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My B’way Story: Troy Powell – High School Theater Teacher

My Broadway Story

Behind every successful person is a favorite teacher somewhere along the way, whose passion for his or her job helped define a moment in time, or a future.

At Broadway Inbound, performing arts teachers hold a special place in our hearts, as we know these wonderful mentors create experiences both inside and outside the classroom that their students will always remember. It could come in the form of encouraging a student to get involved with the set design for a school musical that leads to a career in the technical field, or a first school trip to Broadway that inspires a dream to perform. Regardless of the exact experience had, we know how one great teacher can impact our lives forever.

Broadway Inbound’s new initiative, “My B’way Story” highlights exceptional teachers, industry members and current students whose lives have been or continue to be changed by Broadway. One exceptional teacher in Tulsa, Oklahoma has consistently enriched the lives of his students for nearly two decades and was kind enough to allow us to highlight his story, below:

My B’way Story-Troy Powell: High School Theater Teacher. Tulsa, Oklahoma

Troy Powell has been teaching theater and fine arts for 19 years at Union High School. Outside of the classroom, he helps produce four improv shows over the summer and a combination of plays and musicals. For students who pursue other activities over the summer months, Troy actively encourages them to get enthusiastic about learning and performing again, by writing and producing a mini musical to kick off the school year.

When we say this is one exceptional teacher, we mean it. Broadway Inbound isn’t the first to recognize Troy. This past year, Troy won honorable mention in the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University 2016 Excellence in Theatre Education Award! The awards are nomination based, and honor dedicated professionals who discover talented students and inspire them to pursue a lifelong career in the arts.

What evidence was there, to result in a nomination for the lifelong impact Troy has had on students? For one, Troy’s former student Eric Cornell is now an executive producer on the new musical Anastasia, coming to the Broadway stage this upcoming spring.

Aside from that, between 100 and 150 students are involved in each of Troy’s productions, the impact of which will be continually felt with the graduation of each generation. Thanks to Troy, college professors come to Union High School to teach master classes in the Arts, and thanks to tireless efforts and grant applications, the school district has received $28 million in scholarships for talented students. All of this amounts to accessibility and opportunity to achieve.

Troy feels honored to see his students continue on to build careers in the art field. “Students walk away from our school feeling like they have an opportunity to succeed!”

So how do we know Troy? Well, aside from the countless other initiatives he spearheads, he leads a school group to Broadway every year in early June in cooperation with Broadway Inbound and one of our most loyal tourism partners.

Tour operator Laurent Tours was born out of the necessity for students to come and enjoy Broadway, and the company caters to school groups both big and small. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this past August, Laurent Tours is a prime example of how a great tour company can help plan extraordinary Broadway experiences. Recently, through Broadway Inbound, Laurent was able to arrange a “Meet the Artist” workshop for Troy’s students.

As each young talent personally interacted with some of Broadway’s most gifted artists and professionals working in the entertainment industry today, we knew we were watching passion spark or ignite in the future generation of the industry. Thanks to Troy and Laurent Tours, countless students are offered a personalized a trip to Broadway resulting in an inspiring experience of a young lifetime.

For those interested in sharing their own Broadway Story, please visit us here.

Author: Ashlyn Grisetti