Jason was introduced to Shadowbox on his 19th birthday by his best friends Don and Victor, but did not become a Shadowbox regular until he came to the Holiday Lunchbox on a company outing in December of 2009. Since then, he has attended shows with his five brothers and sisters, his parents and friends. Jason fondly recalls another birthday he celebrated at Shadowbox Live that was commemorated by a visit from Amy Lay’s Marilyn Monroe, “she made sure to leave lipstick all over my face; I was grinning like an idiot for the rest of the night!”
Jason is a supporter of a number of organizations, but when asked why he donates to Shadowbox Live, he said “Being a Shadowbox metaperformer is my dream job, but since my disability keeps me from performing I decided to find other ways to be as involved with Shadowbox Live as possible. Shadowbox provides a way for me to be a part of the joy of performance, the special communication between the audience and artists that happens through comedy, drama, song and dance. I donate because I want to give others a chance to experience the joy I feel every time I get to see a show.” Here’s an excerpt from a letter Jason wrote to the cast of Shadowbox Live after receiving his Master’s Degree in Writing with an essay he wrote about Shadowbox Live and what our work means to him:
“… Thank you for being part of something that moves me, part of a place that never fails to lift my spirit. Thank you for giving me a place to find music and laughter and dance when I most need it in my life. Thank you for your commitment to a profession with long hours and not enough money that also happens to change people for the better. And thank you, most of all, for your friendships, for allowing me to get to know you, chat with you, joke with you; thank you for all the hugs and the kind words and the pictures. I wouldn’t have predicted that I would come to care so much for people I’ve gotten to talk with for five minutes at a time over the last two years, but I truly feel blessed to call you my friends, and to have such talented and amazing people in my life. So thank you, for everything.”
We’ve written this Donor Spotlight to thank YOU, Jason. You are why we do what we do. Thank YOU for your support, your friendship. We work our long hours because we know, at the end of the day; WE get to experience joy every time we see you at a show.
Shadowbox Live has been a fixture in the Columbus arts and entertainment community for over 20 years. For the past five years, massive efforts have gone into the implementation of an ambitious arts educational program through our Shadowbox Gives Back organization. (Click here for more information about the Shadowbox Academy) Our goal is to use our knowledge and experience of the performing arts to help students further their artistic abilities. Additionally, we reach out to those with no arts experience and use our art form to teach them important life skills.
- A collaborative arts project with the STEM students of Metro High School, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, and Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy.
- Make It Live – The educational component of the Shadowbox Live/BalletMet collaborative production 7 Deadly Sins
- A partnership with CCAD’s Media Studies Department
- Summer Boot Camp, an intensive 3-week program educating high school students in the four disciplines of music, vocals, comedy and dance in addition to theatre administration
- Internship program with high school students from a number of schools, including Fort Hayes Vocational Music Department, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, Metro High School, Eastmoor Academy, Columbus School for Girls, and The Arts and College Preparatory Academy
- A partnership with the Columbus City Schools Unified Arts Department that provides abridged one-hour shows from our Musical Theatre Series productions to hundreds of Columbus City High School students
- A community project which enabled area high school students to perform as extras in our original musical documentary Back to the Garden (8/10, 5/11, 5/12)
- Leading workshops in comedy, character development and voice for rock musicals for the Ohio Thespian Conference, Ohio Theatre Alliance and Theatre Roundtable. (2009 & 2010)
- Guest speaking engagements at a number of collegiate theatre departments (Dennison University and Ohio State University) and high school theatre classes (Briggs HS, West HS, Cardington HS, Eastmoor Academy) (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012)
- Closing speaker at the STEM Regional Teacher Conference on “Unfolding Creativity”
Make it Live!
“Make It Live!” was the audience development and education component of the Shadowbox and BalletMet collaboration 7 Deadly Sins, a full-length rock n roll ballet which premiered in April/May of 2011. “Make It Live!” demystified the creative process by inviting students from 2-3 select high schools to experience a new work documented from the earliest stages of creative conceptualization through staging, development and rehearsals with musicians and dancers, and culminating in performances in Shadowbox Live’s and BalletMet’s 2010-11 seasons. Teaching Artists from both organizations visited schools on 3 separate occasions for hands-on learning that connected artists, students and teachers. The program culminated with a special school matinee performance of 7 Deadly Sins at the Capitol Theatre on Thursday, May 5th at 10:30am.
Stem Rocks the ‘Box
Based on an audition/interview in the disciplines of comedy, music, voice, dance, tech and backstage crew, Shadowbox Live selects 30-35 students to create a two-hour show where students perform alongside our ensemble members on the Shadowbox Live stage. Rather than taking a classroom approach, the two weeks of rehearsals are structured like performance workshops so students can participate freely, develop a rapport with the directors and their fellow cast members, and gain “real life” experience as artists. The intense process not only culminates in a full-length performance in front of a paying audience, it pushes these students to achieve goals they never thought possible. With this project, Shadowbox Live has collaborated exclusively with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) High School including Metro High School, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, and Reynoldsburg eSTEM Academy
“Simply put…it was amazing! You took significant professional risk by including high school students into your Shadowbox performance. By treating them as equals and demanding the same commitment to preparation that you ask of yourselves, you gave each student a gift of confidence that will serve them well as they explore new adventures throughout their lives…Christina Brown and Diana Wolterman were thrilled to partner with you and they join me in a standing ovation for your work!”
Richard D. Rosen
Corporate VP, Education and Philanthropy Partnerships, Battelle
Executive Director, The Ohio STEM Learning Network
Columbus College of Art and Design
Shadowbox Live is proud of its expanding partnership with CCAD. The highly acclaimed institution and Shadowbox Live share a desire to meld the visual and performing arts by providing students with opportunities to learn broad fundamentals, work on collaborative creative concepts, and develop professional presentation skills.
Shadowbox Live collaborated with the Media Studies Department to create a class project for their Advanced Time-Based Projects, Video, Animation, Motion Graphics, Time-Based Media Design, Sound Design, Character Design, Art & Tech, and Screenwriting classes. Shadowbox Live presented guidelines and assistance in regards to script writing, comic content and timing.
We established an internship program with CCAD where one of their students, Tyler Mele worked with us for 15 weeks (4 hours a week). By working with our Executive Producer to create an animation piece, Mele earned 1½ hours of college credit. Largely based on his Shadowbox Live project, Tyler Mele was selected as the Outstanding Media Studies Animation Senior from the 2010 graduating class.
Shadowbox Live has created customized internship programs with various high schools such as Fort Hayes Vocational Music Department, Linden McKinley STEM Academy, Metro High School, Eastmoor Academy, and The Arts and College Preparatory Academy. The objective is to place the students in a professional environment where they are able to further develop their artistic discipline as well learn the administrative side of the business
“I wanted to take a moment and thank you for what you and Shadowbox are doing for Danyai. She really enjoys being a part of your organization and I know she is honored to participate. I hope this opportunity continues and that future students will commit as Danyai has and benefit from the experience.”
Vocational Music Instructor, Fort Hayes Career Center
School Matinee Performances
Shadowbox Live offers abridged matinee performances of their Spring and Fall musicals to middle school and high school students within the Greater Columbus area. Each 45-60 minute performance serves up to 320 students and is followed with a 30-minute Q&A session where the students and teachers get to interact with key performers and production personnel.
“Thank you for inviting Columbus City Schools to partner with Shadowbox. “A Funny Thing…” was a great way to start this relationship. I look forward to future endeavors with the drama teachers and students in the district’s middle and high schools”
Linda G. Wright
Unified Arts Coordinator, Columbus City Schools
Shadowbox Live is proud of its accomplishments thus far, but we can do more. Our commitment to the Columbus community is strong and with local corporate support, together, we can implement additional programs that provide opportunities for our youth to be happy, successful, contributing members of our society.