Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off

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Broadway is shining the spotlight on the importance of musical theater programs in schools by endorsing Musicals in our Schools Week happening March 19-23, 2012. Through Musicals in our Schools Week afterschool programs, children's theaters, schools, community theaters, performing arts centers and professional theaters will advocate for educational musical theater locally, nationally and globally. The program will be held annually in the third full week of March in honor of both Stephen Sondheim's and Andrew Lloyd Webber's birthdays (March 22).

Check out photos from the Times Square kick off below!

The advocacy initiative is sponsored by NBC's hit television show "Smash" and is administered by the Junior Theater Project (juniortheaterproject.org), a newly formed joint venture by New York's iTheatrics and Atlanta's Theater of the Stars. It is being endorsed by New York City's Department of Education as well as Music Theater International (MTI), Rodgers & Hammerstein/R&H Theatricals and Tams-Witmark Music Library.

The week will begin with a kick-off event to be held in Duffy Square (Times Square) on Monday March 19th at 12:00 noon. Nationally, over 100 student musical theater troupes have scheduled free public performances in their home towns and thousands are expected to participate in a Facebook Social media campaign during the week.

Musicals in our Schools Week's grassroots efforts will make a national statement about the importance of quality arts programs in schools. Community members and organizations will create unique ways to express the value of arts education, ranging from performing a number from a musical, sponsoring tickets for students to see a show, and buying an ad in a school program to sending a thank you note to a theatre educator who made a difference, organizing a flash mob performance in a public space, writing a letter to a politician or volunteering to help out a local production. Groups are invited to log their activities at www.facebook.com/musicalsinourschools and use the hashtag #musicalsinourschools. A free poster for the event is available for downloading at www.juniortheaterproject.org.

Photo Credit: Marcus Woollen/MTI 

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Baayrok Lee and PS124

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Freddie Gershon

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Sebastian Thomas

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Jacob Brent

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Timothy A. McDonald

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
Neil Meron

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off
PS124

Photo Flash: Neil Meron, et al. at 'Musicals in Our Schools' Kick Off

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