Corey Mitchell, head of the musical theatre department of Northwest School of the Arts, is the recipient of the inaugural Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Teacher of the Year Award presented by The ASCAP Foundation and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA). The annual award recognizes the highest level of achievement for a high school or middle school musical theatre teacher and comes with a $5,000 cash prize. This prestigious award is made possible by a grant from the Annenberg Foundation made in honor of Stephen Schwartz.
The award was presented by Stephen Schwartz and the award judges, lyricist and librettist Lynn Ahrens and composer and lyricist Andrew Lippa, as part of the Virtual International Thespian Festival on June 24. The presentation was hosted by Megan Hilty of NBC's Smash, whose roles include Glinda the Good Witch in Wicked written by Schwartz.
"It's a tremendous honor to accept this on the behalf of so many teachers out there because this is a crazy year, but somehow all of my theatre teacher friends are persevering through it and figuring out a way to make this happen even more," said Mitchell. "From the bottom of my heart and on behalf of everybody that I work with now, and that I've worked within the past, thank you so much. Thank you!"
Mitchell, a teacher for 25 years, is the recipient of multiple awards, including the first Excellence in Theatre Education Tony Award in 2015.
In nominating Mitchell for the award, Mean Girls star Renee Rapp recalled her former teacher's drive for excellence.
"He challenged us all to bring our best, never settle and strive to keep getting better," said Rapp. "He helped us understand not only the theater, but also the importance of our relationships in general, and he explained both were important skills regardless of the career path we chose."