NYC students go 'Inside Broadway'

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Thousands of New York City school kids recently got a special look behind the scenes at the hit Broadway show, "Dear Evan Hansen," thanks to the non-profit group called "Inside Broadway." It aims to introduce children and teens to the magic of live theater.

The way "Inside Broadway" comes courtesy of the cast and crew of the show that won the Tony as the Best of 2017, and the value of a program called "Creating the Magic" can best be seen in the faces of those who attend. I asked the gang from PS 108 a simple question, "was this cool?" and they roared, "YES!"

The kids have been coming to theaters like the "Music Box" since 1982. The founder of "Inside Broadway," Michel Presser, explained that, "A lot of times people have the impression that the actors come on the stage, we turn on the lights and we have a show, but that's only the tip of the iceberg."

Which is where stage manager Judy Schoenfeld comes in. One word from her and all sorts of things happen. The kids cheered and "oohed" and "aahed" as Judy made the scenery move across the stage, turned light various different colors and filled the show's many TV monitors with her own image.

"It was great to see those smiling faces and those eager faces," Judy told me afterwards adding she is going to remember, "those expressions of awe when I made the lights move or something."

One high school student told me, "It really helps to see what it's like behind the scenes of shows and how much work goes into it so we have a better appreciation of what goes into it."

One of the performers, Diamond Essence White, was hired right after graduating from Long Island University's C.W. Post campus, and she told me it seemed like just yesterday she was "on the outside always looking in," as the song from the show goes.

I asked her, "What did you want these young people to take away from your presentation and your remarks? "

She replied that she "Wanted them to take away that theater is all inclusive, and you can do it if you love it."

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