Elizabeth Baker is an angel for fine arts in Georgetown. As the founder of Angel Fountain Educational Endowment, Inc., she is currently staging and planning her second “On Broadway” show at the Klett Performing Arts Center. The show is April 7, 8 and 9 and tickets are on sale now.
The show includes music her four Broadway actors are currently performing, songs she says attendees will recognize and enjoy.
Baker’s career was nothing like what she is doing in her retirement. As the owner of the first paralegal freelance service in Texas, she also nurtured a lifelong love of musical theater, something she was able to enjoy to the fullest, in part, thanks to her high school BFF Raymond Jaramillo McLeod.
You may not recognize his face, but McLeod is one of the best baritones ever to be on the Broadway stage and you know his voice. He is a favorite Disney voiceover artist and among his credits are Aladdin, Pocahontas and the singing voice of Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid.
Baker moved to Georgetown in 2012 and has been producing similar revues since 2008. “I decided to build something around Ray (McLeod) in our hometown to showcase his amazing talent. We’ve been doing shows around the country every year since and I am focusing on Georgetown right now. GISD has an amazing fine arts program and they really appreciate the program we bring here. The Endowment gives back 60 percent of the proceeds from the Broadway show to the GISD Fine Arts program.”
The mission of Angel Fountain is to provide small or underserved public school districts with a quality educational experience and support in musical theater and the arts via master classes and financial endowments.
Baker says, “Bringing Broadway stars direct to Georgetown to teach the students brings a whole new universe to the kids. Broadway performers are not household names like movie actors, but they are megastars none the less. Being able to work with people like Raymond, or Carter Calvert shows these young people that there are limitless possibilities for a fulfilling career in the arts.”
A large part of the Angel Fountain experience is the Master Class program taught by McLeod. Baker says McLeod has no trouble having one to hundreds of students in the palm of his hand when he teaches. “It’s not just about music, it’s about confidence, projection; even how to prepare and nail an audition. He donates his time completely and makes each person feel valued.”
For his part, McLeod says the best part of teaching is “seeing that brightness in the students’ eyes when they finally understand what I’m trying to bring them to.”
A star in his own right, McLeod got his first role on Broadway by auditioning in four languages and later in his career realized he had an ability to help people solve voice or projection problems that were holding them back. “I started talking and teaching fellow singers and I loved being able to recognize and help them. When I’m not on stage, I’m in my studio teaching the next generations and I love both equally.”
McLeod’s Master Classes are free to students and include projection, acting techniques and audition focus. “It doesn’t matter if they want to make it a career, I want to help them with presence and even how to take rejection because that’s a big part of the lifestyle.”
Baker is thrilled to have her teachers and performers come direct from New York City to teach and perform this class.
“Our performers this year are outstanding. Carter Calvert singing ‘Memory’ from Cats is worth the price of admission. Jennifer Hope Wills has been acting since she was one year old and Oliver has an award-winning one man show.”
The theme of the show will be all the breakthrough roles for the actors and Baker says “It is a lot of hard work but unlike a lot of jobs, this is joyous work. When the kids are on the stage singing the encore song, you will see me in tears watching their dreams beginning to come true.”
Visit AngelFountain.org for information about the show.