Bravo for San Mateo theater teachers

Virginia Musante and Brad Friedman are teachers who have made a big difference in the lives of countless students. Earlier this month, they received Hillbarn Theatre’s 2007 Bravo award for their dedication to developing the artistic ability of young people in San Mateo County.

Musante, who directs children in community theater and for the theater department at Notre Dame de Namur University in Belmont these days, taught at Bowditch Middle School in Foster City for decades.

There, she worked magic, often with casts of more than 100 students, in productions including “Oliver!,” “Annie” and “The Sound of Music.” She also acts in local community productions. She has a master’s degree in education from Notre Dame de Namur University; her research focused on establishing creative ways to teach students with special needs through drama.

Friedman, a native San Franciscan, has appeared as an actor and director in the Bay Area for 30 years. Celebrating 15 years as drama director at San Mateo High School, he has been at the helm of some 35 productions, including “To Kill a Mockingbird,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie” and “The Laramie Project.” In 2006 San Mateo High’s “Hello Dolly” won the Best Musical at the American Musical Theatre Schools Honors Program. He also hosts”Bay Area Quiz Kids” on Channel 4 at noon Saturdays.

In other Hillbarn news, the theater company’s Choice Award Winners for its 66th season are:

Favorite play, “The Foreigner”; supporting actor, Ken Boswell; supporting actress, Veronika Olah; actor, Michael Sally; actress, Carolyn Kraetsch; and understudy Kathryn Duggan.

Best musical, “The Music Man,”; lighting design, Donald Coluzzi; set design, Lee Basham; supporting actor, Hunter Lowdon; supporting actress, Claudia McCarley; actor, Russ Bohard; actress, Mindy Lym and Stacey Kennedy; choreography, Joe Duffy; direction, Greg Sudmeier and Toni Tomei.

Songwriters at the Little Fox

Acoustic music fans can see the great David Bromberg — for the first time in a long time — Monday at the Little Fox in Redwood City. After a 17-year absence from the music business, Bromberg recently released a new recording, “Try Me One More Time.”

Then, on Tuesday, singer-songwriter Pegi Young celebrates the release of her CD. Young, wife of Neil Young, makes her live debut singing twangy songs that ponder the tug of war between love and independence.

The recording is a culmination of a lifelong ambition for Young, who began songwriting when she was a teen. Its compositions are an emotional blend of country soul and rock.

Young, who co-founded the Bridge School for special needs children, and has toured the world as a back up singer with her husband, is happy to finally reach an important goal in her life with her new CD.

Both shows start at 8 p.m.; the theater is at 2209 Broadway. Call (650) 369-4119 or visit www.foxdream.com.

jgross@examiner.com

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