A.R.T.’s Diane Paulus and Finding Neverland Featured in White House Broadway Special
On Monday, First Lady Michelle Obama welcomed high school students from performing arts schools and after-school programs across the country into the White House, where they participated in workshops with leading experts from the world of Broadway, including American Repertory Theater’s artistic director Diane Paulus.
Whoopi Goldberg, Gloria Estefan, producer Harvey Weinstein, actress Cicely Tyson, and composer Stephen Schwartz were also in attendance. Paulus led a session on directing, while other workshops focused on acting, singing, hair and makeup, costume design, and musical composition.
Following the workshops, the First Lady addressed the students and their Broadway mentors in her first public appearance since last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris.
“As my husband said on Friday, this was an attack not just on France—our dear friend and ally—but all of humanity and our shared values,” she said. “You all reflect that passion, that creativity—you are all part of those values that the president talked about. That’s what we’re protecting. We’re protecting what you all represent.”
Later in the day, Glee star Matthew Morrison and Broadway legend Kristen Chenoweth hosted performances in the White House’s East Room. Morrison, who currently stars as J.M. Barrie in the Broadway production of Finding Neverland, joined the ensemble in performances of “Believe” and “What You Mean to Me” from the musical.
Before performing, Morrison brought Paulus, who originally revised Finding Neverland for the A.R.T. in Cambridge and directs the Broadway version, to the stage.
“This woman is the woman who inspires me very time we step on stage,” said Morrison.
Other performances included selections from Fun Home, On Your Feet!, An American in Paris, School of Rock, and Something Rotten.
The one-hour Broadway at the White House special will air on TLC on Thanksgiving, November 26, at 8 p.m. Check out a preview below.