Hilton Hotels & Resorts and the Tony Awards(R) put Theatre Education for Young Adults on Center Stage

Hilton Hotels & Resorts and the Tony Awards(R) put Theatre Education for Young Adults on Center Stage

"Hilton First Theatre Memories" education initiative shares 2008 Tony Awards® experiences with youth, sets stage for its final bow at the London Palladium

June 16, 2008 // Franchising.com // BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. – Hilton Hotels & Resorts' "Hilton First Theatre Memories" program is delivering quite a finale. Before taking its final bow with the cast and crew of the musical classic "The Sound of Music" at the famed London Palladium in July, the "Hilton First Theatre Memories" program is giving an Atlanta teenager and a group of New York youth once in a lifetime opportunities to experience the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards® this month.

The "Hilton First Theatre Memories" program, an extension of Hilton's continued support of arts education and two-year sponsorship of the American Theatre Wing's Tony Awards®, was designed to give kids who might not otherwise have the opportunity the chance to experience first-hand the transformative power of theatre. Each of the five "Hilton First Theatre Memories" tour stops brings together teenagers and theatre professionals in a half-day theatre education workshop, created by The Broadway League's Education Committee, followed by the chance to see a live theatrical production. The tour makes its final stop at the Hilton London Metropole on Wednesday, July 2.

"Hilton believes that like travel, theatre has the power to take audiences on a journey," said Jeff Diskin, senior vice president of brand management – Hilton Hotels and Resorts. "Whether through stage combat lessons with the cast of 'Camelot' in Baltimore or rocking out to the music of Queen with the director of 'We Will Rock You' in Toronto, 'Hilton First Theatre Memories' gives kids around the world a rare, behind-the-scenes glimpse into the magic of theatre that few of them had experienced before."

More than 120 kids participated in "Hilton First Theatre Memories" workshops in New York, Atlanta, Toronto and Baltimore. At the completion of each workshop, participants were invited to creatively share their experience for a chance to win an all expense paid trip to the 2008 Tony Awards. The winning entry, selected by designees of Tony Awards Productions, a joint venture of The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, was written by North Atlanta High School ninth-grade student Donald Brown. Brown, a participant in the North Atlanta High School After School Artistic Workshop program, joined more than 50 high school and Boys & Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta students for the Atlanta "Hilton First Theatre Memories" workshop led by cast and staff from the Fox Theatre and the production of "White Christmas." As his reward for writing a compelling production review and essay about his first theater experience, Brown and his mother will attend the 2008 Tony Awards in New York City as a guest of Hilton Hotels & Resorts.

"Donald's contest entry embodies everything that Hilton and Tony Awards Productions hoped to accomplish with the 'Hilton First Theatre Memories' program," said Howard Sherman, Executive Director of the American Theatre Wing. "Creativity, a passion for and exuberant interest in the arts – all these elements are exhibited in his writing, and all are key in promoting theatregoing for future generations. We are delighted to welcome Donald to the 2008 Tony Awards and to create yet another unique theatre memory."

Furthering its commitment to arts education and creating unique experiences for deserving kids, Hilton is giving a group of 30 New York City youth a behind-the-scenes look at theatre production by inviting them to the Tony Awards dress rehearsal. Joining Hilton executives will be 30 young adults from the Center for Arts Education, a New York City-based organization that introduces high school students to the wealth of career opportunities in the arts, and Camp Broadway, a program committed to making the performing arts accessible to children and teens by connecting young artists with theatre professionals in original and creative ways.

Hilton is a longstanding member of the theatre community with various offerings for theatre-loving travelers. For more information on Hilton's Theatre Nights packages, visit www.HiltonHHonors.com/theatrenights. Presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing, The Tony Awards will air live on CBS on Sunday, June 15, 2008.

About The Tony Awards

Honoring outstanding achievement in Broadway theatre, the Tonys are presented by The Broadway League and the American Theatre Wing. At the League, Nina Lannan is Chairman and Charlotte St. Martin is Executive Director. At the Wing, Sondra Gilman is Chairman, Doug Leeds is President and Howard Sherman is Executive Director. For Tony Award Productions, Elizabeth I. McCann is Managing Producer and Joey Parnes is Coordinating Producer. Ricky Kirshner and Glenn Weiss/White Cherry Entertainment are Executive Producers of the 2008 Tony Awards. Mr. Weiss will also serve as Director of the 2008 Tony Awards. The official Tony Awards web site, www.TonyAwards.com, is developed, designed, and hosted by IBM, an official partner of the Tonys. News and feature content is provided in cooperation with Playbill.com. The 62nd Annual Tony Awards will be telecast live in a three-hour special on the CBS television network on Sunday, June 15, 2008, beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST / 7 p.m. CST (delayed PST).

About Hilton Hotels & Resorts

With more than 500 hotels and resorts on six continents, Hilton continues to be an innovative leader in the full-service hospitality segment and the most recognized global name in the industry. Hilton's belief that Travel Should Take You Places® celebrates a commitment to the guest experience and to the idea that travel can and should be transformative. Hilton's variety of services, amenities and programs are designed to give guests more choice and control over their stays so they can be at their best, 24/7 whether they travel for business or leisure. Each unique Hilton hotel and resort was designed to reflect the sense of place of its location; each team member chosen to reflect the local culture and community. For more information visit www.hiltonjourneys.com or, to start your journey, visit www.hilton.com available in English, Spanish and French.



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