“Play It Forward” is a benefit show for Ensemble Theatre Company’s educational programs | Credit: Courtesy

Current and former Ensemble Theatre Company (ETC) students alongside six renowned Broadway stars will come together in Play It Forward, a benefit concert supporting education.

The event, on August 6, will raise funds for ETC’s vital education and outreach initiatives. This includes their Young Playwrights Festival, Young Actors Conservatory, and student matinees, which serve junior and senior high school students across the county.

The festivities will start with a champagne reception at 6 p.m., followed by the concert beginning at 7 p.m. The audience can expect a musical journey with a four-piece band led by John Enrico Douglas that will include various genres such as pop, musical theater, and jazz. The lineup of student performers includes Cassidy Broderick, McKenna Gemberling, Hunter Hawkins, Beck Mortensen, Jett Mortensen, and more. Sharing the stage with them are Broadway luminaries Joan Almedilla (Miss Saigon, The King and I, Les Misérables), David Burnham (Wicked, The Light in the Piazza, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), Deedee Magno Hall (Miss Saigon, Wicked, If/Then), Jen Paz (Miss Saigon, Les Misérables, Flower Drum Song), Beverly Ward (Anastasia, Showboat, Crazy for You, Billy Elliot), and Kirby Ward (Never Gonna Dance, Crazy for You). 

Kirby and Beverly Ward | Photo: Courtesy

“The talent showcased on The New Vic stage, featuring our Broadway veterans and exceptional ETC students, is bound to leave the audience spellbound,” said ETC’s Artistic Associate and Director of Education, Brian McDonald. “By supporting and promoting accessible theater education and opportunities for all, you help us foster vital programs that celebrate inclusivity, empathy, and understanding within our communities.”

“ETC considers its education initiatives to be a vital part of our community and a means to foster our future generation of theatergoers and practitioners,” added ETC’s Executive Director Scott DeVine.

McDonald and DeVine are both excited and delighted to showcase the work of their remarkable lineup of incredible performers that are showing their support by participating in Play It Forward. Tickets to the event — taking place at The New Vic (33 W. Victoria St.) on Sunday, August 6 — are available here or through calling the box office at (805) 965-5400. Those unable to attend may support by donating toward ETC’s education programs here.


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