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Madeline Michel Named 2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award Winner

Stage Directions • Theatre Buzz • June 10, 2019

The Tony Awards presented Theater Director Madeline Michel from Monticello High School in Charlottesville, VA, the 2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award at the 73rd Annual Tony Awards on Sunday, June 9, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. The Excellence in Theatre Education Award was co-founded in 2014 by the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) to recognize top K-12 drama teachers and to celebrate arts education. Here’s the video of her being presented the award at The Tony Awards ceremony:
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Michel was a standout to the esteemed panel of judges, with stellar recommendations from Albemarle County Public School District, community leaders, parents, and students alike. Her student-written and performed plays have won numerous regional awards, including this year’s grand prize at the Virginia Theatre Conference. Among many accomplishments, it was Michel’s creation of an inclusive drama program, inviting students from all walks of life, to express themselves freely onstage that resonated so strongly.

“This program is not about me, because it has to be about my students,” Michel said. “They are our future. They are the people that are going to change the world and make it better. These are the kids who give me so much hope in some very dark times.”
Madeline Michel, the 2019 Excellence in Theatre Education Award winner

The fundamentals of Michel’s curriculum are student playwriting, productions that engage a diverse cast and crew, and community service. The Monticello High School Drama Department also has raised thousands of dollars annually for local charities and to fund college scholarships for economically challenged students.

Michel’s drama program took on heightened resonance in 2017 when, in the aftermath of the Charlottesville rally, Michel and her students used theatre to address racial inequality, elevating and leading the conversation for a wounded community.

The Excellence in Theatre Education Award recognizes a K-12 theatre educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated exemplary impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession. A panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University, and other leaders from the theatre industry selected Michel from finalists across the nation. Michel received $10,000 for Monticello High School’s theater program. Michel’s students will also receive a visiting Master Class taught by CMU Drama professors. Additionally, two students chosen by Michel will be given scholarships to the university’s acclaimed Drama Pre-College Program in summer 2020.

“Theatre and arts education are fundamental to our educational system. Today, more than ever, we need our local school auditoriums, their wonderfully creative students and courageous theatre educators like Madeline Michel to put powerful new ideas on stage and to share them. We’re honored to present the Excellence in Theatre Education Award to Madeline this year,” said Heather Hitchens, President of the American Theatre Wing and Charlotte St. Martin, President of The Broadway League.

“As we proudly mark the fifth anniversary of the Excellence in Theatre Education Award, the role of arts in education and in society has become more essential with each passing year. This year’s selection pays tribute to all drama teachers, Madeline Michel especially, who are making the world a better place by amplifying students’ voices through theatre,” said Carnegie Mellon University President Farnam Jahanian.

Here are the list of 2019 Honorable Mentions for the Excellence in Theatre Education Award:
Heather Arters

Theatre Director/Educator,
Garnet Valley High School
Glen Mills, PA

Beth Baur

Theatre Teacher
Memorial High School
West New York, NJ

Kell Christie Gary

Theatre Teacher
Houston High School
Germantown, TN

David Connelly

Director of Acting/Musical Theater Program
North East School of the Arts
San Antonio, TX

Sarah Crowell

Artistic Director
Destiny Arts Center
Oakland, CA

Allison Galker

Costume Designer/Teacher- Technical Theatre
Edward R. Murrow High School
Brooklyn, NY

Rick Garcia

Drama Teacher
St. Andrew’s Episcopal School
Austin, TX

Carrie Harrell

Drama Teacher
Hedgepeth Williams Middle School of the Arts
Trenton, NJ

Jennifer Hemme

Theatre Teacher and Director
Green Valley High School
Henderson, NV

Cathy Hickman

Theater/ASB Teacher
Creative Performing Media Arts Middle School
San Diego, CA

Alison Hoffmann

Theatre Teacher/ Director
Wallenpaupack Area High School
Hawley, PA

Sinjin Jones

Arts Director
DSST Green Valley Ranch High School
Denver, CO

Linda Ames Key

Drama Teacher and Work Based Learning Coordinator
Fordham High School for the Arts
Bronx, NY

Nancy Lee

Choir Director/Fine Arts Coordinator 
Washburn High School
Minneapolis, MN

Donzell Lewis

Theater Teaching Artist
P.S. Arts
Los Angeles, CA

Joshua Long

Drama Teacher/Director
Hillcrest High School
Midvale, UT

John Manoogian

Chairman of Fine and PerformingArts/Department Head
Granite City High School
Granite City, IL

Kyle Pleasant

Resident Director/Choreographer
Professional Performing Arts School
New York, NY

Troy Powell

Director of Theatre
Union High School
Tulsa, OK

A. Lorraine Robinson

Senior Director of Programs
Sitar Arts Center
Washington, D.C.

Torrey Russell

Founder and President
Broadway in the H.O.O.D.
Las Vegas, NV

Joseph Sniegocki

Theatre Teacher
Harrison School for the Arts/ Lakeland Senior High
Lakeland, FL

Hisa Takakuwa

Head of Conservatory
South Coast Repertory
Costa Mesa, CA

Christa Whittaker

Teacher/Director of Theatre Department
Fort Walton Beach High School
Fort Walton Beach, FL

Yvonne Wright

Theatre Arts Teacher
New Millenium Bronx Arts Academy
Bronx, NY

Jason Zembuch-Young

Theatre Teacher and Director
South Plantation High School
Plantation, FL

Further information from The Tony Awards:

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