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Press Release

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Announces New Virtual Performance On SiriusXM Radio

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Announces New Virtual Performance On SiriusXM Radio 1200 500 mosaic

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Announces New Virtual Performance On SiriusXM Radio
Live-streamed reading will air on Sunday, September 13th at 2 p.m.

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit will perform “Hastings Street” on SiriusXM’s Plays in the House Teen Edition on Sunday, September 13th at 2pm EST.  Created by Executive Producers James Wesley and Seth Rudetsky, Associate Director Carollette Phillips and Technical Director Jonah Verdon, Plays in the House Teen Edition are live-streamed readings of plays for young people, performed by young people to support non-profits bringing theatre to young people.

“Mosaic is excited to feature our young artists and alumni in this special performance,” says DeLashea Strawder, President and Artistic Director of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit. “Hastings Street captures the good and bad of one of the most exciting eras in Detroit,” says Strawder.

An original playwright by Barton Bund and Rick Sperling, founder of Mosaic, “Hastings Street” is a musical revisit of life in Detroit’s Black Bottom neighborhood in the 1940s through the eyes of inner-city youth. Based on a real-life encounter between Langston Hughes and a group of Y-Gees (members of the Miller High School youth group), it was scripted from oral history and interviews with people who lived as teenagers in the Black Bottom and Paradise Valley neighborhoods.

Matthew Webb, an Mosaic alum and current Yale Drama MFA student, will be playing Langston Hughes. The live reading will be directed by Mosaic Alumna Carollette Phillips with musical direction by Strawder. The live broadcast is followed by a Q & A with the playwright which will be hosted by Angela Birchett, Broadway actress and recent star of the Lifetime movie “The Clark Sisters”.

Hosted by Juli Rudestsky Wesley, Plays in the House Teen Edition airs each week on Sundays at 2pm (EST) and currently has over 26,000 YouTube subscribers. Live shows have averaged more than 2500-3000 viewers and continue to raise much need funding for youth theatre and arts organizations.

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Launches New Theater Competition for Detroit Area Youth

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Launches New Theater Competition for Detroit Area Youth 1200 500 mosaic

Mosaic Youth Theatre Detroit Launches New Theater Competition for Detroit Area Youth
New Voices: Detroit 2020 will bring playwriting and musicals of youth to life.

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is launching its inaugural youth Playwriting and musical composition juried competition called New Voices: Detroit 2020. This competition gives young artists in Detroit, Highland Park and Hamtramck the opportunity to see their plays and musical compositions brought to life.

“We’ve all been impacted by great stories that move us, connect us, cause us to question, inspire us and help to promote positive change,” says DeLashea Strawder, President and Artistic Director. “With New Voices: Detroit, we aim to empower young people with the tools to boldly share their stories and amplify their voices.”

Through generous funding from the Knight Foundation and Ford Motor Company Fund, New Voices: Detroit allow aspiring storytellers access to meaningful mentoring with industry professionals early in their professional journey. In its first round, high school students who live in or attend school in Detroit, Highland Park or Hamtramck are invited to submit a one-act play or concept. Five submissions will be chosen to be produced by Mosaic Youth Theater of Detroit and performed at the virtual New Voices: Detroit festival on October 25, 2020.

In addition to being assigned a professional mentor/coach who will assist the young dramatists in developing their work of art, each finalist will receive $500 cash prize. All entries must be electronically submitted to NewVoicesDetroit@mosaicdetroit.org by August 28, 2020.

For more information about eligibility, format and deadlines, visit www.mosaicdetroit.org/newvoicesdetroit.

Mosaic’s 2019-2020 Season Celebrates History and Ventures into Fantasy

Mosaic’s 2019-2020 Season Celebrates History and Ventures into Fantasy 1200 500 mosaic
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Byrd
313.872.6910 ext 4024
jbyrd@mosaicdetroit.org

Mosaic’s 2019-2020 Season Celebrates History and Ventures into Fantasy

DETROIT, MI (July 30, 2019) – Mosaic’s upcoming season rolls seamlessly, yet intentionally, from reality to fantasy, reimagining history and touching compelling, contemporary themes. We explore power – through words, redemption, racism and self-discovery.  The season opens September 27, 2019 and the final bows take place on May 12, 2020.

It’s LIT kicks off an exciting list of shows. The production celebrates the power and artistry of authors of color whose stories have amplified their diverse experience. Prior to the September 28 show, Mosaic will host a community conversation featuring thought-leaders in literacy to discuss unleashing youth’s creativity through the arts and the effects of our communities.

Keeping up its show holiday tradition, Mosaic’s season continues with the introduction of A Christmas Carol from December 13-15, 2019 at the Detroit Institute of Arts Detroit Film Theatre. The play is a festive tale of redemption and compassion, taking place over the course of one ghostly Christmas Night, when cold-hearted businessman Ebenezer Scrooge learns to pity himself and to love his neighbor. A Christmas Carol celebrates holiday traditions and the unique story of discovering the inner joy of life.

Remembering history and shinning a light on Civil Rights, racism, and segregation, the season continues with Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963. This production takes place on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, January 20, 2020. This production imagines Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, Cynthia D. Morris Wesley, and Addie Mae Collins before the terrible event on September 15, 1963—the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama. Through story and song, the play shines a light on the four girls’ dreams, their times with family and friends, and the trials and tribulations they faced as children living in a divided and segregationist city. A full chorus sets the tone with spirituals and anthems of the Civil Rights Movement.

Mosaic’s next production is the singer’s concert, Lift Every Voice, celebrating the rich history of black music from Africa and the Caribbean to present day America through spirituals, ragtime, blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, rock, soul, hip-hop and other genres. The concert uplifts the contributions and innovations that mark the music and history of African Americans.

As the season comes to an end we encounter the familiar and fantastical in this world of curiosity and wonder, coming face to face with wild characters, obstacles, and oddities on a journey of self-discovery in Adventures in Wonderland. Performed by Mosaic’s Main Stage Ensemble, this contemporary re-telling of Carroll’s beloved stories – Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass – features original music and takes audiences on a whimsical journey challenging them to ponder, “Who are you?”  May 8-10 and 16-17, 2020

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is an out-of-school creative youth development organization. Through rigorous theatre and vocal training, Mosaic’s arts education, college prep, and workforce readiness programming helps young people ages 7-19 develop the critical and creative thinking skills necessary for success on stage and in life.

The organization maintains a 100% college acceptance rate with its alumni attending colleges across Michigan and around the country, institutions such as The Julliard School, and going on to become Kresge Fellows, Broadway stars, Emmy and Tony Award nominees, and good global citizens scattered throughout the business community. To learn more about Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, visit us online at www.mosaicdetroit.org.

NOW THAT I CAN DANCE – MOTOWN 1962

NOW THAT I CAN DANCE – MOTOWN 1962 1200 500 mosaic
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Lee
248.931.2443-cell
mleibow412@aol.com

NOW THAT I CAN DANCE – MOTOWN 1962
Mosaic brings back hit musical about the Marvelettes & Motown’s early days

Two weekends only, August 9-18, at the DIA

Before the Supremes or the Temptations had their first hit, the Marvelettes had Motown’s first #1 song. Who were these teenagers from Inkster who changed the course of musical history?
Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, in cooperation with the Motown Museum, is pleased to announce the return of Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary, for two weekends at the Detroit Institute of Arts, August 9-19, 2019. This production, based on oral histories from Motown pioneers, is the most popular show in Mosaic’s 27 year history.
Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 tells the little-known story of the Marvelettes and the origin of Motown’s first #1 record on the pop charts, Please Mister Postman. Along the way it shares the many untold stories of Motown’s early days when Mary Wells was Motown’s female star, the Contours were Motown’s guy group, 11-year-old Stevie Wonder was running
around Hitsville playing pranks, and Marvin Gaye was a drummer for the Miracles dreaming of becoming the black Frank Sinatra. In addition to the music of the Marvelettes, the play features the early hits of the Miracles, Vandellas, Contours, Mary Wells, Marvin Gaye and the Supremes.

Now That I Can Dance is directed by Mosaic founder Rick Sperling in his last production before retiring as Founding Artistic Director. As part of MAP (Mosaic Alumni Partnership) the cast is made up of current Mosaic members, Mosaic alumni and members of the community.

Fact Sheet

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, in cooperation with the Motown Museum and MAP,

presents NOW THAT I CAN DANCE – MOTOWN 1962

Written and Directed by Rick Sperling with in-kind support from Katherine “Kat” Anderson Schaffner of the Marvelettes, and Rosalind Ashford Holmes and Annette Helton of the original Vandellas

Shows:

Friday August 9th and 16th at 8:00pm

Saturday August 10th and 17th at 8:00pm

Sunday August 11th and 18th at 4:00pm

All performances take place at the main auditorium of the Detroit Institute of Arts

5200 Woodward Ave, Detroit, MI 48202 (use John R Entrance)

Tickets available at www.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets 

General Admission tickets for the first weekend are “Buy one, get one free”

For Group Sales call (313) 872-6910 ext. 4006

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is an award-winning national model for arts education and creative youth development. Mosaic’s mission is to empower young people to maximize their potential through professional performing arts training and the creation of theatrical and musical art that engages, transforms and inspires. The organization has toured their critically-acclaimed all-teen performances to Europe, Asia, Africa, 25 states throughout the U.S., the White House and The Kennedy Center. Mosaic is proud to report that 95 percent of its alumni go on to college. To learn more about Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, visit us online at www.mosaicdetroit.org.

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Mosaic hosts auditions for singing and acting ensembles, ages 11-17

Mosaic hosts auditions for singing and acting ensembles, ages 11-17 1200 500 mosaic
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Byrd, 313-872-6910 ext.4024, jbyrd@mosaicdetroit.org

Mosaic hosts auditions for singing and acting ensembles, ages 11-17

Mosaic’s auditions will be held on June 12, June 13, and June 15

DETROIT, MI (June 3, 2019) – Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is eager to announce auditions for youth aged 11-17 to join Mosaic’s singing and acting companies. Auditions will take place for Mosaic’s 2019-2020 season, including productions of A Christmas Carol, Adventures in Wonderland, Four Little Girls: Birmingham 1963, Ruby! The Story of Ruby Bridges, Its LIT: Celebrating Literature by Authors of Color, Lift Every Voice: Mosaic Singers in Concert and more . Over the years, Mosaic has gained a known reputation in theatrical and youth creative arts. Young Artists from all over the region join Mosaic to learn hands-on performing arts training. Auditions will take place on June 12, 13, and 15 at Mosaic Youth Theatre.  Interested individuals can register in advance to reserve their audition time on Mosaic’s website at https://mosaicdetroit.org/our-programs/auditions/.

Young Artists are ambassadors for the city of Detroit and their generation.  Young artists gain theatrical experience through performances at the Detroit Institute of Arts and the Redford Theatre, gain exposure to leadership initiatives, touring opportunities, media interviews, and various community performances. Previous young artists have performed for former president Barack Obama, Aretha Franklin, participated in national competitions and participated in all-youth international performances to Africa, Asia, and Europe. Mosaic is proud to be named one of CBS’s top non-profits to know, gained recognition from Crain’s Detroit as the Best Managed Non-profit, winner of numerous state and local awards, including Governors’ Award for Arts and Culture, State of Michigan History Award, and the NCCJ Humanitarian Award, to name a few.

Mosaic’s mission expands beyond the stage. Nearly 500 young people ages 7-19 participate in out-of-school programs ranging from acting and vocal music ensembles, summer camp programs, and, to an annual college invitational technical theater apprenticeships, and arts administration internships in addition to in-school programming at area schools.

Mosaic is a safe space for many young artists to explore creatively and enhance their leadership, professionalism, and community involvement off the stage. 95 percent of Mosaic’s alumni have been admitted to college, including this season’s 23 senior’s class, all accepted to college.  Young artists completing Mosaic’s program continue their creativity in their chosen career fields in college. Some continue to study music or acting, and others express their creativity through education, sociology, politics, engineering, and various majors.

“Creative Youth Development is an educational practice that integrates creative skill-building with the principles of positive youth development, including youth-driven inquiry and self-expression fueling young people’s imaginations while building critical learning and life skills,” remarks DeLashea Strawder, Mosaic’s Artistic Director.

“Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit empowers youth to achieve high levels of educational, professional and artistic excellence.  As a leader in Creative Youth Development, we inspire future generations to imagine a greater future for themselves and cultivate the critical skills needed to realize their power to transform their communities and the world at large,” she said.

“The best part of Mosaic is the people. The performing is awesome, and the scripts and shows are great, but what I love most is the friends and family here. You don’t find this everywhere!,” remarks John Sanford, Main Stage actor and young artist of four years.

What: Community auditions for youth ages 11-17 interested in joining Mosaic’s Main stage program

When: June 12th, June 13th, and June 15th (register online for audition time; https://mosaicdetroit.org/our-programs/auditions/www.mosaicdetroit.org/

Where: Mosaic Youth Theatre, 2251 Antietam Ave, Detroit MI 4807

Audition Requirements:

Singers: Prepare a 1-minute excerpt of a song of your choice.

Actors: Prepare a 1-minute monologue or receive one on-site.

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Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is an out-of-school creative youth development organization. Through rigorous theatre and vocal training, Mosaic’s arts education, college prep, and workforce readiness programming helps young people ages 7-19 develop the critical and creative thinking skills necessary for success on stage and in life.

The organization maintains a 95%-plus high school graduation rate with its alumni attending colleges across Michigan and around the country, institutions such as The Julliard School, and going on to become Kresge Fellows, Broadway stars, Emmy and Tony Award nominees, and good global citizens scattered throughout the business community. To learn more about Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, visit us online at www.mosaicdetroit.org.

Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage.

Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage. 1200 500 mosaic
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Jessica Byrd, 313.268.8218 (cell), jbyrd@mosaicdetroit.org

Mosaic’s Detroit to Dakar spotlights how music bridges the gap between language, culture, and heritage.

Mosaic Young Artists cultural exchange debuted in the newest original show, Detroit to Dakar

DETROIT (April. 23, 2019) –Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Main stage singers and actors re-enact experiences from a 15-day cultural awakening exchange, traveling from Detroit to Dakar, Senegal in 2003. Detroit to Dakar exhibits the cultural, spiritual, and intuitive journey of youth from two different worlds forging a commonality between music, arts, and ancestry history. The story captivates the rich culture of Dakar, dialogue between Americans and African heritage, and the testament to the universal healing from the power of music. The show runs on May 11, 12, 18, and 19 at the Detroit Film Theatre located inside the Detroit Institute of Arts. Media preview day will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2019. Interviews are available upon request. 

 “Detroit to Dakar is a story of journeys. Besides the thousands of miles these young artists traveled to get to Africa, the greater distance they traveled was within themselves. To dig deep into what it means to have African heritage and be an American, to be the descendants of people captured from Africa and enslaved in America, to feel very much like foreigners in Africa and outsiders in America – and to somehow make sense of all of this as many of them prepared to leave for their next journey, college,” remarks Rick Sperling, Mosaic’s founder and Director of Detroit to Dakar. “It is also about the journey that Mosaic has made over the past 27 years. When we started in 1992, there were 28 zealous young people who did everything – acting, singing, songwriting, playwriting, and tech. Our first set was held together by duct tape”, Rick recalls, sharing the sentiments of what was once a dream.
Detroit to Dakar bridges the symbolism of Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit and the accessibility of arts and theatre for metro youth. The story documents Mosaic Young Artists’ journey from an exchange with the John K. Kennedy Association of Dakar – an organization dedicated to create and encourage cultural participation and the arts in youth. Stories of youth intellect and human dependence explore intimate transformations while navigating the artist journey of the world today. Cultural exposure is integral for youth, and it allows them to become active participants in their communities and contributors to history. 
While theatrical performances are what most metro Detroiters know Mosaic for, its mission expands beyond theatre. Nearly 500 young people ages 7-19 participate in out-of-school programs ranging from acting and vocal music ensembles, summer camp programs, and, to an annual college invitational, technical theater apprenticeships, and arts administration internships in addition to in-school programming at area schools. Its motto, “Only the Best Nothing Less” empowers Young Artists to achieve at their highest ability in school and on the stage.
Tickets for Detroit to Dakar are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for youth ages 5-18. For show times and to purchase tickets, visitwww.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets. Group discounts available. For questions and additional information, please contactsales@mosaicdetroit.org or call 313.872.6910.

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 1200 500 mosaic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Lee, 248.931.2443 (cell), mleibow412@aol.com

Mosaic hosts auditions for hit show Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 , April 24 at Motown Museum’s famed Studio A 

Internationally-acclaimed theatre company revives musical about Motown’s early days

DETROIT (April. 4, 2019) –Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, in cooperation with the Motown Museum, is pleased to announce the return of Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962 in celebration of Motown’s 60th anniversary. Mosaic takes it back to where it all started for this hit musical about Motown’s early days, when most of its future stars were teenagers. Open community auditions for Now That I Can Dance will take place April 24, 2019, in the legendary Studio A in the Motown Museum’s Hitsville U.S.A, the actual place where the Marvelettes and many other famous Motown acts auditioned in the early 60s.

Now That I Can Dance tells the little-known story of the Marvelettes and the origin of Motown’s first #1 record on the pop charts, Please Mister Postman. The show will be directed by Mosaic founder Rick Sperling in his final production before retiring as Founding Artistic Director. Now That I Can Dance will take place for two weekends at the Detroit Institute of Arts August 9-19, 2019.

Community auditions will take place Wednesday, April 24, from 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. Motown Museum’s Hitsville U.S.A is located at 2648 W. Grand Boulevard in Detroit. Auditions are first-come, first-served, no reservations required. Anyone age 11 through adult is eligible to audition.

Roles include Stevie Wonder at the ages of 11, 14 and 18; the teenage members of the Marvelettes and Supremes; members of the Miracles, Vandellas and Contours in their early 20s; and Marvin Gaye in his mid-twenties. Other non-singing roles include Berry Gordy in his early 30s; parents of the young Motown stars; secretaries, producers, songwriters and engineers at Motown; and head of Motown’s Charm School, Maxine Powell. Larger roles involve singing and acting, while some roles involve either singing or acting.

What: Community auditions for youth and adults for Mosaic’s Now That I Can Dance – Motown 1962, in cooperation with the Motown Museum

When: Wednesday, April 24, 6:30 – 8:30 p.m. (first come-first served)

Where: Studio A in the Motown Museum’s Hitsville USA, 2648 W. Grand Boulevard, Detroit

Audition Requirements:

For singing-only roles: Prepare a two-minute Motown song, either acapella or with accompaniment (provided)

For acting-only roles: Prepare a two-minute monologue from a published play

For acting and singing roles: Prepare both a two-minute Motown song and a two-minute monologue.

Questions about auditions can be emailed to auditions@mosaicdetroit.org

The Laramie Project

The Laramie Project 1200 500 mosaic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Stefanie Worth, 313.872.6910, ext.4004

Mosaic Youth Theatre addresses intolerance in The Laramie Project
Ensemble cast learns firsthand the social power of theatre

 

DETROIT (Feb. 6, 2019) – Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit’s Main Stage Actors tackle the weighty topic of social intolerance in The Laramie Project, a production examining the events leading up to and the aftermath of a young gay man’s 1998 murder in Laramie, Wyoming. The show is produced and performed exclusively by members of Mosaic’s all-youth theatre and runs at the Mosaic Black Box Theatre from Feb. 22 – 24.

“The theme of the production is one of tolerance and understanding”, shares Andrew Huff, Director of Theatre. “As actors, the ensemble spends most of its time entertaining our audiences- making them laugh and smile with musicals or comedies. But sometimes, we have an opportunity to transcend entertainment and use our work in an important way, introducing heavier, more important conversations.”

Immediately following Matthew Sheppard’s death, Moisés Kaufman and members of the Tectonic Theater Project conducted over 200 interviews with Laramie locals, from bartenders, to social workers and family members to reconstruct the story that has become an American classic. And as members of the ensemble cast researched characters and learned more about the production, they’ve cultivated a safe space for sensitive discussions on the play’s major themes of social intolerance, introducing their own personal experiences and perspective to the acting process.

“Our goal isn’t to make political statements or stir the pot, but for our young people to experience theatre that has real, lasting implications in people’s lives,” Huff continued. “In today’s climate, contributions like this are more important than ever- to recognize our history of tragedy, the good things we’ve accomplished and how far we still have to go.”

While theatrical performances are what most metro Detroiters know Mosaic for, its mission is around creative youth development. Nearly 500 young people ages 7-19 participate in out-of-school programs ranging from acting and vocal music ensembles, summer camp programs, and, to an annual college invitational, technical theater apprenticeships, and arts administration internships in addition to in-school programming at area schools.

“Matthew Sheppard was only 21 years old – not much older than our Main Stage members who are reenacting these events. They’re able to tell this story in a richly authentic way. It’s piercing. It makes you think,” said Stefanie Worth, Mosaic’s Executive Director. “So in a society where incidents like the recent assault on Empire actor Jussie Smollett remind us that this hate still lives, our young artists fight through performance for a world where love rules.”

Tickets for Mosaic’s 2018-19 season shows are $20 for adults, $15 for seniors, and $10 for youth ages 5-18. Due to mature subject matter, this show is not recommended for children under 13. For show times and to purchase tickets, visit www.mosaicdetroit.org/tickets. Group discounts available. For questions and additional information, please contact sales@mosaicdetroit.org or call 313.872.6910.

Mosaic Receives $1 Million Grant

Mosaic Receives $1 Million Grant 1200 500 mosaic

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit Announces $1 Million Grant to Fund Summer Camp and Middle School Programs

Grant to Support Mosaic Through 2019 Leadership Transition

Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation Announces Five-Year Commitment to Mosaic

(Detroit, December 13, 2018) Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit announced today that it has received a $1 million grant that will fund two of their key programs – the Summer Camp and the Mosaic Experience Empowerment Program (MEEP). The grant, which will be distributed over five (5) years is from the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation (SLFF). Mosaic was founded 27 years ago by Rick Sperling, its founding artistic director, and is now lead by Stefanie Worth, its Executive Director and DeLashea Strawder, its Artistic Director. Mosaic provides summer camp, in-school mentoring, and a variety of artistic opportunities for children in Detroit. Mosaic is an unusually accomplished non-profit program, its alumni having garnered Tony, Emmy, and Grammy nominations, performed for two U.S. presidents, toured three continents and sent 95 percent of their student participants to college.

The Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation (SLFF) was founded by Broadway Producer and Detroit native, Jeffrey Seller and his partner Josh Lehrer, a prominent photographer and documentarist. The SLFF mission is to fund dynamic educational, cultural, and environmental organizations and initiatives.

“This incredibly generous grant comes at an important inflection point in Mosaic’s long history,” said Rick Sperling. “We have demonstrated success in exposing the exciting world of theatre and music to Detroit’s youth. As we move onto an exciting future with new leadership in 2019, this grant ensures a smooth transition and our continued ability to fully fund our summer camp and the Mosaic Experience Empowerment Program in Detroit’s middle schools,” added Sperling.

“I have admired Rick Sperling since the 1980’s when he directed shows at Performance Network in Ann Arbor.   He daily demonstrates that theatre changes lives.  His work with Mosaic has lifted and enriched the lives of thousands of young people and we are honored to help support a strong future for this extraordinary institution,” said Jeffrey Seller, the producer of the Tony Award-winning musicals Hamilton, RentAvenue QIn the Heights, and this season’s The Cher Show. “Rick’s leadership and the team that Mosaic has put in place – Stefanie Worth and DeLashea Strawder – will ensure that this great organization continues to provide artistic and educational opportunity for Detroit students for another 27 years,” added Seller.

The $1 million grant, which will be distributed over five years includes funds that will be set aside to establish an endowment to support future programs. The annual funding will support up to 200 camp scholarships.

 

About Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit

Mosaic seeks to empower young people to create positive changes in their lives and communities by helping them develop patterns of cooperation, disciplined work habits and effective problem-solving skills through the creation of high-quality, professional-level performances of theatre and music. And by highlighting the immense talent of young Detroiters, Mosaic helps to create positive peer role models and young people who can view a more positive future for themselves and for their community.

About the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation

Predicated on the concept that first you learn, then you earn and then you return, the Seller-Lehrer Family Foundation endeavors to re-invest the support from Broadway patrons into organizations that pursue innovative and worthwhile cultural and environmental initiatives. Specifically, the Foundation makes grants to public charities with educational, theatrical, artistic, Jewish community, and environmental purposes.   The Foundation is particularly interested in proposals that pursue innovative and non-traditional solutions and initiatives carried out on behalf of such organizations.

Mosaic Founder Rick Sperling to Retire from Nonprofit After 27 Years

Mosaic Founder Rick Sperling to Retire from Nonprofit After 27 Years 1200 500 mosaic

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Don Tanner
(248) 762-1533

 

MOSAIC FOUNDER RICK SPERLING TO RETIRE FROM NONPROFIT AFTER 27 YEARS
DELASHEA STRAWDER NAMED NEW ARTISTIC DIRECTOR TO LEAD ORGANIZATIONWITH EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR STEFANIE WORTH

DETROIT, Mich. — Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit founder and Artistic Director Rick Sperling will retire from the nonprofit in September 2019. Mosaic has also elevated DeLashea Strawder to Artistic Director from Associate Artistic Director. The announcements were made by Sperling and the Mosaic Board of Directors.

Founded by Rick Sperling in 1992 to address gaps in Metro Detroit arts education, Mosaic has served, mentored and guided thousands of young artists throughout the community. After his departure in September, Sperling will continue his consultancy work for Detroit Public Schools Community District in the area of arts excellence for youth. He will also continue to serve as an advisor to Mosaic and its Board and produce an annual summer alumni and community musical.

A 1999-2002 member of the Mosaic Singers, Strawder joined the nonprofit in 2003 as Assistant Music Director and steadily rose up the ranks to Music Director and her most recent title of Associate Artistic Director. Now, as Mosaic’s new Artistic Director, she will provide leadership in the development and oversight of training programs and artistic performances while working with Executive Director Stefanie Worth to ensure stage and educational initiatives align to strategic plans and budgets.

“DeLashea, with Stefanie, provides the ideal combination of talent to evolve and move us forward with new ideas and approaches aimed at community impact, sustainability and maximizing potential,” said Kate M. Spratt, Chair of Mosaic’s Board of Directors. “Rick Sperling, a man whose vision and leadership are without peer, cannot be replaced. Rather, we will honor and build upon his legacy of ‘only the best, nothing less’ for those we serve.”

“My goal has always been to create an organization that benefits generation after generation of young artists and I am incredibly proud of what we have built,” said Sperling, whose new title will be Founding Artistic Director. “It is also a dream come true to have a Mosaic alumnus succeed me. With a strong balance sheet and zero debt, this organization is in wonderful hands with leaders I know will continue and evolve the Mosaic mission.”

A Detroit News Michiganian of the Year, Sperling’s work has been recognized locally and nationally including with the Detroit Free Press Award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater and the National Guild of Community Arts Education Award. Mosaic facilitates the participation of more than 500 young people from more than 50 Metro Detroit schools in First, Second and Main Stage programs annually. Under Sperling’s leadership, Mosaic has garnered numerous national and local honors including the National Youth Arts and Humanities Program Award — the country’s highest honor for youth cultural organizations, The State of Michigan’s Governors’ Arts  Award, and Crain’s Detroit Business’ Best Managed Nonprofit Award.

 

About Mosaic

Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit is an internationally renowned out-of-school creative youth development organization. Mosaic channels the passion, energy, and creativity of area youth into developing outstanding theater productions, critical thinking skills, and global citizenry through arts education, college prep, and workforce readiness programming. Mosaic’s young artists have performed at the White House and the Kennedy Center and have toured their critically acclaimed productions in Europe, Asia, Africa and 25 states throughout the U.S. The organization maintains a 95%-plus high school graduation rate with students attending colleges across Michigan and around the country, institutions such as The Julliard School, and going on to become Kresge Artist Fellows, Broadway stars, and Emmy and Tony Award nominees. To learn more about Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit, visit us online at www.mosaicdetroit.org.

About DeLashea Strawder 

DeLashea Strawder has devoted her skill and leadership to inspire and incite a new generation of leaders and advocates for the arts for over a decade. Equally grounded in artistic excellence and arts education Strawder is a sought after conductor, clinician and speaker.  A champion of arts and culture and its’ inherent ability to motivate, empower and mobilize, she serves as co-chair for the National Creative Youth Development Field Building Action Team and has been recognized for her leadership and community impact as a Comcast 20 under 30 (2011), Detroit Pistons Come Together Foundation Impact Award (2013) and Michigan Chronicle 40 under 40 (2017) awardee.

Under her leadership Mosaic Singers have won two gold and three silver medals at the World Choir Games, opened for the Sistine Chapel Choir, performed for President Obama and at the Congressional Black Caucus Conference, American Choral Directors Michigan Conference and as the guest chorus for select performances of Josh Groban’s Stages and Bridges Tours.

About Stefanie Worth

Stefanie joined Mosaic in May 2018 as Executive Director, bringing a strong multi-sector perspective and two decades of experience in Detroit’s nonprofit sector. From her days as an award-winning newspaper reporter, an internet pioneer, Detroit City Council staffer, and brand marketing leader, her roles have been threaded by innovative approaches to community collaboration.