Spotlight Interview: Rosie O’Donnell


The following guest post was written by CMA Event Coordinator Timothy Michael Harrington:

So, back when I lived in LA I spent most mornings in my favorite coffee shop writing.  One of the scripts I wrote was a multi-cam tween sitcom about a performing arts education organization devoted to assisting underprivileged youth.  It was called The Hope Academy.  A year or so later I was fortunate enough to meet Alyson Roy who, as luck would have it, is on the Junior Board for Rosie’s Theater Kids – a performing arts education organization devoted to assisting underprivileged youth.  It was a full circle moment to say the least – I now serve on Rosie’s Theater Kids’ Junior Council. 

rosie theater kids

That said, Rosie’s Theater Kids was originally founded by Rosie O’Donnell & Lori Klinger to provide a Broadway experience to children who might otherwise not have the opportunity. The organization positively changes the trajectory of their student’s lives by providing comprehensive classes in music, dance and drama; thoughtful mentoring; and structured academic guidance – provided at no cost to the students or the schools.  The goal is to inspire excellence, motivate learning, uplift the human spirit, build confidence, and spark a lifelong appreciation for the arts.  The innovative musical theater programs that RTKids brings to New York City public school children has grown from 40 students to over 1,700 per year.  Since it’s inception in 2003, RTKids has touched the lives of over 60,000 students.

In a lead up to our event Wednesday July 24th at RTKids (The Maravel Arts Center, 445 W 45th St, New York, NY @ 6:30pm) , Rosie O’Donnell has been kind enough to answer a few questions, and give us some insight into what makes Rosie’s Theater Kids such a success:

 What were your favorite television shows growing up?
A few of my favorite shows growing up were The Brady Bunch, The Partridge Family, I Dream of Jeannie, Courtship of Eddies Father…

What shows / games / apps do your children watch / play with?  Was there anything they couldn’t get enough of growing up?

The [younger] kids love the Instagram and Sims apps. Right now Vivi loves to play Chess and her favorite show is The Fosters, she can’t get enough of it. Blake loves to watch sports, particularly basketball and football. The show I couldn’t get enough of growing up was Battle of the Network Stars.

Speaking as a mom, humanitarian, and entertainer – What do you think media producers should create to best serve our youth?

Realistic family dramas best serve our youth.

What does the future hold for Rosie’s Theater Kids?

It’s exciting to see where our alumni are headed. We’ve got Daniel – one of the first – at University of Michigan studying Musical Theater. We’ve got Nicole at Duke, Kirra at Northwestern – these first 10 years we were building from scratch – now we see our alumni coming back, giving back – it’s exciting to see a legacy beginning to form. I think Lori and the staff are building an institution, with Maravel Arts Center standing tall, forming roots into 45th Street and reaching out to Broadway and beyond.