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NEW YORK CITY – A Tallahassee student had the opportunity to shine at the Arts for Autism, the annual Broadway Welfare held at the Gershwin Theater on June 20th. The event returned triumphantly with more than $ 35,000 raised to expand access to art for those affected by autism.

At the concert, which lasted only one night, a constellation of the biggest names on Broadway performed with the stars of tomorrow – student groups from all over the country.

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Adam Jacobs (Aladdin, The Lion King, Les Misérables) hosted the event, which featured legendary Oscar, Grammy, Tony award-winning composer Stephen Schwartz on keys to music numbers from The Baker’s Wife and Wicked. Talia Suskauer, now Elphaba in Wicked, sang “For Good” with Atypical star Naomi Rubin – an artist from the autism spectrum.

Elaine Hall, founder of The Miracle Project – a performing arts and social skills program profiled in HBO’s two-time Emmy-winning film Autism: The Musical – served as the keynote speaker and encouraged students in the audience to oppose the abuse.

Duet to remember

Zachary Noah Piser, star of Dear Evan Hansen, closed the concert with 15-year-old Emily Weller of the Young Actors Theater in Tallahassee in the duet “If The World Only Knew,” written by P94M Spectrum School students, with vocal support from the student group and Arts for Autism. On the same subject : World Refugee Day 2022 – US State Department.

Over 200 children performed in the finals with Broadway star Pisera, said Sarah Doolin Roy, CEO of Young Actors Theater. “It was an amazing experience for Young Actors students, who had to rehearse at The Pearl Studios, see Wicked (the day before they performed on the same stage), tour the memorial on September 11 – 20 years after the tragic event and shine on Broadway in the year it returns to life during a pandemic.

Namely, Emily Weller from YAT, who belongs to the autism spectrum, was chosen to perform the finals with the Broadway star.

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Three questions with Emily Weller

Q. Why should the performing arts industry celebrate autism? On the same subject : Bay Regional Health Officials Demand Monkey Alert Awareness During Winter Meeting: Press Release.

A. In the performing arts industry, people from all walks of life come together to create something beautiful. We are all different and that is part of what makes this industry so special. Everyone adds so much to the project they are working on.

However, autism can actually be a performer’s superpower. For example, autistic people can pour their heart and soul into a project like no other. We experience complete commitment when we do something we really love. We also delve well into the specifics of character work. That makes us strong and connected performers.

Q. What life skills do you learn at YAT?

A. At YAT, I learn many skills that help me in my daily life. First, YAT teaches me to be confident. When you consistently perform in front of people, the stage starts to feel like home. That is why it is natural for me to speak and express myself in front of large groups of people and I am not nervous.

Second, I have learned to collaborate with my peers at YAT, which helps me make friends and learn how to connect with others, whether at school, in the theater, or in general. YAT is a place where I can be my own, and I have so many relationships that I know will last for years to come.

Q. How do you feel about being chosen to sing with a Broadway artist in NYC?

A. It was amazing to spread awareness about autism and sing with Zachary Noah Piser from Dear Evan Hansen on the beautiful Gershwin stage. My dream is to be able to perform my whole life. Performing on the Broadway stage at my age is truly something I will never be able to forget. And the fact that I have to represent others like me while doing so makes my heart full.

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Raising money for artists 

On the occasion of June 16, Gabrielle McClinton of Paradise Square sang “Breathe Easy. This may interest you : Bozeman’s “Montana on the Rise” summit highlights the state’s high-tech economy.”

Broadway artists who have participated in Arts for Autism are Kevin Smith Kirkwood (Kinky Boots), Gay Marshall (Jacques Brel), Kelvin Moon Loh (Beetlejuice), Brynn Williams (Spongebob), Natalie Charle Ellis (Beetlejuice) and Marty Thomas. winner, Wicked).

Led by an advisory committee of artists and activists, the funds raised at the concert will be distributed in a $ 1,000 to $ 5,000 grant to expand access to art for people with autism. Grants are available continuously, and the application deadline is October 1, 2022. For more information, visit artsforautism.net.

Arts for Autism is a production of Educational Travel Adventures and Believe NYC – two organizations that educate and enrich the lives of young people through performance and travel opportunities. It is produced by Jacque Carnahan and Michael Holzer, and directed by Natalie Malotke and directed by Paul Staroba.

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