On Aug. 3, two weeks after celebrating her 32nd wedding anniversary with husband Norm Nixon, director-choreographer Debbie Allen announced that she will be at the helm of a brand new musical theatre initiative for high school students on her Twitter account.
According to her post, Allen’s latest enterprise is a pre-college musical theater program called “RISE” and is available only to high school students between the ages of 14 and 18. Beginning in the fall with only 15 available spots, auditions are by appointment only on Saturday, September 10, 2016. Very little else is known about the project.
For decades, youth education has been a passion of the legendary artist, who is also an influential dancer, actress and producer. In fact, in June, Allen directed and choreographed some of the most talented high school seniors from across the country for a one night only performance at the Kennedy Center. Out of more than 12,000 applications, the YoungArts Foundation and a White House commission selected only 20 Presidential Scholars in the Arts, with each student becoming the recipient of a presidential medal and cash awards of up to $10,000. In a weeklong workshop, Allen sought to whip these various multidisciplinary artists into triple-threat shape.
Allen, a three-time Primetime Emmy Award winner and Golden Globe recipient, has remained quite busy of late. Not only has she been directing various episodes for season 13 of “Grey’s Anatomy” while also serving as an executive producer, she is also campaigning for presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton and Freeze Frame, a multimedia production that promotes non-violence by providing snapshots of gang violence, the daily struggles of impoverished inner city families, drugs and interactions with local law enforcement in Los Angeles.
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