Tony nominee from Medford treating his former teacher to this weekend's award ceremony
A Burlington County native is crediting his middle school performing arts teacher with his success in the Broadway business.
Producer Seth Goldstein, of Medford, is thanking her with a trip of a lifetime this weekend.
It had been more than 20 years since Goldstein stepped on stage at Medford Memorial Middle School.
This week, Goldstein reunited with his performing arts teacher, Linda Cecil, ahead of a big weekend.
"We'll be holding hands and hoping for a win," Goldstein said, who is nominated for a Tony award.
He will bring Cecil as his date.
"Your wildest dream is to have your students succeed in the performing arts as a performing arts teacher, and to succeed like Seth has and then to invite me to the Tonys, seriously, I cried and then ran around the house screaming," Cecil said with laughter.
Cecil retired in 2020, in the middle of the pandemic, which meant there was no retirement celebration.
A GoFundMe was set up to raise the money to treat her to the ultimate retirement party at the Tonys this Sunday.
"The community loves her. We reached and then exceeded our goal within less than 48 hours, and people are still donating as recently as last week because they love you, and we didn't have a chance to have a retirement ceremony and thank you in person for everything you've done for all of us," Goldstein said.
Goldstein said her impact as a teacher was immeasurable for not only him, but his class as well.
"You opened up a lot of doors for us and you showed us that there were opportunities that if we wanted to pursue them, people would support us in doing that and making that kind of investment in your students at that age is a lifelong impact and I'm deeply appreciative," Goldstein said.
"He was one in 1 million, seriously, you were one in 1 million. He was just so much fun your class and particularly you would make me smile when they walked into the room because I knew we were just going to have fun and just explore the performing arts together," Cecil recalled.
It's classes like those that Cecil said are why she became a teacher. She said this weekend is the icing on the cake.
"It's a dream come true for every teacher, a dream come true, absolutely! You're the best," Cecil said.
Goldstein was nominated for Best Play for the Lehman Trilogy.
If he wins, this will be his second Tony Award.