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Bright Lights Up Broadway



Funds Needed For Energy Bill

Benefit Concert 6:30pm Thursday, June 30

The Winter Garden, The Civic, THE EDGE®

Emerging playwright and composer Rochelle Bright is the first New Zealander to be accepted into the Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program at Tisch School of the Arts, New York University. This prestigious arts school is regarded as the top school in the world for the specialisation of writing for musical theatre and opera.

Rochelle has received the prestigious Dean’s Fellowship award from New York University, which pays her full tuition for the two-year course starting in August.

However, she needs to raise NZD$100,000 to pay for accommodation, food, travel (airfare and subway) and health insurance for her two years in New York City. Tisch is a “dream come true” for Rochelle, as it will develop her skills to an international level and give her the opportunity to be mentored by Broadway’s best.

On Thursday, June 30, THE EDGE® will host a benefit concert for Rochelle at The Winter Garden. On stage will be The Caitlin Smith Trio and other musical theatre friends who will perform some of Rochelle’s work to help her in her endeavour to raise sufficient money to make it to New York.

Rochelle, who has been supplementing her income by working front of house at THE EDGE® for the past 18 months, says that her acceptance into Tisch came as a complete surprise and has had her scrambling to raise the necessary funds. “I am desperate but determined to take up this fellowship, so I’ve been persuaded to put out my hat in the hope that someone out there might find a way to help me make my dream come true. I will live in a dorm, eat like a sparrow and walk everywhere, but even that seems to cost a fortune in New York,” she said.

“Rochelle Bright is one of New Zealand's most promising young dramatic writers. Her acceptance into Tisch is confirmation of her unique talents. This is a rare gem of an opportunity for a patron to support in a very concrete way the future of the New Zealand performing arts."

Mark Amery, Script Development Manager, Playmarket

Tisch School of the Arts

Tisch School of the Arts at New York University was founded in 1965 to provide rigorous conservatory training in theatre and film in the context of a great research university. The School quickly established itself as one of the leading arts schools in America, creating additional departments of dance, theatre design and lighting, and cinema studies.

The Graduate Musical Theatre Writing Program is a masters degree program where each year, 22 full-time students embark on a two-year course specially designed for the creation of new musical theatre and opera. There are ongoing writing workshops that emphasize craft, the art of collaboration, rewriting, developing the student's original voice, storytelling, and content (putting ideas on stage). Guided by a core faculty that is amplified by master teachers drawn from the major artists in the field, students collaborate on an impressive volume of new material to give them experience with a variety of styles, genres, and approaches from the book musical to opera to new alternative forms of music theatre. Directors and actors are brought in throughout the program to present new material as it is being created, developed, and rewritten. The program culminates in thesis musicals: the creation of full-length original works.

Past Guest Tutors at Tisch

Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg Creators of Miss Saigon.

Fred Ebb Creator of Chicago and Cabaret.

Andy Hammerstein, James Hammerstein and William Hammerstein Cameron Mackintosh Producer of Cats and Phantom of the Opera.

Stephen Schwartz Composer of Wicked and Godspell.

Stephen Sondheim Lyricist of West Side Story and Into the Woods Julie Taymor Director of Freda (film) and The Lion King on Broadway.

William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin (Adjuncts) New Broadway hit production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.

Graduates from Tisch

Mindi Dickstein (Class of 1993) Lyricist for the Broadway musical version of Little Women, starring Sutton Foster.

Winnie Holzman (Class of 1981), Bookwriter of the Broadway hit Wicked.

David Javerbaum (Class of 1995), Emmy Award winning Head Writer of The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was recently announced as the lyricist of the forthcoming Broadway musical version of John Water's film, Crybaby.

Reina Webster First Kiwi to attend the film department of Tisch School of Arts. Her recent film The Little Things received special mention at the Berlin Film Festival.

For further information, please contact Rochelle Bright Mobile: 021 137 3264 Email:

Rochelle Bright

In 2005, Rochelle graduated with her Masters in Creative and Performing Arts with First Class Honours from The University of Auckland, majoring in playwriting.

Currently she is composing music for Bad Jelly the Witch at the Silo Theatre and An Ideal Husband at the Maidment Studio. Rochelle has been commissioned for script development with Young and Hungry in Wellington and her new musical Stark Night was showcased as part of AK05 Festival club. In 2004, Rochelle’s play A Long Walk in the Rain was produced by Radio New Zealand and a new work, Nameless Season, was part of the Aotearoa Playwright Conference in Hamilton. A Long Walk in the Rain was read as part of the International Woman’s Playwright Conference with support from Creative New Zealand, in Manila, Philippines.

In 2000, Rochelle graduated from The Eastern Institute of Technology with a diploma in Drama. There she workshopped and produced a concept album for a musical titled 24/7, which had a semi-premiere at the Napier Winter Arts Festival. In the same year Rochelle was invited to attend the Women’s Conference in Athens with the play Smells Like Rain and also gained her LTCL in speech and drama from Trinity College of London. In 1998, Rochelle was a member of the Shakespeare Globe Center New Zealand Young Shakespeare Company and performed at the Globe Theatre in London. Musically, Rochelle has written for theatre projects such as The Tempest, Our Country’s Good, Woyzeck, Attempts of her life, iS and Mahy Magic.

Her awards include:

• Distinction award, Comalco Playwright Competition, Queensland, Australia.

• Aotea Performing Arts Scholarship.

• AMP Young Achievers Award.

• Runner-up Northern, Playmarket’s Young Playwright Competition, 2003.

• Dean’s Fellowship award, New York University.

“I am confident that she will bring a new voice to theatre and to the arts in New Zealand after her studies in New York, and into the future”

Lynne Cardy, 2econd Unit and Education Co-ordinator, Auckland Theatre Company

Special thanks to:

THE EDGE®. The Rotary Club of Auckland. Lauren Hughes.

Barry O’Brien, Managing Director of Enterprise Recruitment. Richard Cox.

Michael Hurst and Jennifer Ward-Lealand.


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