Nick Jonas Set to Host 2012 Broadway Jr. Festivities, 5/29

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Nick Jonas – the popular singer/songwriter who is currently starring in the Tony-nominated How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying – will serve as master of ceremonies as hundreds of students from middle and intermediate New York City Public Schools in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Manhattan make their Broadway debut on stage at the Shubert Theatre (225 W. 44 St.) on Tuesday, May 29 at 10:30 a.m., the culminating event of the 7th annual Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Student Program. The students will perform a song from their school's production of a student version of a Broadway musical, including Annie JR., Once on this Island JR., Disney's Aladdin JR., Guys and Dolls JR., Bugsy Malone JR., Meredith Willson's The Music Man JR., Dear Edwina JR., Fame JR., Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR., and Thoroughly Modern Millie JR. 

This special student Broadway performance is the year-end celebration of the Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program, a ground-breaking musical theater mentorship program which builds self-sustaining theater programs in public schools that have limited arts programming. The program is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, Music Theatre International (MTI) and The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The May 29 event is produced by New York City's educational musical theater consulting firm iTheatrics. Use of The Shubert Theatre has been provided by The Shubert Organization.

Among those expected to be on hand to join Mr. Jonas and the NYC students in the celebration of the 2012 Broadway JR. Program will be Robert E. Wankel, Co-CEO and President of The Shubert Organization; Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; and Freddie Gershon, Chairman and CEO of MTI, creator of the Broadway Junior program and a recipient of both the 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre and a Mayoral Proclamation in honor of MTI's 60th anniversary from the City of New York.

The Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program aims to engage as many students as possible in all aspects and areas of the arts. In the first year of the program teachers and students are guided step-by-step through the process of producing a first-ever musical in their schools. In the second year, teachers and students continue to receive support and encouragement on their second musical, but take ownership over their productions. In the third year and beyond, schools present a musical independently, and now serve as inspiration for other schools involved in earlier cycles of the program.

The program was founded in the 2005-2006 school year. To date, 34 schools have participated in the program. Twenty-two schools are currently involved in the 2011-2012 program, including six first-year schools; three second-year schools; and 13 'graduated' schools that have worked to develop and building sustainable theater education programs.

Many of the students in participating in the Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program had not ever seen a musical prior to their involvement. What a difference a school year makes: now choruses of "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" from Annie JR. by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin and "Why We Tell the Story" from Once on this Island JR. by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are soaring down the hallways in public schools as students rehearse. In addition to performing a selection from a musical on Broadway at the May 29th event, each school will present its full musical in its community.

Over this year, teachers from the first and second year schools attended three Professional Development workshops which took them step-by-step through the process of putting on a show in their community and were led by master teachers from iTheatrics. The teachers returned to their schools, selected their musical, held auditions and cast the show. Later in the year each first year school cast participated in an in-school musical workshop with master teachers from iTheatrics. They were guided through the entire process by a production advisor provided by a partnering organization, ArtsConnection, who supported them in their school throughout the production process.

The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,600 schools. The Department of Education supports universal access to arts education through the ArtsCount initiative, which tracks and reports student participation in arts education and holds schools accountable for meeting New York State Instructional Requirements for the Arts. For more information visit, www.schools.nyc.gov.

Since 2005, The Shubert Foundation has provided more than $1.7 million to the New York City Department of Education for Arts Education/Theatre programs. This year marks the Foundation's seventh year providing funds for The Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway Junior program.

The Shubert Foundation is the nation's largest private foundation dedicated to unrestricted funding of not-for-profit theatres, with a secondary focus on dance, and is especially interested in professional resident theatres that develop and produce new and significant work that expands the American theatrical repertoire. The Foundation is also committed to making quality theatre accessible nationwide, by extending support to theatre companies and groups that work on behalf of the underserved populations. The Shubert Foundation, Inc. was established in 1945 by the legendary team of the brothers Lee and J.J. Shubert who produced more than 520 plays, musicals and revues as well as owned and operated a nationwide network of legitimate theatres. For more information visit, www.shubertfoundation.org.

Music Theatre International (MTI) www.mtishows.com, is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting schools as well as amateur and professional theatres from around the world the rights to perform the largest selection of great musicals from Broadway and beyond. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these shows to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 60,000 theatrical organizations in the US and in over 60 countries. MTI is particularly dedicated to the idea of theatre as education and has created special collections for younger audiences including The Broadway Junior Collection® which features 60-minute adaptations of major musicals designed for middle school children to perform, and the MTI KIDS Collection®, which provides 30-minute musicals for performance by elementary school children. MTI also hosts MTI ShowSpace, www.mtishowspace.com, a free online community giving thespians and fans a space to connect with anyone and everyone involved in the theatrical process.

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