Accepting the British honor last night at an intimate gathering of artists and special guests in New York City, the legendary songwriter and lyricist said: “I have been an Anglophile for a long time, in part because of the early good reviews I never received were in London. . It’s an ongoing love story for me. “
Edward Kemp, Director of RADA, said: “During his extraordinary career, Stephen Sondheim has transformed the landscape not only of musical theater, but of theater itself. In our training at RADA he is often compared to both Mozart and Shakespeare, and in many his songs are as much the cornerstone of our singing training as Shakespeare’s poems and plays are the foundation of our work. of text. “o Jane Streeton, Senior Vocal Teacher at RADA, said,” We train actors in all the skills needed to thrive in the profession, including the ability to sing on stage with precision and truth. The very nature of Stephen Sondheim’s work is unique. seems to derive the authentic voice of all of our students and therefore RADA as a whole and not just the vocal department, owes a huge debt of gratitude to this great American composer for his incredible body of work. works, which is also a profound influence in the development of our students in training. “
The event was hosted by British Consul General Antony Phillipson at his residence, and included performances by RADA graduates Jamie Bogyo and Jenna Augen, both of whom sang Sondheim songs; ‘The Ballad of Booth’ by Assassins and ‘Moments in the Woods’ by Into the Woods, respectively. They were accompanied on the piano by Larry Yurman
RADA has strong associations with Sondheim, notably through graduates such as Imelda Staunton CBE, Dame Diana Rigg, Adrian Lester OBE, Henry Goodman and Dame Siân Phillips, whose interpretations of his work have become legendary. Each year RADA’s theater and theater production students stage musicals, often from Sondheim – for example in recent years A Little Night Music (2017), Assassins (2018) and Into The Woods (2019). RADA students enter the Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year (SSSSPOTY) each year. Previous participants have included Cynthia Erivo and Taron Egerton (winner, 2011); Jamie Bogyo was a finalist this year
RADA’s diverse community includes students from all over the world and graduates pursue successful careers in the international creative industries, particularly on Broadway and Hollywood, among them Kenneth Branagh, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Fiona Shaw, Alan Rickman, David Harewood, Michael Sheen, Mike Leigh, Sophie Okonedo, Maxine Peake, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Jessie Buckley.
Those who are successful in musical theater find it not only in the works of Sondheim, but in a wide range of styles on stage and on screen – for example, in recent years, Cynthia Erivo in The Color Purple (London and Broadway, Tony Award winner), Jamael Westman in Hamilton (title role in original West End cast), Peter Hannah in Waitress the Musical (original West End cast), Taron Egerton in Rocketman, Ben Whishaw in Mary Poppins Returns , Bertie Carvel in Matilda (West End and Broadway, Olivier Prize winner and Tony nomination)
In spring 2020, RADA will once again host auditions in New York and Los Angeles for its BA (Hons) in Acting (each year, RADA auditions 3,500 applicants for only 28 BA Acting places, in addition to 30 students per year in theatrical production). In collaboration with other UK drama schools, RADA hosts an annual showcase in New York City giving US students the opportunity to engage with US casting agents and directors.
The honorary scholarship celebrates personalities who have made a significant impact and contribution to RADA, drama education or the industry at large. RADA recently revived the tradition of honorary members, appointing six since 2018, including Glenda Jackson, Sir Anthony Hopkins and Thelma Holt. All scholarship holders are invited to play a role in the life of the Academy, including meeting and working with students
The special event in New York was hosted by ASRADA, the American supporters of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, which assists RADA by providing scholarships to enable and encourage students of all circumstances and backgrounds to attend the school .
Photo credit: Kurt Sneddon
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