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NBC's SMASH, Lowe's & iTheatrics to Improve School Theaters Across U.S.

Related: SMASH, NBC

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NBC's hit series SMASH, home improvement retailer Lowe's, and iTheatrics have partnered to help schools across America improve their theaters through the "NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical constructed by Lowe's" initiative. The program launches today (February 19) and will be administered by educational theater consultancy firm iTheatrics as "Smash" continues in its second season following its broadcast return earlier this month.

Schools across America with theaters in need of repairs may apply for the "NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical constructed by Lowe's" initiative at makeamusical.org starting today. The program is sponsored by Lowe's and NBC's "Smash." The deadline for applications is Wednesday, March 6. On Tuesday, March 12, 30 finalists will be named and communities will compete to receive the most online votes before Wednesday, April 10. The top-five grand-prize winners will receive a gift card from Lowe's to help renovate their theater.

Last season, "NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical" created musical theater programs in schools by giving educators and students the tools and training they needed to build self-sustaining programs in under-served schools. The partnership was the catalyst for iTheatrics to produce 170 "Make a Musical" programs in schools across the U.S., with "NBC's Smash': Make a Musical" being directly responsible for creating 30 additional musical theater programs. "NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical" was awarded a 2012 Thalo Critics' Choice Inspiration Award.

To kick-off the "NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical constructed by Lowe's" initiative, Broadway star and "Smash" cast member Jeremy Jordan, local Lowe's Heroes employee volunteers, Irwin Contracting, Inc., and volunteers from national non-profit Rebuilding Together joined together in early February to rebuild and restore East Rockaway High School's auditorium.

East Rockaway High School was overcome by a tidal surge during Hurricane Sandy which caused an estimated $10 million worth of damage. The auditorium took on over four feet of water which destroyed the stage, theater seating, curtains, props and flats. Students at East Rockaway were planning to perform the musical Seussical at the beginning of February. Even though their theater wasn't functioning, they performed excerpts from the show on a neighboring school district's stage as a fundraiser to raise additional funds to repair their auditorium.

"Our involvement in the East Rockaway High School project is a natural extension of Lowe's commitment to provide both immediate and long-term support to the communities impacted by this historic storm," said Joan Higginbotham, Lowe's director of Community relations. "Our Lowe's Heroes are eager to help the students at East Rockaway get their theater performance-ready and we're excited to see the transformations that happen at other schools through the 'Smash: Make a Musical constructed by Lowe's' program."

East Rockaway Superintendent Dr. Roseanne Melucci added: "This isn't just an auditorium; this is the heart of our school COMMUNITY. This is the stage our school Community uses for public meetings, celebrations of student success and town halls. This is the stage where our students' grandparents, mothers and fathers stood on to graduate from this school. And this year's class of 2013 must continue in the tradition. We must restore this space to be better than ever to show this Community that there is hope and there is progress and that we are going to be ok."

During our site visits last year to the 'NBC's 'Smash': Make a Musical' schools, we saw firsthand how the current economic climate has not only decimated our nation's art programs, it has delayed desperately needed repairs in school theaters," says Timothy Allen McDonald, the founding chairman of iTheatrics. "'Smash,' Lowe's, and Rebuilding Together are doing more than improving school theater programs across the nation, they are shining the spotlight on inspiring schools deserving of support. We hope that Community members and businesses will follow their lead and find their own ways to make a difference."

"Rebuilding Together is honored to be working with Lowe's and 'NBC's 'Smash' Make a Musical' to help deliver critical repairs at East Rockaway High School, including replacing the staging and flooring in the auditorium," said John L. Fiegel, interim president and CEO of Rebuilding Together. "Separately, as part of the Hurricane Sandy recovery efforts, Rebuilding Together is working toward a longer term rebuild goal of more than 100 homes in the affected regions. Our affiliates in the New York, New Jersey and other areas are identifying and assessing neighborhoods and homeowners and Community centers, which may need our assistance."

About "Smash"
"Smash" is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire - to be a Broadway star. The series stars Emmy Award winner Debra Messing ("Will & Grace"), Oscar winner Anjelica Huston ("Prizzi's Honor"), Jack Davenport ("Pirates of the Caribbean" films), Tony Award winner Christian Borle ("Peter and the Starcatcher"), Katharine McPhee ("American Idol"), Megan Hilty ("9 to 5: The Musical"), Tony Award nominee Jeremy Jordan ("Newsies"), Andy Mientus ("Spring Awakening"), Leslie Odom Jr. ("Leap of Faith") and Krysta Rodriguez ("Spring Awakening").

About Lowe's
Lowe's supports the communities it serves through programs that focus on K-12 public education and Community improvement projects. The company's signature education grant program, Lowe's Toolbox for Education, has donated more than $34 million to 7,500 K-12 public schools, benefiting more than 4 million schoolchildren. Lowe's Heroes employee volunteers support local Community projects and our national nonprofit partners such as Habitat for Humanity, Rebuilding Together and the American Red Cross. In 2012, Lowe's and the Lowe's Charitable and Educational Foundation together contributed more than $30 million to support communities in the United States, Canada and Mexico. To learn more, visit Lowes.com/SocialResponsibility.

About Rebuilding Together
Rebuilding Together is a Safe and Healthy Housing organization that believes Community Starts at Home. Our focus provides critical repairs, accessibility modifications and energy efficient upgrades to low-income homes and Community centers at no cost to service recipients. Our impact extends beyond the individuals served to revitalize and stabilize vulnerable neighborhoods and communities across the country. Our nearly 200 local affiliates complete 10,000 rebuild projects a year thanks to the efforts of about 200,000 volunteers from corporate partners, skilled trade professionals and everyday good citizens. Join us - visit www.RebuildingTogether.org.

About iTheatrics
iTheatrics uses the transformative power of the arts to make the world a better place. The company adapts existing Broadway and West End musicals for students at all age-including elementary, middle and high school-to perform. In addition, iTheatrics also creates a teacher's tool chest of resources which provides educators with enhancements such as choreography DVDs, accompaniment CDs, director's guides and curriculum connections. iTheatrics' clients include The Jim Henson Company, Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, the Roald Dahl Estate and McMillan/McGraw-Hill. Likewise, iTheatrics also develops new musicals for family audiences such as "The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley," "The Phantom Tollbooth" and "Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach." Junior Teaching Intensives from iTheatrics provide professional development for teachers in the area of musical theater and its Junior Theater Academy provides young artists with an innovative outlet for developing their skills as performers and artists.

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