Students Receive $500,000 in College Scholarships at Chicago’s New “College Break Thru” Performing Arts Program

It was an evening of cheers and celebration as the first “College Break Thru” program concluded on Friday, June 29th with 500,000 in college scholarships begin passed out to students! Parents, supporters, and program faculty gathered at the University Center in downtown Chicago to close out the 5-day intensive program that welcomed 56 of the country’s top performing arts students for high caliber classes and exclusive auditions.

“College Break Thru” founder David Petro welcomed everyone and shared his personal thoughts on why he created the program before introducing Tony-Award winning producer Yael Silver, Marjory Stoneman Douglas drama teacher Melody Herzfeld and American Musical and Dramatic Academy faculty member Chrissy Whitehead. Together, Petro & Herzfeld announced winners for the half a million dollars in Texas State and Ball State Scholarships while Whitehead announced winners of AMDA Scholarships.


“College Break Thru” is the newest program under the BROADWAY BREAK THRU brand and is designed for incoming high school students who have a strong interest in musical theatre, dance, voice and acting.

With twenty-three of the country’s top performing arts schools in attendance, “College Break Thru” gives students an extra advantage by conducting pre-auditions and providing feedback from the decision makers who will be in their real college auditions. Petro is providing an opportunity that's never existed before and doesn't exist anywhere else.

“I created this program so students can receive the tools needed to excel at auditions, performances and get into college programs,” explains Petro, a Disney, Nickelodeon and Broadway Casting Director as well as former Broadway performer. “ Growing up in Chicago I was provided an elite arts education and I want the next generation to have the same opportunities.”

University faculty members from the following institutions participated: American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA), Ball State, The Boston Conservatory at Berklee, CAP 21, Carnegie Mellon, Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, Columbia College, DePaul University, Emerson College, Indiana University, The Juilliard School, Northwestern University, the University of Michigan School of Music, Theatre & Dance, NYU, Pace University, Point Park University, Roosevelt University's Chicago College of Performing Arts, Texas State, Yale School of Drama, in addition to Stewart Talent agency, and Second City Chicago.

This year’s program featured the Melody Herzfeld Scholarship for CBT which supports one student from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to attend the program annually. This year’s recipient was Sawyer Garrity, who performed the song “Shine” at a CNN Town Hall and was also featured at the March for Our Lives concert in Washington D.C.

College Break Thru Summer Intensive 2019 is scheduled for June 24 - 28, 2019 in Chicago. An early registration fee of $2195 ($400 off the regular price) is being offered to anyone that signs up between June 25, 2018 -September 1, 2018. For a list of 2018 scholarship winners please visit