DISNEY MUSICALS IN SCHOOLS Gives Students An Opportunity To Experience Musical Theater While Building Valuable Life Skills

In celebration, Overture will host the Disney Musicals in Schools 2023 Student Share on Tuesday, May 23 with a one-hour performance at 11:45 a.m. in Capitol Theater.

By: May. 22, 2023

DISNEY MUSICALS IN SCHOOLS Gives Students An Opportunity To Experience Musical Theater While Building Valuable Life Skills

Students at five Madison Metropolitan School District elementary schools and one middle school are singing, acting and dancing again with Disney Musicals in Schools after a three-year intermission.

In celebration, Overture will host the Disney Musicals in Schools 2023 Student Share on Tuesday, May 23 with a one-hour performance at 11:45 a.m. in Capitol Theater.

The following elementary schools will star in the show:

  • Akira Toki Middle School
  • Hawthorne Elementary Schools
  • Henderson Elementary School
  • Leopold Community School
  • Nuestro Mundo Community School
  • Mendota Elementary School

Overture Center works with Disney Theatrical Group to bring Disney Musicals in Schools to the Madison area. To relaunch the program earlier this year, Overture staff had a day-long workshop with teachers to refresh their knowledge and renew their enthusiasm and excitement for their school musical.

These schools started up their tradition of musical theater after a long break due to the pandemic. The teaching teams at each school joined staff at Overture in December for a day-long training session for new and returning members of their team.

“This is a dedicated group of teachers who once again have put 110% into their musicals, and they have had so many successes this year,” said Karra Beach, director of Broadway engagement programs. “Coming out of the pandemic, when most students didn't have music because of virtual learning, having students singing, acting and dancing together again is incredible to see. I'm excited for the parents, teachers and administrators to see these students shine on the Capitol Theater stage.”

Schools that participate in the Disney Musicals in Schools program receive a 17-week musical theater residency in their first year, led by a team of teaching artists trained by Overture Center and Disney Theatrical Productions, at no cost. Each school also receives performance rights and educational support materials. Support is provided for licensing and materials in the second and third years of participation as well.

While there were no new elementary schools added to the program this year, additional teaching artist support was provided to schools as they rebuilt their musical teams.

“This year our focus was on helping our alumni schools,” said Beach. “Every school had new team members, so it was almost like starting from the beginning again. It takes a lot of heart and dedication, and these teams did a great job.”

New this year, Overture's musical theater programs includes a middle school: Akira Toki Middle School. Overture teaching artists led classes for the drama classroom students as well as students in the afternoon musical theater club, teaching skills students can use on stage and backstage. Recently, students interested in technical theater visited Overture for a backstage tour of Capitol Theater and Overture Hall and participated in a technical theater career panel.

“We work very closely with the directors at high schools participating in The Jerrys program, and they noted that many middle schools are not doing musicals,” said Beach. “The goal of our program is to establish a tradition of musical theater at middle schools and strengthen the programs at schools who already produce musicals through feedback and workshops. It's about making sure students are able to sing, dance, act and work backstage on musicals from elementary school all the way through to high school and beyond.”

Overture Center is among 18 arts organizations in the world collaborating with Disney Musicals in Schools.

“As we look at equity around the arts in Madison schools, no elementary schools offer consistent drama or dance experiences, which is why this program is critical,” said Beach. “The program builds community and key skills for students through the art of musical theater, amplifying diverse stories on the stage in a lasting and sustainable way.”

Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Group's concern that under-resourced public elementary schools were not afforded equitable access to the arts. After successfully offering the program in New York City schools, Disney Theatrical Group began collaborating with organizations in other communities across the United States.

Disney KIDS musicals, created in partnership with Music Theater International (MTI), are 30-minute musicals designed for elementary school performers and have been adapted from the classic Disney films 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, Frozen, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, The Lion King and Winnie the Pooh.

DISNEY THEATRICAL GROUP (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world's most successful commercial theatre producers, bringing live entertainment events to a global audience of more than 20 million people a year in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Group banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway productions around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John and Tim Rice's Aida, TARZAN, Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, The Little Mermaid, Peter and the Starcatcher, Newsies, Aladdin and Frozen.  Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney's High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin and King David in concert. DTG has collaborated with the nation's preeminent theatres to develop new stage titles, including The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Freaky Friday and Hercules. As a part of the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, DTP also heads the Buena Vista Theatrical banner, which licenses Fox titles for stage adaptations including Anastasia; Moulin Rouge! The Musical; Mrs. Doubtfire and The Devil Wears Prada.

Disney Theatrical Group also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Marvel Universe Live!, bringing beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide. In addition, DTG licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of The Lion King.

Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.

MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI's Broadway Junior shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI's School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.

MTI maintains its global headquarters in New York City (mtishows.com), with additional offices in London (MTI Europe: mtishows.co.uk, mtishows.eu) and Melbourne (MTI Australia: mtishows.com.au).

Overture Center's Disney Musicals in Schools program is sponsored by The Cap Times Kids Fund and Starion Bank.


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