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AhHa!Broadway's Summer Musical Theatre Camp Presents Disney's DESCENDANTS: THE MUSICAL

AhHa!Broadway is a women-led 501(c)(3) that inspires the core values of arts and education to children, seniors, veterans, and communities from diverse backgrounds.

AhHa!Broadway's Summer Musical Theatre Camp Presents Disney's DESCENDANTS: THE MUSICAL

 

There are many small signs that the country is getting back to normal as the pandemic subsides. But there was one small event that happened that signaled not only are things getting back to normal, but that New York City is very much alive, Broadway is back, and children are resilient after a year of isolation and limited fun.

On July 23, a group of two dozen children of diverse ethnic and economic backgrounds and abilities, ages 9-15, from New York's five boroughs, put on a show.

In normal times, this might not seem to be an event of importance. In this moment, it telegraphs the dawn of a rebirth of theatre in New York, while maintaining an extra keen eye on health and safety, and a commitment to showing deserving and eager budding thespians that the show really can go on. That show happened to be Disney's Descendants: The Musical as the culmination of two weeks of AhHa!Broadway's Summer Musical Theatre Camp. This was the first in-person program of scale for AhHa!Broadway since the start of the pandemic, when they, like so many other arts programming organizations, had to pivot to digitally-deliver programming by necessity.

This unique program, in Times Square's theater district, offers children who would normally not have easy access to a Broadway-style show, or to a meaningful performing arts program during the past 18 months, to perform in a licensed production with the help of experienced teaching artists, Broadway-experienced industry professionals, dramatic exercises, improvisation, makeup lessons, and vocal coaching. In just ten days the young performers learned their parts and more than 25 musical numbers, concluding with a fully costumed performance. After leaving the stage at Theatre Row, the cast portraying both good and evil characters wasted no time asking what the next show will be.

"Children in this program experience inclusive teamwork, culminating in a shared experience of performances which commonly include songs and choreography tailored to that group's abilities," explained AhHa!Broadway co-founder Heather Edwards. "Considering that a number of the participants came from all different areas and cultural backgrounds, it's inspiring to see a sense of community and acceptance built in such a short time as so many kids worked toward a common purpose." Edwards shared that parents saw the program as the "experience of a lifetime."

AhHa!Broadway is a women-led 501(c)(3) that inspires the core values of arts and education to children, seniors, veterans, and communities from diverse backgrounds through their musical theatre programming and specially designed workshops. Info at www.ahhabroadway.org. The artistic team was led by Director Braddon Mehrten, Choreographer Christopher Noffke and Musical Director Heather Edwards. Disney's Descendants was presented through special arrangement with Music Theatre International (MTI).

 

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