Youth Sing and Dance to Educate About Human Rights and Children's Rights
by Denise McGahee

Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater, FL (1888PressRelease) July 30, 2009 - A stage filled with youth, from ages 2 years of age to 17, will not only sing and dance their hearts out for their audience, but they will also entertain them with skits that educate their audience about human rights, in a one-of-a-kind Broadway production of “Annie Jr.”. A night of fun will also enlighten the audience aware of how easy children’s rights can be violated. The show takes place on Saturday, August 8, at 6:00 p.m. at the Francis Wilson Playhouse Theater.

Presented by International Youth Theater, “Annie Jr.” is based on the winner of seven Tony Awards Broadway show, “Little Orphan Annie”. But the August 8th production is above the ordinary as it is brought about by youth who love both the art of theater and the education of human rights and the evening will intertwine them both. A play written for children filled with funny lines, singing and dancing, it still carries a message of how children’s human rights can be so easily violated.

Producer Doria Kintzel chose “Annie Jr.” to entertain and to enlighten. When most people think of human rights violations, they think of refugees in war-torn countries or political prisoners. But children can have their human rights violated in many ways. For example, verbal, mental and physical abuse is a violation of Human Right #5 No Torture. And when children’s rights are violated it is in contradiction to Human Right #30 No One Can Take Away Your Human Rights. And of course, the production is a symbol of Human Right #19 Freedom of Expression; a freedom children of all ages should be able to experience.

International Youth Theater, located in Clearwater, Florida, has the mission assisting the development of young artist while enlightening them on their abilities and responsibilities to help improve human rights around the world. It is working with Youth for Human Rights Florida, which has the goal of educating people on the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, both in and out of the classroom.

“Outside the classroom educating someone about a human right has unlimited possibilities,” says Dustin McGahee, President of Youth for Human Rights Florida. “Just recently we have sponsored a refugee camp educating others on Human Right # 3 ‘The Right to Life’ and entertained the audience during intermission of a World Pop concert to educate about ‘Freedom of Expression’. But “Annie Jr.” as it highlights children’s rights in a new wave of art in the combining of education of people’s rights and the arts.”

The director, Sky Kintzel, at age 14 is directing his second theatrical production, after debuting his career last year with “Into the Woods, Jr.”. Acting in Broadway plays since he was nine, Sky has played a variety of roles. He says his goals lie in the area of being an actor, but he wants to direct to get experience on the “other end” of being the actor. “I like working with the kids,” says Sky. “Kids are very talented and ‘raw’. They have opinions but they are more accepting then adults to new ideas.”

But besides the director, all the actors and actresses are new to Broadway, and this is a new experience for them all.

The main character, Annie, is played by Tabs Marshall, age 11. She has been singing her whole life, but she is very excited about the show, as this is her first Broadway stage production. Tabs is also interested in human rights and thinks there should be a “Right to Laugh”. Although this is not an official human right, she has a good point when she makes you look at how would life be if you weren’t allowed to laugh?

Gabby Durand, who plays Miss Hannigan, is the oldest actress on stage at only 17. Gabby’s singing is so strong and confident it is hard to believe that she only started singing Broadway songs only one year ago.

Wearing a lot of pink clothes is not something Shir Ezra, age 10, does not do to define her personality, and that is exactly why she likes playing the character “Star-to-be”, a personality much different than Shir’s real life.

Arianna Lorenzini, age 11, plays the funny dogcatcher but also has the responsibility as the Human Rights Ambassador for the production. Well educated in Human Rights, Arianna realized at a young age the importance of these rights. She feels people who do not have their human rights are not respected, and she wants to see all people respected.

Don’t be surprised if you see some crazy excitement when Joshua Marshall, age 15, struts onto the stage as the character of “Rooster”. Josh has been tap dancing since the age of three, but he is also trained in ballroom dancing, swing, pop, lock, and break dancing. Mixed together he will have a combination of moves that will excite and surprise the audience.

Twelve year old, Connor Hillman, who does a great impersonation of the older man says he feels that Human Right #19, Freedom of Expression, covers many areas such as the arts and free speech. “I like to be able to say what is on my mind,” says Connor. “That is probably why I like human rights.”

Not all the talent is on the stage during the production. Multi-talented Martina Zerbo, age 12, is the choreographer. Martina has danced all her life and been on stage since she was only 5 years old, but this is her first time working as a choreographer. Martina states, “My idea for the dances is simple but exciting. I keep it simple for the young kids to learn and exciting enough for the audience.”

Tickets for the show are only $40, with VIP seating available upon request. You can purchase tickets by going online at (www dot internationalyouththeater dot com) The August 8 performance is a one-time only benefit show for Youth for Human Rights of Florida.

The Francis Wilson Playhouse Theater is located at 302 Seminole Street, Clearwater, Florida 33755, (going north on Fort Harrison Street turn west just one traffic light north of Drew Street).

For more information contact: International Youth Theater at 727-523-8889.



Youth teach public about human rights

July 15, 2009--

CLEARWATER – Area youth have joined with youth around the world to bring awareness to children and adults about the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Dustin McGahee, 18, of Clearwater, is president of Youth for Human Rights of Tampa Bay, which recently collected 2,500 signatures to petition Gov. Charlie Crist to teach the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in all Florida schools.

The declaration was written by Eleanor Roosevelt and the United Nations in 1948 and consists of 30 human rights enforced by international law. Some of the rights include the right to life, the right to a trial, the freedom to move, the right to privacy, the right to a nationality, the right to marriage, and the rights of no discrimination, no slavery, no torture, no unfair detainment. Youth for Human Rights International has picked up this cause.

“People need to know about human rights because if no one knows about them and no one demands them, then things kind of get out of control,” McGahee said.

One of the original intentions of the declaration was to teach it in schools, McGahee said, but 60 years later, that still has not happened.

The group speaks at schools and other venues about human rights and shows a 28-minute DVD that illustrates each of the 30 human rights.

“It helps move from an idealistic dream to more of a reality,” said Sean Dobbe, 17, of Belleair. Dobbe is another member of Youth for Human Rights of Tampa Bay.

Youth for Human Rights also recently sponsored an entire refugee camp in Africa by buying 109 mosquito nets. Malaria is the number one killer of children in African refugee camps, so the nets help protect them from the disease-carrying mosquitoes at night, which is when most mosquitoes bite, McGahee said.

Youth for Human Rights of Tampa Bay has teamed up with other Youth for Human Rights International members, bringing 14-year-old Sky Kintzel of Chicago in to direct the play, Annie Jr., with all the proceeds benefiting Youth for Human Rights. The play is by kids, for kids, and the group will show the human rights DVD before the show to help bring awareness about human rights.

Some of the members of Youth for Human Rights take what they’ve learned through the group into their personal lives as well. Dobbe is working on his Boy Scout’s Eagle Scout rank, and for his service project, he is going to help renovate the American Indian burial mound and museum in Philippe Park in Safety Harbor. Dobbe realized that a lot of his project relates to human rights, such as the freedom of thought and religion, the freedom of expression, and no discrimination. He intends to build a fence and shell path around the mound, build posts in the different directions so people can make offerings and to make the displays more inclusive toward all American Indians. Right now there are things that can be deemed offensive, such as a cartoon Indian on one of the signs, he said.

Youth for Human Rights impacts young people like Dobbe all around the world. Jonathan Schneider, 17, and his sister, Nicole, 15, of Ticeino, Switzerland, are visiting Clearwater for the summer and have joined up with the local chapter of the organization. Jonathan said word about the United Declaration of Human Rights is spreading in Europe because of kids in the organization.

Sirio Balmelli of Italy agreed.

Balmelli, 21, attends St. Petersburg College and has been involved in Youth for Human Rights since it was still forming because his mother is friends with Taron Lexton, the creator of the accompanying human rights DVD. Balmelli said these rights really hit home when he volunteered for two months in India.

“Here in the west, they’re taken for granted,” Balmelli said. “We’re like, oh yeah, there are human rights, but people tend to skip over the fact that human rights are kind of what differentiates the east from the west. ... If you go east, it dawns on you a bit that people think this is the way it is and God willed it to be this way and this is my fate and there’s nothing I can do about it. But human rights instills that idea that there is something you can do about it. You are a person, you are unique, you have human rights and it gives rise to this concept of individualism that is sort of lost when you’re in between a billion and a half people.”

All the students agreed that the best way to bring human rights to the world is to let people know about them and that they have the right to demand them.

For McGahee, his short-term goal is to get human rights taught in all Florida schools as a part of the curriculum. Jonathan seeks an even larger goal.

“There are people doing drugs because there are no human rights,” Jonathan said. “There’s slavery because there’s no human rights. There’s racism because there’s no human rights. My goal would be to bring human rights to everyone everywhere so all these bad things could stop. The roots of all these problems are because they don’t have human rights.”

The play, Annie Jr. is Saturday, Aug. 8, 6 p.m. at the Francis Wilson Playhouse Theatre, 302 Seminole St., Clearwater. Cost is $40 per ticket. Call 512-8889 for tickets.

Youth for Human Rights is sponsored by the Human Rights Office of the Church of Scientology International.
Article published on Wednesday, July 15, 2009
Copyright © Tampa Bay Newspapers: All rights reserved.


Annie Jr. Comes to Clearwater

June 30, 2009--
The International Youth Theater (IYT) is proud to announce their 2nd annual summer day camp spectacular. The camp will run the last couple of weeks in July and culminate with a 6 pm show on August 8th sponsored by Buzzazz Internet Marketing Solutions. This year’s musical will be a fun and dynamic version of the Broadway smash hit “Annie”. IYT will perform 1 show only at the Francis Wilson Playhouse in downtown Clearwater Florida.

We are so very excited to have kids from Italy, America and all over working together to create this year’s “Molto Bella” (very beautiful) version of Walt Disney Productions “Annie Jr.”. With the current conditions being what they are throughout the world today - knowing the proceeds will all be going to the Youth for Human Rights organization – makes it all the more fulfilling for us all. – Doria Kintzel

The show’s director will be Sky Kintzel, a 14 year old from North West Indiana who is not only a director but also an acting veteran of many Chicagoland theatre productions. Last summer, Sky made his directorial debut with the IYT’s production of “Into the Woods” – a very funny play that intertwined favorite nursery stories – such as Little Red Riding Hood & Jack and the Beanstalk with musical melodies that kept the Chicagoland crowds entertained throughout.

The cast for this years performance will consist of a large number of youths under the age of 18, ethnic background does not matter - all interested participants are invited to contact IYT for this or future productions.

A select number of $40 tickets are selling fast; $100 front row seats are still available. All net proceeds will be given to the non profit organization - Youth for Human Rights.


Buzzazz Sponsors Children Theatre

October 8, 2008 --
The play, based off of a Smash Broadway Hit, had the audience laughing with delight. When a Baker and his Wife learn they've been cursed with childlessness by the Witch next door, they embark on a quest for the special objects required to break the spell, swindling, deceiving and stealing from Cinderella, Little Red Ridding Hood, Rapunzel and Jack (the one who climbed the beanstalk!)

With unforgettable roles, little dancing and no chorus, Into The Woods Junior showcases a medium-sized ensemble of talented singers and actors, where each performer shoulders an equal weight. The sophisticated score has been adapted to make it easier - though still challenging - for young performers. Equally at home in large or intimate spaces, Into The Woods Junior is a funny and engaging way to get young people to think about the stories with which they've grown up and the ethical issues raised therein. For such a young age, Sky is an already accomplished actor.

He has been performing in local theatre for many years and can now add "Directing" to his growing resume. His aspirations of Broadway seem to be getting close within reach. The plays primary sponsor - Buzzazz Internet Marketing Solutions - would like to thank Sky and all of the other participants who performed for the local crowds. It was a very memoriable day!

Press release


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