The Reporter (Lansdale, PA) (02.21.13)
Pennsylvania’s North Penn High School has staged a performance event featuring the school’s thespians as a fundraiser for the nonprofit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS every year since a senior came up with the idea as a graduation project in 1999. The nonprofit has assisted the school by donating signed Broadway memorabilia for auction and even extended the idea by launching similar projects at other high schools. By spring of 2012, the high school chapter of Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS had raised more than $1 million; North Penn has contributed more than $50,000 of that total throughout the past 14 years. This year, the two North Penn seniors who are organizing the event have renamed and expanded it to include not only actors, but also singers, dancers, musicians, and other members of the school arts community as well as middle school students. The Knight of the Arts, as the event is now called, will feature performances by more than 200 students. There is no admission fee, but the suggested donation is $5.
The performers include the school’s jazz vocal group; a dance by the Indian Cultural Association; breakdancing by the Korean Club’s B-Boy Crew; students form the three area middle schools performing selections from their upcoming musicals; and individual students doing monologues, singing, and performing Shakespeare. Also, “coffeehouse performers” will be in the building concourse and organizers will hold a silent auction featuring signed items from the most recent casts of Broadway shows. Andrea Lee Roney, the high school’s theater teacher and director, will perform a solo from the musical “Show Boat.” Roney commended the young people for coming together like this. She noted that it shows that one person can make a difference and collectively all can make a bigger difference.