Pat Birch Honored April 28 at Rosie's Theater Kids' Evening of Mentorship, Featuring Rosie O'Donnell, Shuler Hensley

By Michael Gioia
28 Apr 2014

Shuler Hensley
Shuler Hensley

Rosie's Theater Kids presents Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship April 28 at the Alvin Ailey Citigroup Theater. This year's event honors legendary director-choreographer and RTKids mentor Pat Birch.

The evening, set to begin at 7 PM, benefits Rosie's Theater Kids and features Emmy Award-winning TV host and actress (and RTKids founder) Rosie O'Donnell — who will receive the Isabelle Stevenson Award at the 2014 Tony Awards for her work with RTKids — alongside the students in a re-imagined, percussive version of "Rhythm of Life."

Additionally, Tony winner Shuler Hensley sings Stephen Sondheim's "Agony" with one of RTKids' baritones; Footloose choreographer Lynne Taylor-Corbett creates a piece for RTKids youngest level boys and the men from ABT Studio Company to "Holding Out for a Hero"; Mamie Duncan-Gibbs appears with the students in a Fosse-style production number mentored by Chet Walker; and acclaimed tap dancer Deborah Mitchell (Black and Blue) performs a duet with an RTKids hoofer.

American choreographer and director Birch began her career as a dancer in Broadway musicals, including Brigadoon, Goldilocks and West Side Story, and as a soloist with Martha Graham and Agnes de Mille. She earned Tony Award nominations for her choreography of the original Broadway productions of Grease, Over Here!, Pacific Overtures, Music Is and Parade. Birch has directed and choreographed music videos for Cyndi Lauper, the Rolling Stones and Carly Simon and also choreographed numbers on "Saturday Night Live" for six years.



Passing It On: An Evening of Mentorship, according to press notes, "not only provides an exciting opportunity for the students to collaborate with some of Broadway's great talents, but also allows them to be part of a true ensemble."

Rosie's Theater Kids has been dedicated to enriching the lives of children through the arts since 2003. It serves students who otherwise would not have the opportunity to experience theatre, changing the trajectory of their lives by providing comprehensive classes in music, dance, and drama; thoughtful mentoring; and structured academic guidance. Eighty percent of students who participate in Rosie's Theater Kids are from low-income families. Rosie's Theater Kids annually serves more than 5,000 teachers, students, and their family members at 20 schools. They are currently in schools in Harlem, Midtown West, Chelsea, Lower East Side, East Village, Inwood and Chinatown.

For more information, visit RosiesTheaterKids.org.