy environments, which challenge and inspire them. Our performance schedule is always busy in the fall, with our younger students performing at the Halloween extravaganza of “Children Affected by Aids Foundation”, while the older students are preparing for the November benefit. We just finished recording “Santa Do the Mambo” for the “Carols for the Cure” CD to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids.
Our bags are packed and we’re ready to go! We should be in the building any day now. I look forward to the time where we will be a family under one roof!
With Kind Regards,
Thursday, September 11, 2008
Monday, September 8, 2008
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Thursday, August 7, 2008
Teams Excel and Broadway perform "Nothing Will Ever Be The Same," an original musical based on their own stories
Monday, August 4, 2008
I walked around today after the RBK performance and found myself so moved by the show that I knew I had to sit down and write you. It is-I unabashedly admit-a fan letter.
I always enjoy any RBK performance. I so admire the incredibly hands on work you do with the kids, the many gifts you give them, the way you guide them to become better performers, better students, better people. Today's performance, I think, was such a glorious coming together of the talent they have as well as the people these kids are. A new high for RBK, it was-simply put-wonderful. Many words come to mind....simple, honest, sung, danced and acted beautifully. It was wonderful to see the newer kids (so talented!) and I (of course) LOVE that the Nothing Will Ever Be The Same originated from a writing workshop. Bravo! And so brave!
So I'm raising a glass to you and the RBK staff today. Cheers to you for the work you do. Cheers to both the work that performs onstage and the personal work that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. I admire your entire staff.
And cheers also to the kids. Their bravery as they strive to find themselves serves as a source of inspiration to everyone who has the good fortune to see them. Their truth telling, and their ability to remind us all how difficult it is to be that age, is a gift. This was not just a cute show with kids in it-it was a wonderful and moving piece of theater that I would have paid top dollar to see. Please pass along my praise and bravos.
Founding member of The Rosie's Broadway Kid's Fan Club. (Let's face it-I'm a groupie. And proud of it.)
Sunday, August 3, 2008
Friday, August 1, 2008
The next step for us is the move into our new building, the Maravel Arts Center, which will house music and dance studios, administrative offices, and spaces for the kids to use to study and relax. To find out more about the building and how you can help us build Maravel Arts Center, click here.
Below is a special post from Rosie about her former teacher, Pat Maravel, for whom our new building is named.
ms maravel – a twenty something beautiful
almost hippie math teacher
who was engaged to mr pic -
the band teacher I loved instantly -
she - ms maravel -
caught me in the hall
without a pass
the third day of seventh grade
“open your locker – take out all the books”
I did – speechless
with arms full she slammed the locker door closed
“next time – detention, now go”
and I did
our first meeting
without even a hello
pat maravel died last week
nearly three decades after our rocky start.
we buried her today.
I sat today in the front row,
where she placed me from the start
inside her family.
a part of, my very own
I was born twice –
once in 1962,
to a woman who left so quickly,
I never got to know her.
I carry her name,
and from the few photos I have,
her face as well
i was born again
in 1975 to pat maravel,
a woman who refused to let go
she forced life back into my soul –
she stood solid and strong –
she showed up –
i never got to ask her why she did it.
rescued this lost puppy of a girl,
motherless and starving
nothing special in any way
What did she see in me?
i tested her for years,
not able to trust,
still so broken.
bit I couldn’t shake her
no matter how I tried
and i did
i was her most difficult child,
she always says –
it hurts to breathe
will I ever stop refrencing my mother
i feel like Liza - with a z
here we go again
this old chestnut
when my mom was sick,
I thought if Barbras mom was sick,
she would go on Johnny Carson
and ask people to send a dollar and then would
and she would buy medicine
and her mom would liv
i believed that true
I have the money now,
and my second mom was not saved
there is no magic medicine
“do you think I am dying?”
she asked me in december
“yes” I anwsered
“me too” she said
then after a moment,
“ro, this is going to be very hard for you”
i laughed as i cried, telling her
“i could not love you more – I will look after the two you pushed out.”
she put on her glasses to get one last look
held me face in her hands
and said “now go”
god has a sense of humor
she gave me two mothers
both die of breast cancer
both times I am devastated beyond words
pat maravel taught me about mothering freedom and family.
about tolerance, activism and compassion
she showed me how to live, how to love, how to give back
she had strong opinions with an open mind
and a will to live that defied doctors rules
I watched myself on 20/20
talking about parenting
i realized just today
I sounded like pat
the way I speak to my children
is the way she spoke to me
when she was dying –
almost too ill to talk
i brought an 8x10 of the kids
for her to see
she smiled with the parts of her face
that still worked
i put it on top of the dresser
in plain view – near the window
after an hour of only one word replys
i got up to go
she stared at me hard
wanting to say something
i could tell
she nodded toward the picture
“the photo pat?”
yes she nodded
i took it down and brought it to her
all emotional and dramatic
“did you want to see the kids pat?”
she rolled her eyes at me and said
no - window
my picture was blocking her view
of the birds and trees
i got it – cracked up
then retold it to Joy, Dolores and Jessie
in front of her
she laughed every time
her closing joke
i miss her a lot
when I feel so much like myself
Barbara Walters asked me if my mom
would be proud of me
she was –
her name was pat maravel
she told me so
Thursday, July 31, 2008
A huge thanks to Broadway.com for their support of Rosie's Broadway Kids and for the generous gift they gave to our deserving students!
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Thanks for the comments, all - we love to hear them - and check back soon to hear about how it went!!
Kicking off at about 9:30 in the morning, the walk was littered with snippets of enthusiastically sung songs (a passerby commissioned a song sung in unison by all of the kids at once, which prompted an improvised “This Joint Is Jumpin’” right about at the Onassis Reservoir), a lot of “Good morning sir! This is the Rosie’s Broadway Kids Walkathon!” and the occasional “How much longer???” Due to the promise of a Spirit Award, most kids were on their best behavior, encouraging positive thinking and keeping the pace. Lauren, one of the youngest in Team Bravo, coined our slogan for the walk, “Let’s DO this,” which was continually repeated throughout the 2 hours on the trail. Very motivational.
We made it through the “scattered showers” this morning with positive spirits, and ended the trip at around 12 noon with no injuries or lost children. Phew.
And here's some breaking news... the kids have turned in their sponsor forms and we have tallied the donations.... and they raised over $5500! What a huge accomplishment and great way for the kids to give back to this program they love.
Here are some pictures from the walk...
Thursday, July 24, 2008
I realized today that I've come to expect a lot from these kids. None of the musicians on staff really thought twice about throwing them arrangements as vocally dense as any Broadway score. We just knew they would make it happen.
And have they ever.
I picked my jaw up off the floor today as I listened to twenty kids -- all under the age of 16 -- belt out six and seven part harmony flawlessly.
Did I mention it's only been three weeks? It's not always so perfect or easy for them but today was truly magical.
Today, I saw twenty kids become a Broadway chorus.
Monday, July 21, 2008
Last Friday, company members of the new Broadway show "Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy" came to perform and teach the kids a few tricks...
- Rushing through crowds of business people in Midtown trying to get to work each morning, Starbucks Coffee in tow...$4.75
- Subway ride to Times Square in the warm summer air...$2.00
- Smiling while walking up the steps to of the studio to meet the amazingly talented kids waiting to dance...Priceless
I cannot believe we're done with the third week already...
We got through our first non-stop run through of the show on Friday, it
took about an hour. There was nothing but proud and accomplished
feeling from the whole cast. Everyone cheered and exchanged high fives
and the final chord of "Sure Looks Good To Me." To be able to see the
work that they have put in, all come together on the stage was simply
The show is going to be fantastic and they deserve it!!
I would be able to take up this whole blog page with wonderful things
to say...so until next time.
Friday, July 18, 2008
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Now the hard part begins.
We've got a map...
Now it's time to explore.
Make specific choices.
Some of them are already making strong choices.
Rosie always talks about stepping up
As an understudy, and making the most of an opportunity
Well, Mary is doing just that.
Singing out, taking risks
Setting a good example for the other understudys.
Doug is working on his vocal clarity, and improving.
He discovered that if he relaxes on stage
His diction and speech follows suit.
2 days ago he said he didn't think he could learn a speech
2 days later he knows it!
Members if the Class (Ensemble) will be writing monologues.
Each of them has the chance to create a character
A difficult, but important task.
For some of them, it is their first ever book musical.
For all of them, it is a great opportunity to have an unforgettable summer!
Blog ya later...
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Ballet, tap, jazz, drama and voice
Each day they enter the studios and more of their personalities are revealed
One kid asks each day when he'll be meeting Rosie
Another wonders what time she'll get to eat her lunch
Still another asks if we'll get to rehearse "Birdhouse in Your Soul"
Yes, I respond
He does a victory dance
Juggling Harry came in to teach them to juggle, some managed to juggle 3 tennis balls in less than 45 minutes!
These kids are becoming performers and most don't even realize it
They just know that they're having fun
We are too.
Watch the kids as they learn their number for the final summer performance...