The Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts held its 20th Anniversary Gala on October the 15th, 2012. This event gathered over 200 friends, family, and alumni at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto. Together, they enjoyed a dinner and an alumni studded concert. The Honorary Chair of the evening was David Mirvish of Mirvish Productions, who spoke about the long-standing relationship that the Randolph Academy and Mirvish Productions has shared since the Academy's founding in 1992.
"I was asked to speak tonight about the Randolph Academy's past. When I sat down to write my notes, I began to realise how closely the Academy's tracks with that of Mirvish Productions," said Mirvish speaking at the event. Indeed, you could describe the relationship as 'symbiotic'; Mirvish Productions was established in part to employ Canadian talent, while the Randolph Academy was established to train Canadian talent, thus making it employable." Mr. Mirvish went on to comment that almost all of Mirvish's productions since then have had at least one graduate of the Academy in it. Their current production of War Horse has both a graduate and a former faculty member in the cast.
"George, it has been a thrilling twenty years," said Mr. Mirvish, turning his attention to George Randolph, founder of the Academy. "I count myself lucky to have started this journey with you. I could not be happier to help you celebrate this milestone in the Randolph Academy's history. I look forward to many more opportunities to look back at the successes past and to many more dreams to fulfill."
One of the notable events at the Gala was the first Gregory Hines Performing Arts Mentorship Award. Hines and Randolph met back in the 1970's when Hines was appearing on Broadway in Sophisticated Ladies and Randolph was a dancer at the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre. The two struck up a friendship that has transcended Hines' passing with the creation of this award. "To honour my friend and to keep his legacy alive, I've decided to create this award in his honour and present it to an individual who has shown excellence in his or her craft, one who has become a mentor for other aspiring artists" said Randolph. The award itself is a 12" sculpture created by well know Canadian artist, Boris Kramer, and is entitled The Mentor.
This honour was given to Tara Young, former student of the Academy, and now the Artistic Director of Cirque du Soleil for Michael Jackson: The Immortal World Tour. The award recognised her efforts to spread her love and knowledge of the performing arts. "We have nothing to prove, only to share," said Young accepting the award via video from London's O2 Arena. "That is part of the greatness that we can do in the entertainment industry; it's sharing the gifts that we have and our own brilliance."
Donations were taken at the event, through direct monetary contributions, to items bid on in the silent auction. The Randolph Academy's sponsors for the event, David Mirvish and The Slaight Family Foundation both gave generously to the school.
One of the popular auction items was a dinner with George Randolph himself, and because of the fast and furious bidding, the auctioneers had to allow two women the prize. "I am looking forward to the wonderful dinners," said Mr. Randolph.
George C. Randolph Jr., the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts is a Private Career College, children's recreational program and youth show choir program, providing world-class performing arts training to young artists. Distinguished faculty and entertainment industry professionals shape Triple Threat™ skills of dancing, acting, and singing. No other curriculum presents such a focused perspective on building the Triple Threat™ skills, essentials for future success in the highly competitive performing arts industry.
College alumni and faculty have contributed to projects such as Rent, Disney's Beauty and the Beast, Mamma Mia, Fosse, The Little Mermaid, Hairspray, The Sound of Music, 42nd Street, Dirty Dancing, Chicago, West Side Story, We Will Rock You!, Bombay Dreams, Jersey Boys, The Producers, Rock of Ages, and Jesus Christ Superstar.