The Kennedy Center

Australia’s Talent Development Project


These talented young Australians are graduates of this respected and dynamic music program in Sydney. The Bound For Broadway Scholarship is a creative collaboration with TDP and the American Society of Composers, Artists and Publishers Foundation (ASCAP). The Bound For Broadway Scholarship provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for TDP graduates to work alongside Broadway’s elite musical theatre producers, musical directors, and vocal coaches. 2013’s Bound For Broadway Scholarship recipients are Jacob Neale (Pianist - 2012 TDP Grad.), Jess Pollard (Jazz Singer, Pianist and Composer – 2007 TDP Grad.) and Nicholas Gentile (Music Theatre performer – 2007 & 2009 TDP Grad.). The highly accomplished trio recently auditioned for a panel of Australia’s music industry luminaries and theatre icons to be successfully awarded much-coveted Bound For Broadway Scholarships. Established in 2006, the Bound For Broadway Scholarship is the brainchild of Mary Lopez, TDP Founder, CEO, and Artistic Director, and Michael Kerker, ASCAP Director of Musical Theatre. Mary and Michael share a life-long passion of nurturing and developing talented young musicians through providing opportunities such as the Bound For Broadway Scholarship. Mary Lopez has an enormous love for and knowledge of Australia, its peoples, and its landscape. Her passion for her country has shone through almost 60 significant and spectacular productions that she has staged over her career. Ms. Lopez’s flair for capturing the spirit of Australia through themed productions, huge cast variety spectaculars, and ceremonial events is legendary. From her early career as a music teacher where she formed a boys’ choir in the coal-mining town of Lithgow to the formation of a rugby choir at Epping Boys High School, Ms. Lopez was committed to helping young people be the best they could be. In 1984 she created the concept for the first Schools Spectacular, bringing together a dazzling range of young performers from New South Wales public schools. This massive pageant of performing arts, featuring more than 3,000 singers, dancers, and musicians, is now in its 30th year, with Ms. Lopez at the helm. It is staged at Sydney Entertainment Centre and broadcast nationally on ABC TV. Other major public events, such as An Australian Christmas at Darling Harbour; the NSW Premier’s Concert; the World Indigenous People’s Conference Opening and Closing Ceremonies; the Australia Day Concert at the World Expo in Tsukuba, Japan; the Papal Welcome and Celebration for the Beatification of Mary MacKillop; and Jubilee 2000 at Sydney Super Dome featuring more than 2,000 young performers from Catholic schools are but a few of Ms. Lopez’s significant production credits. The focus of her work is to create and direct productions that are inclusive of those groups that had been left out of standard expressions of Australian cultural life. Her work has always featured and promoted the richness of Australia’s indigenous cultures, the abilities of disabled groups, and the cultural diversity of ethnic minorities. Ms. Lopez’s passion for promoting and nurturing talented young people led her to co-found the Talent Development Project – a unique scheme sponsored by government and private enterprise which prepares young people for careers in the entertainment industry. For 22 years she has been Artistic Director of the program that has produced such success stories as international icons Human Nature; country music sensations The McClymonts, Jedd Hughes and Felicity Urquhart; music director John Foreman; Hi 5 star Nathan Foley; jazz singer Emma Pask; and musical theatre leading man David Harris. Ms. Lopez’s development of talented young Australian entertainers and her contribution to the performing arts was recognized in her appointment as a member of the Order of Australia, one of this country’s highest honors. In 2007, she received the Variety Humanitarian of the Year Award, and in 2010 her contribution to public education and the arts was recognized with an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Western Sydney. Last year, Ms. Lopez was presented the Ted Albert Award For Outstanding Service To Australian Music and a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Australian Event Awards for her remarkable contribution to the Australian Events industry.
Australia's Talent Development Project