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The Great White Way of Higher Learning

by Byron Laursen

"Kid," they used to say, "There's a broken heart for every light on Broadway." Now, instead, there may soon be a diploma for each of those seductive lights. And fewer broken hearts.

Veteran producer Bruce J. Lazarus, the noted show business attorney retained by Walt Disney Theatrical Productions as Director of Business and Legal Affairs for both THE LION KING and BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, is the creator of a brand-new institute of learning: Broadway University. He figures there could be less heartbreak, smoother careers, and a healthier, more diverse theatrical scene if aspiring - and even veteran - producers, writers, actors, directors, etc.,. could build their dreams on a firmer foundation of Broadway know-how. BroadywayU is the delivery system for that valuable and specialized knowledge.

Undoubtedly the newest territory within New York City's groves of academe, BroadwayU began sharing behind-the-scenes wisdom with an imaginative and helpful slate of classes that began early in February of 1998.

Some utilize telephone bridge technology, which allows up to 150 people to call in and share an interactive, give-and-take seminar with an expert in a given facet of Broadway's complex community of artists and businesspeople.

Some, such as a 12-week series on producing commercial theater to be led by Mr. Lazarus, beginning March 26th, will bring students and faculty face-to-face in a classroom.

While an informative website, BroadwayUniversity.com, is available for computerphiles, taking advantage of BroadwayU's curriculum only requires a telephone and/or the ability to get from place to place in New York City.

The very first TeleClass, held February 3rd, drew participants from all over the U.S. and Canada. Dana Singer, formerly Director of The Dramatist's Guild and author of the recently-published THE STAGE WRITER'S HANDBOOK, lectured and fielded questions on the topic of Negotiating Author agreements.

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