Friday, August 8, 2014

12.14 Foundation Continues Outreach to Newtown Community with Productions of Midsummer, 101 Dalmations

Marla Mindelle, Clark Thorell and Newtown 'Moon' cast Photo: Van Dean
The 12.14 Foundation has produced two shows for its summer from the Newtown-area as a continuation of its mission to promote personal development through high-level performing arts programs. 

The first show A Rockin' Midsummer Night's Dream, a world premiere adaptation of one of  Shakespeare's favorite plays will be performed on tonight at 7,   Aug.  9 at 2 and  7 pm and Aug.10 at 5pm.

The second show will be the regional premiere of The 101 Dalmatians Musical with remaining performance Aug. 10 at noon. Both productions will take place at Newtown High School, 12 Berkshire Road. Tickets and tickets are $25-$30.


The world premiere of A ROCKIN' Midsummer Night's Dream is a new musical version adapted by Michael Unger and Eric Svejcar with a score by Svejcar. Joining the Newtown children in this production are Broadway stars Marla Mindelle (Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Sister Act), Clark Thorell (Hairspray, Annie revival) and Saum Eskandani (Disaster!, A Year With Frog and Toad).

The Foundation also plans to produce and release a CD of the production with Broadway Records. Unger directs, Jeffrey Saver is music director with Newtown's own Brett Boles as his associate, Jennifer Paulson choreographs. Orchestrations are by Kim Scharnberg. Van Dean is co-producer and Michael Baroody, MD, founder of the 12.14 Foundation, is the executive producer.

Approximately 20 Newtown students apprentice backstage to learn from the team of Broadway professionals participating in the productions. The orchestra also includes Newtown-area parents and students.

The regional premiere of The 101 Dalmatians Musical is the famed story by Dodie Smith, with a book by BT McNicholl a score by Dennis DeYoung (the lead singer/songwriter from the rock group Styx). It has been adapted specifically for Newtown by Unger and DeYoung. The
production stars Kristine Zbornik (A Catered Affair on Broadway, Mamma Mia in Las Vegas) as Cruella and more than 100 Newtown children (ages 4 to 13) as the Dalmatians. This production will is designed by Newtown High School students, under the supervision of Midsummer’s team of professional designers.

“The young performers are undergoing a rigorous rehearsal process six days a week for six weeks in preparation for the shows. They are deciphering Shakespeare while simultaneously contributing to the process of developing an original musical. Our Dalmatians will amaze you with their incredible talent honed by our dedicated Broadway professionals.” Michael Baroody said.

Additional 12.14 foundation events have included:

· EMOTIONS: Newtown Dance Concert with local dancers and choreographers  July 30  at Newtown High School

· Connecticut's Got Talent! A talent contest open to all - young/old, parent/child, student/teacher with Krysta Rodriguez (“Smash”, First Date) as one of the judges Aug. 5 at Newtown High School


The 12.14 Foundation is a non-for-profit organization formed following the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School to encourage personal development through high-level performing arts programs. The Foundation provides experiences that produce a long-lasting, positive affect on the way children see themselves and the world around them.

The Director of The Leadership Development Program at the Yale School of Management has assembled a volunteer team of experts specialized in leadership, applied psychology, and executive coaching. Their team has constructed an innovative character development strategy that integrates synergistically with arts initiatives to encourage each child to reach their personal potential.

Children learn skills and values such as integrity, collaboration, commitment, communication, problem-solving, positive-thinking and confidence. They are guided through self-realization, feedback exercises, and coaching sessions that help each child maximize their individual strengths and overcome weaknesses.

The 12.14 Foundation is also working towards building a performing arts center in Newtown as a living remembrance of those lost on Dec.14, 2012.

For more information about the 12.14 Foundation, visit www.1214foundation.org For more information on the summer season of shows, visit
http://www.1214foundation.org/summer2014.

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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