Three Queens high school students were able to give their regards to Broadway recently, when their 10-minute plays made it to the big stage.
The Fidelity FutureStage program was started by Fidelity Investments four years ago. Through a year-long program, students work with theater professionals and learn about areas of the theater, including playwriting.
Each of the 10 city schools that participated in the program submitted a play written by one of its students. Five were selected to be performed during a finale that was recently held at the Imperial Theatre on Monday, June14. Two of the selections were “Beautiful Karma” by Hillcrest High School senior Nasaun Lineszy and “Lunch” by Kathleen Rogers, a senior at Frank Sinatra School of the Arts High School.
Fidelity FutureStage also holds a playwriting contest, which was open to students in the New York City metro area. From the more than 550 entries received, Frank Sinatra senior Kathy Roszczeda’s “Navy Blue Tiles” was selected as the winner. It too was performed during the finale. She said she was “completely shocked” about winning the contest.
The students were able to work with professionals to put on their plays. Along the way, they also got to meet stars like actress Hillary Swank, who hosted the final performance at the Imperial Theatre.
“Fidelity FutureStage made my dreams come true,” said Roszczeda, who said she will definitely continue to write. “Now I’m living my dream. I’m still trying to wake up from it.”
Through the experience, Lineszy said that he met many interesting people. He said without the FutureStage program he wouldn’t have been able to realize he has a talent for writing.
“It built [an] opportunity for me,” he said. “Without this . . . I don’t think I would have written a play.”
Rogers said that she was really proud of her play and felt the highlight of her experience would be seeing it performed on Broadway. She said she learned that she is creative and can come up with something that can help spread a message.
Nan Ives, the senior vice president of corporate sponsorship at Fidelity, said that the program is all about helping students build their self-confidence. She said the program aims to create a “unique and real experience” for the students. Ives also said she thought the plays produced this year were amazing.
Amy Morrison, the director of the Theater Institute at Hillcrest High School, said that students raise their self-esteem through this process. She said their words are taken seriously, their thoughts have a lot of importance and they are treated like professionals.
“It’s awesome,” she said of watching her students participate. “It’s like the best thing in the world.”