Corbin Bleu Lends Hand to PS 094 Performance by Autistic Students May 17
Autistic students, in 6th to 8th grade at PS 094 in Manhattan are preparing for a performance at the Majestic Theatre On Broadway (249 West 45th Street) on Monday, May 17th from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Disney's High School Musical star Corbin Bleu will be on hand to lend his applause and serve as the event's master of ceremonies.
The PS 094 students will join hundreds of students from 20 middle and intermediate New York City Public Schools in the special Broadway performance (complete list below), thanks to a ground-breaking two-year musical theatre mentorship program sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE) and Music Theatre International (MTI).
The goal of the two year NYCDOE program is to restore arts education by building self-sustaining theatre programs in public schools with limited arts programming, and 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. By the end of the two-year program teachers and students
can present a musical in their schools independently, and now serve as inspiration for other schools involved in earlier cycles of the program.
The program, which was founded in the 2005-2006 school year, has graduated 13 schools thus far. Currently there are four new schools involved in the first year of the program, five second year schools involved in the second year of the program, and 11 graduated schools which will take part in the May 17th celebration.
Last fall, four public schools with limited arts programming were selected for the program. Many of these school students had not ever seen a musical, much less participated in one.
What a difference a few months make. Now choruses of "Tomorrow, tomorrow" from Annie Junior by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin and "Why We Tell the Story" from Once on this Island Junior by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are soaring down public school halls as students rehearse. Each school will present a selection from its musical on Broadway and then
perform the full musical in its community following the May 17th performance.
As additional inspiration for their productions, each first year school was given free tickets to attend the hit Broadway musical Memphis in March. For many of the children, it was their first opportunity to see a Broadway musical.
In December, January and March of this year, schoolteachers from the first and second year schools attended a two-day Professional Development workshop led by teaching artists from iTheatrics, which guide them through the process of putting on a show in their community. The teachers went back to their schools, selected their musical, held auditions and cast the show.
They are guided through the entire process by a production advisor provided by a partnering organization, ArtsConnection who checks in with them at their school throughout the production process.
In April the teachers will take part in a choreography and music master class led by iTheatrics. iTheatrics was instrumental in the development of the program and currently oversees all of the workshops and the creation of the material of the program.
New York City Public Schools Which Will Perform on Broadway Schools in the First Year of Program
JHS 080X The Mosholu Parkway in Bronx performing Annie Jr. Students will
present the full show in their community on June 2nd and June 3rd
present the full musical in their community on May 20th, May 21st and May
22ndPS 183Q Dr. Richard R. Green in Queens performing Once on this Island Jr.
Students will present the full musical in their community on May 20th and
May 21stPS/IS 116Q William C. Hughley in Queens performing Annie Jr. Students will
present the full musical in their community on June 15th, June 16th and June
Schools in the Second Year of Program
PS 094M Manhattan in New York performing Honk! Jr. Students will present the full musical in their community on June 8, June 9 and June 11
June 4 and June 5MS 322M The Renaissance Leadership Academy in New York performing Disney's Aladdin Jr. Students will present the full musical in their community on
May 20 and May 21MS 331 X The Bronx School of Science Inquiry and Investigation in Bronx performing Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka Jr. Students will present the full musical in their community on June 10 and June 11MS 057K Ron Brown Academy in Brooklyn performing Thoroughly Modern Millie Jr. Students will present the full musical in their community on May 25, May 26 and May 27
Graduated Schools which will be participating in the Celebration
PS/IS 109 Brooklyn in Brooklyn
IS 068 Isaac Bildersee in Brooklyn
Scholars' Academy in Queens
IS 010 Horace Greeley in Astoria
PS 241 Family Academy in New York
IS 220 John J. Pershing in Brooklyn
MS 072 Catherine and Count Basie in Jamaica
Academy for Social Action in New York
PS/MS 004 Crotona Park West in Bronx
MS 442 New Horizons School in Brooklyn
PS/IS 095 Gravesend in Brooklyn
Photo Credit: Linda Lenzi