More Accusations Brought Forward Against Broadway Break Thru

break.jpg

It looks like Broadway Break Thru isn’t out of the woods yet. Despite claims of having a spotless record, more accusations have been made against the company for not paying its bills. And it looks like legal action is going to be filed against them and their founder, David Petro.

Following the report that Broadway Break Thru has not been paying its guest faculty members for its 2018 summer event, Mr. Petro, released the following statement:

This past week, it’s been shared in the public space that Broadway Break Thru (BBT) has not made full payments to our 2018 College Break Thru (CBT) instructors. I take pride in maintaining the utmost integrity in our organization’s business practices. All of BBT’s instructors have been notified when all stipends will be paid in full plus interest. In the spirit of transparency, I feel responsible to share the details and context on how we got here, and how we are ensuring it does not happen again.

Approximately two weeks after the CBT 2018 intensive, I had an emergency back surgery. An oversight was made in that payments did not go out due to a physical signature being required. Concurrently, my director of operations left due to his mom’s sudden death. The bottom line is that BBT’s CEO and the Director of Operations were unavailable and consequentially, regular business practices were interrupted. A member from my team kept the instructors updated, and as soon as I was able, I reached out to each and every instructor personally. 

A focus of this week’s public messaging is our 2019 CBT programming and approach for marketing this initiative. Our 2019 website was launched during the 2018 CBT summer intensive to promote our upcoming year. We have addressed every concern that’s been raised to us directly. We take responsibility for this matter, but will not allow false narratives.

As a performing artist, educator, and business owner, it is incredibly hard to acknowledge this situation after more than 9 years of a spotless record. As many performers understand, our bodies are our livelihood. To date, I have had 23 medical procedures and 3 surgeries.  Unfortunately, after a period of painful and debilitating forced medical leave, I came back to a business that was withered and a team of professionals and friends hurt by their missing payment.

Yet, as a result of these setbacks, I am excited to report that BBT has been revived as an even more mature and robust organization. We recently partnered with Accelerated Growth, a firm that works with entrepreneurial organizations to manage through these very types of business scenarios growing small businesses often face. We have put new people, systems, structures and policies in place to ensure this never happens again. There is a business management team built around contracts, payment structure, and internal policies to provide peace of mind to our instructors.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out with love, support and gratitude. We are touched to have you in our lives and excited to continue helping students reach their full potential with BBT.

In the statement, Mr. Petro claims that before this issue with guest faculty in 2018, he’s had a spotless record going back the past nine years. However, according to one university, that claim isn’t as accurate as Mr. Petro might believe.

I received the following statement from Jay Berkow, the Director of Musical Theatre Performance at Western Michigan University.

“Broadway Breakthru (BBT) is a company that provides musical theatre experiences for children of all ages from elementary to college students.  In the past few years they have attempted to develop relationships with respected college music theatre programs to provide a one-week summer pre-college camp experience. 

In August 2016 Broadway Breakthru partnered with Western Michigan University to provide such an experience on campus.  Students paid a hefty sum and received training with the faculty from WMU theatre and dance, as well as guest artists and interns.  The agreement with BBT ensured that the fees paid by the students directly to BBT would cover the experience including the faculty fees, housing in the WMU dorms and a meal plan.  BBT has never paid for the contracted housing and meal plan provided by WMU and has left the university with a bill of over $6,000. When WMU attempted to contact BBT director David Petro on numerous occasions, he did not return calls or emails and was unavailable due to a vacation in Italy.  As of now, WMU has no recourse but to take legal action against BBT to attempt to recover the owed funds.

Parents should take note that Broadway Breakthru is not a reputable organization and there are many other options for music theatre training and college prep available to their talented children.”

Given the fact that these events took place in 2016, it conflicts with Mr. Petro’s comment of having a spotless record for the past nine years.

We’ve reached out to Mr. Petro for comment on this inconsistency, we will update this article with any new information.

This is an ongoing story, if you have any information, please email us at onstageblog@gmail.com

Performing Arts Education and Coaching Company Accused of Not Paying its Guest Faculty and Staff

Performing Arts Education and Coaching Company Accused of Not Paying its Guest Faculty and Staff

A performing arts education and audition coaching company is under fire today over claims that it has not paid its guest faculty members for summer workshops and masterclasses even though they had agreements over email regarding compensation.

Read More

Casting Controversy with 'Little Shop' Leads to Anti-Whitewashing Policies at University

Casting Controversy with 'Little Shop' Leads to Anti-Whitewashing Policies at University

Last month, furor erupted within the theatre department at Bowling Green State University in OH over the casting of its production of “Little Shop of Horrors”. The controversy arose when the director of the production cast three white actresses in the roles of Crystal, Ronette and Chiffon, known as the “urchins”.

Read More

The 5 Most Underrated MFA Acting Programs of 2018-19

The 5 Most Underrated MFA Acting Programs of 2018-19

Unlike other industries, getting a master’s degree isn’t necessarily a requirement for theatre professional to succeed. However, for those looking to teach or further their training, there are many strong MFA programs all over the country.

In the past we’ve done a list of who we felt were the best MFA programs out there. This year, we thought we would changing things up by highlighting programs we felt offer excellent educational opportunities that don’t get enough attention.

Read More

The Top 25 B.A. Theatre Programs for 2018-19

The Top 25 B.A. Theatre Programs for 2018-19

One of the big realities of looking at college theatre programs is understanding that a BFA degree is not for everyone. These degrees require a lot of time and a different type of courseload that other majors. For many students, they might not feel that a BFA degree is for them and that's completely okay. 

Pursuing a BA in college is sometimes the best path. It allows students to take different electives, double major, study abroad, try different performance opportunities and also work on projects outside of school. 

While there might be pressure out there to only go after a BFA degree, remember that a BFA degree is not required to be cast or hired for a show. It comes down to your talent, audition or portfolio. And these BA programs are helping prepare their students better than most BFA programs. 

Read More

The Top 10 Graduate Playwriting Programs for 2018-19

The Top 10 Graduate Playwriting Programs for 2018-19

In the past four years we've been doing these rankings, one area of theatre we've neglected to cover is writing. Shame on us for that. Because any theatrical professional knows that the writer is absolutely vital to the creative process. They set the tone for everything that follows. 

So it's about time we started recognizing the excellent playwrighting and screenwriting programs around the country. These schools are doing an incredible job of producing the next generation of writing icons by not only teaching them traditional writing techniques but also how to write for modern day audiences. 

Here are our picks for the 10 best Playwriting Programs for 2018-19. For this list, we're doing only graduate programs.

Read More

The Top 25 BFA Acting/Performance Programs for 2018-19

The Top 25 BFA Acting/Performance Programs for 2018-19

When taking a look at this year's roster of top BFA programs for acting/performance, we considered a lot of different aspects. But one thing we were looking for more than previous years is how these programs are properly preparing their students to tackle the different acting platforms available today. Are they focusing on just theatre or also acting for the camera? What different types of performance opportunities will students have? These types of factors are more than ever for the acting student in the coming new decade. 

Read More

The Top 25 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs for 2018-19

The Top 25 BFA Theatre Design & Tech Programs for 2018-19

While technology always evolving, the landscape for BFA Design & Tech graduates is changing on an annual basis. With those changes, it's important that these college programs evolve as well. 

Students need to be taught traditional techniques in design as well as learn new software and practices. It's equally important that students are trained not only for careers for the stage but for a multitude of different performance settings as well. 

The following programs are great examples of institutions striving to prepare their students for professional careers in the entertainment arts.

Read More

The Top 25 College Dance Programs for 2018-19

The Top 25 College Dance Programs for 2018-19

Today, we kick off our annual rankings with programs in dance. Over the years we've seen careers in dance take off in a number of ways. Broadway is no longer the only destination. Programs are preparing dancers for a number of different types of performance settings and jobs. 

So here is our list of the best college dance programs for this year, both BFA and BA. Please note that non-degree awarding studio programs will not be included in these rankings. 

Read More

Understanding OnStage Blog's College Rankings

Understanding OnStage Blog's College Rankings

For the past three years, OnStage Blog has released its annual rankings of the best colleges in the country for Dance, Design & Tech and Performing for BA, BFA and MFA degrees. Whenever we announce our rankings, some questions arise and they're always the same - How do you come up with your rankings?

Well this year, we've decided to tell you. Here is how we break it all down. 

Read More