Lyric Theatre Receives Grant From Disney To Fund School Program

Lyric Theatre Receives Grant From Disney To Fund School ProgramLyric Theatre of Oklahoma has been awarded a $120,000 grant from Disney to bring the Disney Musicals in Schools program to Oklahoma City Public Schools. The program is a free initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Productions to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced elementary schools. The grant funds two years of programming; Lyric Theatre will select five area public elementary schools to participate in 2018-19 and another five will be selected for next year.

The selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency, led by a team of teaching artists trained by Lyric Theatre and Disney Theatrical Productions, at no cost. Each school will receive performance rights, education support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with Lyric teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. As a capstone to the experience, Lyric Theatre will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show on the Civic Center Music Hall stage in downtown Oklahoma City for an audience of students, teachers, family, and community members.

Using the unique world of musical theater, Disney Musicals in Schools helps to foster positive relationships between students, faculty, staff, parents, and the community. Students and teachers work in teams, developing the wide spectrum of skills needed when producing a piece of musical theater, including: critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence, and interpersonal skills.

"Lyric has had a wonderful relationship with Disney Theatricals over the years. and this new program promises to have the greatest impact on our community," said Michael Baron, Lyric's producing artistic director. "By helping put artists into the Oklahoma City Public elementary schools, Disney and Lyric are providing much needed arts programming to the children and teachers of Oklahoma City. This program will inspire creativity and innovation in the classroom and celebrate how the arts help kids learn in every subject by keeping them engaged and focused. Most importantly, the students and teachers will be able to share, with newfound confidence, their progress with parents and guardians at the wonderful production the students have created. Thank you to Disney Theatricals for their investment in the future of arts and learning in Oklahoma!

Applications for the program will be available Sept. 4 at www.LyricTheatreOKC.org.

Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Production'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 Productions began partnering 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, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh.

About Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma

Founded in 1963, Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma is the state's leading professional theatre company. Lyric produces classic and contemporary musicals, new works, and plays featuring artists from Oklahoma and around the nation. Shows are presented at two Oklahoma City venues - the intimate Plaza Theatre and in the summer at the grand Civic Center Music Hall. Lyric's Thelma Gaylord Academy is the premier professional theatre training ground, offering classes in all aspects of the performing arts. Lyric is a nonprofit member theatre of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre and Allied Arts. For more information, visit www.LyricTheatreOKC.org.

Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world's most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 20 million people in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway productions around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & 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. DTP has collaborated with the country's leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Freaky Friday.

Disney Theatrical Productions also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Disney Live! For over 30 years, Disney on Ice and Disney Live! have brought beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide, through productions such as Marvel Universe Live! and Frozen, the most well attended and highest grossing Disney on Ice production to date. In addition, DTP 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.

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