In Broadway’s “Once on this Island,” three gods help a villager named Ti Moune pass through iron gates to be reunited with her rich lover. Earlier this month, ten Sarah Lawrence students passed through the doors of the Circle in Square Theater to see the 2017 revival of the musical through the generous donation of actress and alumna Tovah Feldshuh.
“I’m very excited. I never thought I’d see a show on Broadway, or at least not for a few years, and now I’m here,” Josiah Williams ‘22 said, as he waited for the theater to open.
Since 2015, the endowed Tovah Feldshuh Broadway Ticket Fund has allowed 111 students to see productions both on and Off- Broadway, including “Waitress” and “The Fountainhead,” as well as the opera. The Fund averages five shows a year, covering the entry ticket, and Sarah Lawrence underwrites transportation for $5 in a van to and from the event.
Feldshuh, who has received multiple Tony and Emmy award nominations, grew up attending shows from nearby Scarsdale. At 13, her parents gave her a subscription to the Metropolitan Opera; ten years later, at just 23, she would first make the Broadway marquee.
“Theater is the original campfire to me. The primary purpose as an actor is to tell a story as vividly as possible, and shed new light on a situation an audience might not have known before,” Feldshuh said in an interview with the Phoenix. “To give the opportunity of togetherness for the Sarah Lawrence student where all of us at the college have enjoyed such individual attention is for me, a dream come true.”
According to Joshua Luce, Director of Student Involvement and Leadership, his office could rarely offer tickets to Broadway before Feldshuh’s donation.
“[Feldshuh] really has done so much, and she’s stayed connected to the college consistently,” Luce said. “At a place like Sarah Lawrence where we have limited funds, these opportunities are so valuable to the student experience.”
First-year theater student Hannah Heiden ‘22, who saw her last Broadway show as a freshman in high school, echoed Luce’s sentiment.
“I wouldn’t have this opportunity otherwise,” Heiden said. “Everyone at this school has seen everything and I haven’t.”
For Heiden, the show was an opportunity to see the principles of her Actor’s Workshop course in action. It was also a chance to connect with fellow Sarah Lawrence students, like Tova Greene ‘22, whom she chatted with after the show.
“One of the powers of theater is it can bring people together,” Greene said. “I met a lot of people today that I wouldn’t have met otherwise, and they’re lovely and we had this experience together.”
Jamie Jordan ‘19