Education at Roundabout: Violet

Posted on: June 17th, 2014 by Roundabout


On April 9, more than 625 students from seven high schools and five middle schools across all five boroughs of New York City attended the all-student matinee of Violet. For many students, Violet was their first Broadway show. In the two weeks before the student matinee, Roundabout Teaching Artists visited classrooms to lead pre-show workshops that prepared students for the historical context of the musical and the production's artistic conventions. On the morning of the show, 50 freshman from FDR High School engaged in a workshop at the American Airlines Theatre, fulfilling the roles of actors, designers and marketing staff. The students researched, designed and performed two excerpts from Violet in just two hours.

Students from FDR High School

After the show, all students engaged in a post-performance discussion and talkback with nine members of the cast. Students were asked to respond to the prompt "Violet is about..." in three words or less, and to cite a moment from the play that supported their keywords. Thalia Sablon, an Education at Roundabout high school intern, analyzed the responses to identify the most prominent themes seen by students and created a visual representation of those response you see in the visual display below, which is also on view in the Penthouse Lobby, located on the fifth floor of the American Airlines Theatre.

After the show, Emerson Steele (Young Violet) interviewed high school students about the show and its important message about true beauty.


Education at Roundabout serves over 6,000 students annually through in-school partnerships, transforming classrooms into theatres, and our theatres into classrooms. Help us impact students' lives at schools across New York City. You support will help Roundabout engage students with transformative arts programs and theatregoing experiences like Violet. Visit our website to learn more and to make a gift.

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2013-2014 Season, Education @ Roundabout, Violet

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Televangelism: A Service or a Show?

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by Roundabout


In the musical Violet, Violet begins her journey to Tulsa, Oklahoma to seek out a famous Preacher whom she hopes can heal her scarred face.

Violet’s ability to see a Preacher from Tulsa on television in her home state of North Carolina is a result of a rise in religious broadcasting in the early 1960s. The term “televangelism” was first coined by Time magazine to describe the American fusion of television and evangelical Christianity. Hallmarks of evangelicalism include an emphasis on conversions and born-agains, activist spreading of the gospel, strict adherence to the Bible, and a stress on Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. In 1960, a new ruling by the Federal Communications Commission allowed independent preachers access to more network airtime than previously permitted, and evangelicals seized upon the new technology to spread their word.

Televangelism has roots in the late 19th century urban revival movement. To reach an industrialized, urban society, independent ministers employed emotional preaching styles, along with music and displays of faith healing, to attract converts. Billy Sunday, one of the most popular preachers of the early 20th century, infused his services with showmanship and amusement; he also built one of the most profitable independent religious organizations in his day.

With the advent of radio in the 1920s, evangelists saw the ability to reach more followers. Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Church of the Foursquare Gospel, used the radio to spread “the story of hope, the words of joy, of comfort, of salvation.” In 1937, “The Old Fashioned Revival Hour” with Baptist Charles E. Fuller reached around 10 million listeners on 30 nationwide stations. When mainline Protestant organizations took steps to limit the predominance of evangelicals on the air, the national Religious Broadcasters formed in 1944 to advocate for evangelicals’ access to both paid and free airtime.


Aimee Semple McPherson during one of her services.


Television sets became household items by the early 1950s, and the so-called “first televangelist” appeared in 1951. The religious program “Life Is worth Living” with Catholic priest Fulton J. Sheen ran until 1957 and reached approximately 30 million viewers each week. In 1952, Rex Humbard built the Cathedral of Tomorrow in Akron, Ohio to accommodate equipment, a crew, a chorus, and seating for 5,000. Humbard declared that God wished preachers to use television to spread the Christian Gospel throughout the United States, and religious television soon became the domain of evangelicals.

Oral Roberts, whose Healing waters ministry was based in Tulsa, Oklahoma, was one of the most famous televangelists of the 20th century. Roberts claimed to have been cured of tuberculosis at age 17 at a tent revival meeting. He began preaching and faith healing in tents before going on radio and then on television in 1955 with his show “Your Faith is Power.” Unlike his contemporaries Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and Pat Robertson, Roberts did not promote political views on his pulpit and spread a universal message of hope, combined with promises of health, happiness, and prosperity.


Oral Roberts in his office.


Most televangelists preach the “prosperity gospel,” which holds that God rewards the faithful with material success. Critics point at the wealth acquired by these entrepreneurial preachers and a wave of corruption scandals to question the purity of their acts.Televangelists say their “electronic church” is a medium to spread the Gospel to modern American society, offering a clear message that anyone can understand. However one views the phenomenon, televangelism today is a billion-dollar industry that attracts 16 million viewers, nearly 8% of the television viewing audience.


This article features in our Upstage playgoers guide for Violet

Violet plays at the American Airlines Theatre through August 10. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2013-2014 Season, Violet

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Violet Casting News

Posted on: June 11th, 2014 by Roundabout


We are pleased to announce that Tony Award winner Levi Kreis (Million Dollar Quartet) will join the company of Violet as “The Preacher,” beginning performances Tuesday, July 1, 2014. Violet stars two-time Tony Award® winner Sutton Foster, Colin Donnell, Alexander Gemignani and Tony Award nominee Joshua Henry. The Tony nominated production plays a strictly limited engagement at Broadway’s American Airlines Theatre through August 10, 2014.

Levi Kreis made his Broadway debut originating the role of Jerry Lee Lewis in the Tony nominated musical Million Dollar Quartet for which he received the 2010 Tony Award, Outer Critics Circle Award, and Drama League nomination. Levi also contributed musical arrangements to the score. Other theater credits include Smokey Joe’s Cafe, The Leading Men Of Broadway, One Red Flower, and Rent. Films include Frailty, Don’t Let Go, A Thousand Words and Silencers. As a singer/songwriter, Levi’s recordings have been featured on “The Vampire Diaries,” “So You Think You Can Dance,” “Mob Wives,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “The Apprentice,” “Days Of Our Lives,” and “Young & The Restless.”

The cast of Violet also includes Annie Golden, Emerson Steele, Austin Lesch, Anastasia McCleskey, Charlie Pollock, Jacob Keith Watson, Rema Webb and Virginia Ann Woodruff. Ben Davis will play his final performance as “The Preacher” on Sunday, June 29, 2014.

Violet plays at the American Airlines Theatre through August 10. For more information and tickets, please visit our website.

Related Categories:
2013-2014 Season, Violet

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