By CLTure News
June 24, 2020
Corey Mitchell, the head of the musical theatre department of Northwest School of the Arts has won the inaugural Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award presented by The ASCAP Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). Mitchell, who is a teacher of 25 years and also a winner of the first Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award in 2015, receives the honor recognizing the highest level of achievement for a high school or middle school musical theatre teacher. Made possible by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation in honor of Stephen Schwartz, Mitchell also receives a $5,000 cash prize.
“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!”
Schwartz who is a three-time Oscar winner and four-time Grammy winner, was inspired to create the award to recognize the many ways that theatre teachers impact lives. “Theatre teachers help to not just bring theatre, but bring empathy and the ability to think, to work together as a group, and understand other people. These are things so desperately needed in our country right now that go way, way beyond theatre and musical theatre,” said Schwartz at a teacher conference last fall.
Mean Girls musical star and Northwest School of the Arts grad Renee Rapp recalled her former teacher’s drive for excellence. “He challenged us all to bring our best, never settle, and strive to keep getting better,” said Rapp. “He helped us understand not only the theater, but also the importance of our relationships in general, and he explained both were important skills regardless of the career path we chose.”
Northwest School of the Arts is the only public arts magnet school serving Mecklenburg County students grades 6 through 12 combining elements of creativity, art, and technical prowess with a strong academic foundation. Last year, the school transformed the front entrance facade with a colorful mural paying homage to musicians and artists along with local civil rights pioneers.