Sixteen Children’s Theatres Honor Frontline Workers with National Tribute Song

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati is proud to participate

TCTC_So Many Heroes

Friday, May 22, 2020, CINCINNATI:   Amid the global pandemic which has forced the temporary closure of many performing arts venues, 16 youth-serving theatres across the country have come together to share a national tribute, performed by children within each community, to honor frontline workers, including five students from the Greater Cincinnati area representing The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (TCT). These young Cincinnati artists include:

  • Brinley Culver
  • Celia D’Ascenzo
  • Diana Hutchinson
  • Annabelle Price
  • Nyla Thomas
  • Kavan Vadivelu

Bios can be found below.

Led by Seattle Children’s Theatre’s Interim Artistic Director Kathryn Van Meter, the project titled So Many Heroes empowers and amplifies the voices of young people during this time.

“We will be forever changed by our current events, and forever connected and bound together by our shared experience of isolation. As we begin to redefine what it is to share space, there is hope in our future because we are resilient…just like the young people in our communities,” said Van Meter.

Jeff Revels, Artistic Director of Orlando Repertory Theatre and writer for the nationally televised Memorial Day parade, presented the idea knowing that the network of theatres for young audiences could mobilize this tremendous effort. Together, Revels, Van Meter and Rich Gray, songwriter of So Many Heroes, began collaborating on what the national tribute could be.

“We have heard from the doctors and politicians, but not much from the kids of America. Writing musicals for young audiences has taught me how observant kids are. They see everything and absorb it all. They have been processing this like crazy, so, when asked to write this tribute, I knew it had to be in the direct, honest language that kids use,” said Gray, emphasizing the importance of hearing from young people during this time.

The tribute, which will be released today, Friday May 22, can be viewed on the participating theatre’s Facebook pages (including The Children’s Theatre’s page) at 6 a.m. (HST), 9 a.m. (PST), 11 a.m. (CT) or 12 p.m. (EST):

Adventure Theatre MTC (Glen Echo, MD)

Childsplay Theatre (Tempe, AZ)

Children’s Theatre of Charlotte (Charlotte, NC)

Dallas Children’s Theater (Dallas, TX)

First Stage (Milwaukee, WI)

Growing Stage (Netcong, NJ),

Honolulu Theatre for Youth (Honolulu, HI)

Imagination Stage (Bethesda, MD),

Lexington Children’s Theatre (Lexington, KY)

Northwest Children’s Theater & School (Portland, OR)

Oregon Children’s Theatre (Portland, OR)

Orlando Repertory Theatre (Orlando, FL

Seattle Children’s Theatre (Seattle, WA).

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati (Cincinnati, OH)

Trike Theatre (Bentonville, Arkansas)

Wheelock Family Theatre (Boston, MA)

TCT’s Producing Artistic Director, Roderick Justice, said: “On behalf of everyone at TCT, we are forever thankful to the heroes who keeps us safe, happy and healthy in a time where we can’t physically come together to entertain our audiences. Through this collaboration with the Nation’s leading children’s theatres, we deliver a powerful and unified voice of gratitude. These heroes keeping us safe will also keep our mission alive for another 100 years.”

About The Artists:

Brinley Culver
Brinley appeared as Precious in TCT’s October 2019 production of Casper the Friendly Musical. She appeared as Little Girl in TCT’s Cinderella. Some of her favorite shows include: Seussical (JoJo), Disney’s The Little Mermaid (Flounder), Disney’s Beauty and the Beast (Chip), and Disney’s Frozen (Middle Anna). During the last three summers, Brinley has participated in TCT’s STAR Intensive NKU program, and last year in TCT’s STAR ALL STARS. Brinley just completed seventh grade at Liberty Junior School. Off stage, she loves producing her own movies, dancing, and watching Master Chef.

Celia Joy D’Ascenzo
Celia made her TCT MainStage debut earlier this year in Annie JR. as Molly. In addition to being an avid singer, dancer, actress, pianist, and tumbler, Celia is a passionate storyteller. Other credits include: Awaited, Disney’s Cinderella KIDS (Fairy Godmother), Seussical (Young Kangaroo), and Disney’s High School Musical JR. (Cheerleader). Celia loves her homeschool community at HELP and CC and dances at Just Off Broadway. She enjoys spending time with her sisters, creating their own shows.

Diana Hutchinson
Diana was proud to make her theatre debut with The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati in the title role of TCT’s production of Annie JR.. Diana was born and raised in Cincinnati. She is currently heading into her sophomore year at Walnut Hills High School. Diana enjoys dancing, singing, and spending time with her family and friends. She is excited about sharing her love for the arts as she continues her performing career.

Annabelle Price
Annabelle is a recent eighth grade graduate of Summit View Academy in Northern Kentucky. She is an avid fan of TCT and has participated in their summer camp programs and other special events. Annabelle has performed in numerous school and community theatre projects including the role of Piggie in a pilot production of Elephant and Piggie – We are in a Play.  She is passionate about the arts and hopes to continue in high school and beyond. Other credits include: Disney’s Lion King JR (Zazu), Alice in Wonderland JR (White Rabbit) and Madagascar JR. (Marty). Annabelle studies voice, acting and dance at Moss Performing Arts Academy and looks forward to more TCT opportunities in the future.

Nyla Thomas
Nyla is a recent eighth grade graduate of Crossroads Middle School in Fairfield, where she sings in the choir. She appeared in TCT’s 2020 production of Annie JR. and the 2019 production of Disney’s The Jungle Book KIDS (Shanti). Nyla has a background in competitive hip-hop dancing and studies in voice. She was a TCT STAR Program participant from 2017 to 2019 and a TCT STAR All Stars participant in 2018 and 2019. Nyla received the TCT STAR Program “Rising Star” Award in 2018.

Kavan Vadivelu
Kavan is headed into the eighth grade at The Seven Hills School. In addition to theater, Kavan enjoys dancing and playing soccer for his club team. His previous credits include TCT’s 2019 production of Disney’s The Jungle Book KIDS (Mowgli), Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (Charlie), and Disney’s Aladdin KIDS (Aladdin).

About The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati:
For 100 years, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati has provided education and entertainment for children and the young at heart through the art of stage performance. TCT is the oldest children’s theatre in the nation, and the only professional theater in the region that devotes its entire MainStage season to children. TCT directly impacts the lives of nearly 200,000 families and children annually, through Broadway-quality TCT MainStage performances as well as TCT on Tour touring productions and TCT Academy performing arts instruction for children ages 18 months to 18 years.

In March of 2020, in response to COVID-19 and school closures, The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati launched TCT EVERYWHERE  — an online resource for parents, teachers and students featuring crafts, acting and vocal exercises and contests from the professional artistic staff of TCT Academy; along with study guides, podcasts, videos of past productions, and more.

For more information about the TCT mission, check out our website or enjoy our programming through TCT EVERYWHERE


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