North Carolina theatre teacher Corey Mitchell has been named the inaugural recipient of the Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award, presented by the ASCAP Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association. Mitchell received the honor today from Schwartz and the award's judges, Lynn Ahrens and Andrew Lippa, during an event in the Virtual International Thespian Festival, which is running now through June 26.
"It's a tremendous honor to accept this on the behalf of so many teachers out there, because this is a crazy year, but somehow all of my theatre teacher friends are persevering through it and figuring out a way to make this happen even more,” said Mitchell in accepting the award. “From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of everybody that I work with now, and that I’ve worked with in the past, thank you so much. Thank you!”
Mitchell has received many awards over his 25-year career, including being the inaugural recipient of the Excellence in Theatre Education Award from The Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
Mean Girls Broadway star Reneé Rapp, a former student of Mitchell's who won the Jimmy Award in 2018 under his direction, nominated him for the honor.
"He challenged us all to bring our best, never settle, and strive to keep getting better,” says Rapp. "He helped us understand not only the theatre, but also the importance of our relationships in general, and he explained both were important skills regardless of the career path we chose."
The Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award will be given annually and includes a $5,000 award and travel to the International Thespian Festival to receive the honor.
Theatre educators at the middle and high school levels are eligible for nomination by their administrator, students, peers, or others who know their work. Nominations are evaluated by a panel of EdTA teachers and leaders, industry professionals, and ASCAP representatives on the quality of work in their program, career accomplishments, and their impact outside the school.
The International Thespian Festival brings theatre students from around the world together for a week of workshops, auditions, performances, and more. This year's festival moved online in the wake of the current health crisis, and features sessions and appearances with such theatrical luminaries as SIX star Brittany Mack, Aladdin's Michael James Scott, Tony-winning director Kenny Leon, Tina Fey, Tony winner Laura Benanti, and more.
Virtual ITF is open to all theatre students worldwide, along with their teachers, parents, and families, and registration is still open. All-access passes grant access to all of the 2020 festival's content for 90 days. Visit SchoolTheatre.org for more information.