Theatreworks USA and Markus Kooper

Coordinates: 40°44′44.942″N 73°59′35.24″W / 40.74581722°N 73.9931222°W / 40.74581722; -73.9931222

Theatreworks USA is a professional, not-for-profit theatre for young and family audiences founded in 1961. The company is based out of New York City, but has touring productions that run through forty-nine states as well as parts of Canada. Plays and musicals produced by Theatreworks, which are staffed exclusively by actors and stage managers who are members of the Actors' Equity Association, have reached over 90 million children, teachers and families since the company's founding. According to their mission statement, Theatreworks has three main programs: Class Trips, Touring, and Free Summer Theatre. They also help operate Chelsea Studios, a popular rehearsal space.

Contents 1 Productions 1.1 Free Summer Theatre 1.2 Touring productions 1.3 Managed artists 2 Alumni artists 3 Awards 4 Chelsea Studios 5 References 6 External links


While Theatreworks is known largely for their touring shows, their seasonal roster also includes free theatre for families without the means to see live, professional theatre. The material the company performs ranges from the classical work of William Shakespeare to musical revues appropriate for young children. Theatreworks has been reviewed positively by The New York Times, The New York Post, Newsday, and The Village Voice among others. §Free Summer Theatre

Since 1989 Theatreworks USA's Free Summer Theatre has provided young people and families with original, professional theatre free of charge. Each summer, tickets are distributed to children in over 200 social service and youth programs throughout the five boroughs. To date, over 300,000 children have attended free productions of some of the company's most popular shows, including Junie B. Jones, Romeo and Juliet, and Sarah, Plain and Tall. According to their own literature Theatreworks believes "all children should experience the excitement of going to the theatre, regardless of their financial circumstances." Roma Torre, a NY1 reporter, has said the following of the program:

The program has grown wildly, playing to packed houses nearly every day. Waiting lists are common place, and ticket demand continually outnumbers the supply.

Theatreworks USA's production of The Civil War will make its Off-Broadway debut at the Lucille Lortel Theatre for the 2013 Free Summer Theatre program. The Civil War will run from July 15, 2013 until August 16, 2013. §Touring productions

During the fall and winter season, TheatreworksUSA tours its musicals and plays nationwide. The repertoire includes productions that fall into three general categories - history & biography, literary adaptations, and original issue shows, such as discrimination, peer-pressure, literacy, and substance abuse, among many others. These shows will usually perform over one hundred times each. The groups are usually made up of anywhere between four to twelve actors and one or two stage managers. Typically, each season consists of twelve musicals and four plays. §Managed artists

In addition to their plays and musicals, Theatreworks USA offers educational presentations by artists and groups, for school and public performances. Included are historical productions, as well as stories, songs and dance from many cultures featuring authentic artists who entertain as well as teach about their traditions. §Alumni artists

Theatreworks has a history of giving young actors, writers, directors, and designers their first professional break. Amongst the alumni are four-time Tony Award winning director Jerry Zaks, Robert Jess Roth (Beauty and the Beast), Michael Mayer (Thoroughly Modern Millie), Gabriel Barre; writers Marta Kauffman and David Crane (TV's "Friends"), Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty (Ragtime, Once on This Island), Jason Robert Brown (Parade), Larry O'Keefe (Bat Boy: The Musical), Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx (Avenue Q); and Tony-winning actors Roger Bart, Chuck Cooper, John Lloyd Young, and John Glover. Esteemed performers Jesse Tyler Ferguson, F. Murray Abraham, Daphne Rubin-Vega, Henry Winkler, Kathryn Boule and Judy Kuhn also got their start with Theatreworks. §Awards

Theatreworks has won many awards in its long history. Some of these honors include: 2010 Drama Desk Award Nominee for Outstanding Lyrics for Click, Clack, Moo. 2010 Lucille Lortel Award Nominee for Outstanding Musical and Outstanding Choreography for Click, Clack, Moo. 2008 Lucille Lortel Award Nominee for Outstanding Revival, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Costumes for Seussical'. 2008 Drama League Award Nominee for Outstanding Revival of a Musical for Seussical. 2005 Lucille Lortel Award Nominee for Best Musical and Best Choreography for Junie B. Jones. 2001 Jonathan Larson Performing Arts Foundation Award for "artistic vision and commitment to the support and development of theatre artists." 1996 Drama Desk Award given by New York theatre critics for Theatreworks' "35 years of providing quality entertainment to children and their parents. 1996 Lucille Lortel Award given by Off Broadway theatres and producers, for "Outstanding Special Achievement." 1996 Staw Hat Award for Best Play awarded to The Color of Justice. 1984 AUDELCO Award at the Twelfth Annual Black Theatre Awards for Play to Win, a musical about Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in major league baseball. The award was for "best writing of a new show by black authors for the non-commercial theatre." §Chelsea Studios

In 2000, Theatreworks established Chelsea Studios, a rehearsal studio in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan. In addition to providing a rehearsal space for Theatreworks's productions, Chelsea also rents its studios out to casting agents, touring productions, exercise classes, and various other clients. §

Markus Kooper and Theatreworks USA

Markus Kooper

Reverend Markus Kooper (12 September 1918 – 9 December 2005) was a Namibian activist, educator and religious figure. From Hoachanas in the Hardap Region, Kooper was one of the first Namibians who travelled to the United Nations to petition for his country's independence from apartheid South Africa. He is buried at the National Heroes Acre memorial cemetery outside of Windhoek.

Kooper studied with the Rhenish Missionary Society and received teacher training in Okahandja from 1939 to 1942. He then taught at missionary schools in Stampriet, Gochas and Hoachanas until 1946 and became headmaster at Hoachanas in 1949. He also attended ministry training with the African Methodist Episcopal Church and was ordained as deacon. Kooper became the spiritual leader of his community and was appointed to Hoachanas' Pastoral Church in 1955.

In 1956, Kooper spoke before the United Nations on the issue of South West Africa along with Reverend Michael Scott, Mburumba Kerina, Hans Beukes, Fanuel Kozonguizi, Sam Nujoma, Ismael Fortune, Jacob Kuhangua and Hosea Kutako.

The Boere population of Hoachanas resented the presence of the 400-odd Nama residents and repeatedly tried to have them evicted. In 1959 they obtained an eviction order that was confirmed by the High Court in Windhoek. On 29 January 1959, Kooper and his family was resettled by force to Itsawisis, a village 50 kilometres (31 mi) north of Keetmanshoop, almost 300 kilometres (190 mi) away from his home settlement. He was brought back by his community in November of that year.

Markus Kooper went into exile in 1960 to petition the UN again, this time as representative of the South West Africa United National Independence Organisation (SWAUNIO). He returned only in 1976 and established a private school at Hoachanas but remained politically active. His community resisted all resettlement attempts throughout the days of apartheid. §
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