Broadway passion burns bright


Imagine "American Idol" on steroids -- more finalists (60), more talent, more pure passion.

That's "Broadway or Bust," a fascinating, three-week documentary series, Sundays on PBS. The first hour has already aired, but you can watch it on the PBS Web site; here's the story I sent to papers:

By MIKE HUGHES

For a while there, a classic American
art form seemed to be fading.

Radio stations didn't play Broadway's
songs; TV didn't celebrate its performers “Broadway stars are no
longer quite as prominent as film, television (and) reality-show
stars,” said Mason Alexander, 17.

But now there seems to be a
counter-force, a wave of fresh talent. That's clear in “Broadway or
Bust,” a PBS documentary series following 60 teens in a week of New
York performance and competition.

“Everybody can sing, everybody can
dance, everybody can act,” Brittany Dankwa, 17, said of the others.
“(You think,) 'Man, look at all this talent! Where do I fit in?'”

Where does this surge come from? Some
people credit TV and movies, but that may be too easy. “A lot of us
caught the musical-theater bug before 'Glee' came out,” said
Elizabeth Romero, 18.

“Glee” arrived in 2009, the
“Hairspray” movie in 2007, “High School Musical” in 2006. For
some kids, at least, those had a big impact.

“'Glee' is one of the reasons I ended
up moving to California,” Alexander said.

Like Kurt on “Glee,” he was a
musical buff who felt like an outsider. “I couldn't express my art.
(I wanted to) continue working on my passion (for) musical theater
without fear of bullying.”

Since moving from North Carolina, he's
landed a few cable-TV roles (under his Screen Actors Guild name of
Mason Alexander Park), recorded a jazz album and won a regional
competition to propel him to this intense week. Some of the others
arrived with very different stories.

Sabaa Sharma comes from a family of
doctors and engineers; Dankwa comes from an opposite background.
“I've been homeless,” she said. “I've had times when I didn't
have food to eat.”

That was in 10th and 11th
grade, as she and her mother slept in a car or with friends. But
she's had a goal from the time she did “Once on This Island” at a
high school in East Point, Ga.

“The kids there were so
inspirational,” Dankwa said. “It's like one big family …. I
wanted to feel at home in the theater.”

In the competition, teens' choices
often reflected their lives. Dankwa sang of determination with, “And
I Am Telling You I Am Not Going.” Alexander did “I Am What I Am”;
Romero did “Disneyland.”

“I've always been a shy person and
quiet,” Romero said. None of that comes across immediately; she's
tall (5-foot-8), strong-voiced, articulate. But in suburban Los
Angeles, she had her own version of a retreat. “I went to
Disneyland all the time,” she said. “It was my little escape.”

She took dance classes, did children's
theater, then found a magnet school for performers. Such things may
be a key reason for the talent surge: Baby-boomers keep giving their
kids new arts programs.

Joshua Grosso, a Colombian native, did
close to a dozen plays and musicals at a prep school in Florida. He
finished second at the regionals in Tampa Bay, but advanced when the
winner couldn't go.

In New York, he said, “Our director
(said), 'No matter what happens, you are all winners.'

“And I'm in the back going, 'Well,
technically, funny story ...'”

He was feeling like an underdog, Grosso
said. “These 59 other amazing people open their mouths and (I'm)
like David going up against Goliath.”

Or maybe not. Grosso, who learned
Italian from his father's grandmother, sang a “Light in the Piazza”
song in that language during rehearsals. Students and teachers
applauded; it was, he grants, a week to remember. “How many kids …
get to say we have debuted on Broadway?”

– “Broadway or Bust,” 8 p.m.
Sundays on most PBS stations (check local listings), Sept. 9-23.

– If you missed the opener,the full
episode is at www.pbs.org/broadwayorbust;
the others will be there after they air.

 

jordan retro 4

michael kors outlet

the north face

air max 1

true religion

christian louboutin outlet

fake oakley sunglasses

guess outlet

michael kors

jordan flight

ray ban sunglasses

gucci outlet

ugg outlet online

a&f

michael kors outlet online

moncler jacket

timberlands

ray ban sunglasses

uggs

louis vuitton outlet

fitflops outlet

michael kors outlet sale

red pumps

north face outlet

red bottom heels

cheap jordans

abercrombie & fitch

ugg boots sale

tiffany & co

burberry.com

michael kors outlet sale

louis vuitton outlet

true religion jeans

louis vuitton

oakley outlet

cheap sunglasses wholesale

moncler

coach outlet store online

louis vuitton outlet stores

the north face outlet

hollister clothing store

jordans release dates

burberry.com

timberland uk

canada goose outlet online

ugg boots sale

burberry uk

hollister outlet

jerseys

louis vuitton

ray ban sunglasses cheap

michael kors

canada goose jackets

louis vuitton

the north face

coach diaper bag

red bottoms

jordan 11s

burberry

north face coats

air jordan 5

michael kors outlet online

kors factory outlet

louis vitton

fendi

coach boots

michael kors outlet

mont blanc pens

p90x

coach purses

ugg sale

ghd flat iron

coach factory store

fitflop

cheap uggs

concord 11

louis vuitton outlet online

ralph lauren baby

jordan retro 3

abercrombie fitch

north face outlet

fake uggs

kors handbags outlet

fitflops

oakley sunglasses

coach purses

ralph lauren outlet

cheap ray ban sunglasses

cheap nfl jerseys

canada goose

michael kors outlet

timberland boots

red bottom christian

timberland

ralph lauren outlet

abercrombie outlet

ugg boots for women

air jordan 13

ugg australia

tory burch handbags

north face jackets

burberry outlet

abercrombie

goose jackets

red bottom

polo outlet

christian louboutin sale

coach factory outlet online

nike canada

cheap north face jackets

juicy couture outlet

ugg boots

coach factory outlet

kate spade outlet

abercrombie

cheap toms

timberland.com

the north face

toms shoes

true religion jeans outlet

coach factory

nike jordan

ugg bailey button

cheap jerseys from china

cheap jerseys

authentic louis vuitton handbags

moncler sale

ghd

wholesale nfl jerseys

red bottom shoes

michael kors handbags

ugg boots

p90x workouts

tiffanys

coach boots

jordan retro 8

canada goose outlet online

coach factory outlet

coach factory outlet online

jordan 2

red bottoms

canada goose outlet stores

michael kors bags

christian louboutin shoes

bailey button uggs

red bottom

ugg boots

cheap jerseys

louis vuitton outlet stores

burberry outlet

wholesale jerseys

hermes outlet

oakley sunglasses wholesale

nike plus

michael jordan shoes

coach factory outlet

cheap oakley sunglasses

jordan 13

ray ban sunglasses

gucci handbags

gucci factory outlet

givenchy

tiffany

cheap uggs

louis vuitton

red heels

burberry outlet online

verscace

cheap ray ban sunglasses

canada goose outlet stores

coach boots

abercrombie fitch

coach outlet online

north face jackets

michael kors outlet sale

coach factory

ghd hair strighteners

hollister

cheap nfl jerseys

tory burch outlet

the north face sale

canada goose outlet

celine handbags

nike shox

louis vuitton outlet stores

oakley sunglasses wholesale

ray ban sunglasses wholesale

katespade

kate spade

moncler jackets

ralph lauren outlet

true religion outlet

coach outlet store online

air jordan 11

coach outlet store online

alexander wang

cheap oakley sunglasses

toms outlet

uggs outlet

oakley sunglasses

burberry outlet online

coach coupons

canada goose jackets

uggs canada

michael kors outlet online

kate spade purses

ralph lauren polo shirts

jordan 4s

ugg boots

the northface

red high heels

cheap ray ban sunglasses

christian louboutin

ugg outlet

ugg boots outlet

cheap timberland boots

mont blanc

canada goose outlet

cheap jerseys wholesale

louis vuitton handbags

goose jackets

louis vuitton outlet stores

jordan sneakers

michael kors outlet online sale

louboutin outlet

coach outlet

tory burch

burberry scarf

north face jackets

kors factory outlet

michael kors handbags

goose outlet

polo ralph lauren

baby uggs

polo ralph lauren outlet

louis vuitton outlet store

ugg boots uk

coach shoes

jordans shoes

michael kors sale

nike factory store

north face backpack

burberry uk

ray ban

jordan release dates 2017

coach outlet store online

michael kors outlet online

louis vuitton handbags

moncler outlet

hollister clothing

north face

lululemon

nike janoski

jordan

tiffany jewelry

tory burch outlet online

polo outlet

nfl jerseys

louis vuitton

louis vuitton outlet

canada goose

ralph lauren shoes

red bottom shoes

jordan shoes

jordan release dates 2014

jordan shoes

goose outlet

louis vuitton handbags

louis vuitton handbags

michael jordan shoes

tory burch shoes

hollister outlet store

fitflops clearance

coach purses

ugg boots

marc jacobs handbags

jordan 6

louis vuitton outlet

lauren ralph lauren

www.coach.com

louis vuitton outlet online