COME FROM AWAY stars Chad Kimball and Rodney Hicks host Broadway Junior 2017

May 16, 2017

Come From Away stars Chad Kimball and Rodney Hicks host Broadway Junior 2017

The Shubert Foundation and Music Theatre International’s 12th Annual Broadway Junior™ Student Finale was a resounding success on Tuesday, May 9, 2017 at Broadway’s Winter Garden Theatre (1634 Broadway). The event was hosted by Rodney Hicks and Chad Kimball, stars from Broadway’s new Tony Nominated hit musical, Come From Away.

New York City Public School students from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Staten Island performed song and dance numbers from their full school productions of Broadway musicals. The shows include Annie JR.; Disney's Aladdin JR.; Disney's Beauty and the Beast JR.; Disney's High School Musical JR.; Disney's The Lion King JR.; Hairspray JR.; Once on This Island JR.; Peter Pan JR.; Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR.; Shrek The Musical JR.; and Thoroughly Modern Millie JR.

The Shubert Foundation / MTI Broadway Junior™ partnership is a groundbreaking musical theatre mentorship program that helps public schools that have limited arts programming build self-sustaining theatre programs. The program is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, Music Theatre International (MTI) and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). In attendance at the Broadway Junior™ Student Finale were Shubert Foundation President Michael I. Sovern, Philip J. Smith, Chairman of The Shubert Organization, Robert E. Wankel, President of The Shubert Organization, New York City Department of Education Deputy Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Phil Weinberg, as well as members of NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña’s cabinet from the Department of Education, prominent NYC arts educators, and leading members of New York’s professional theater community

Freddie Gershon, Music Theatre International’s Chairman and CEO, officially began the proceedings with welcoming remarks from the stage. Shubert Foundation President Michael I. Sovern introduced this year’s Broadway Junior™ hosts, Rodney Hicks and Chad Kimball, stars from Broadway’s new Tony-nominated musical hit, Come From Away.

“Expanding access to arts education inspires students, builds confidence, and deepens their critical thinking skills,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “I am grateful to The Shubert Foundation for its ongoing partnership to provide students with a unique opportunity to develop their talents, and commend the students participating in the Broadway Junior Student Finale.”

Michael I. Sovern, President of The Shubert Foundation, stated, “Every year, the Broadway Junior celebration is a joyful burst of youthful talent and energy that lights up Broadway. The long-running success of this program clearly demonstrates the value of The Shubert Foundation’s ongoing support for arts education programs in our New York City public schools.”

"I am enormously gratified, along with Team MTI to witness how this program has matured and expanded over 12 years. The unanticipated long term impact on the students, schools and local communities has gone beyond what any of us could have envisaged as the participating students are learning life skills, indispensable to their futures. These include the ability to collaborate, follow direction and instruction, practice self-discipline and work ethics, and use their imaginations while honing their verbal communication skills and developing social skills which will serve them well in navigating life. These are the great gifts to give a new generation, critical for success, and generally atypical of traditional curricula," said Freddie Gershon, Chairman and CEO of MTI who conceived the Broadway Junior Musicals Program.

“The program has such a broad reach far beyond the noted thrill of school communities producing their first full musicals.  Principals, teachers and parents from across the city have shared how the process of putting on a show creates a culture of collaboration, emphasizes student focus and revision and enables students to discover new skills and develop confidence,” according to Peter Avery, the event’s Producer and the Director of Theater, NYC Department of Education.

The Shubert Foundation / MTI Broadway Junior™ program engages students in all aspects and areas of the arts, utilizing master teachers and expert production advisers from the educational theatre organizations, iTheatrics, Broadway Bound Kids and ArtsConnection.

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. In the third year and beyond, schools present a musical independently, and serve as inspiration for other schools involved in earlier cycles of the program.

The 2017 Broadway Junior™ Student Finale will present performances from middle school groups participating in the second year of the program:  East Fordham Academy for the Arts; Entrada Academy / M.S. 384; I.S. 392; The Laboratory School of Finance and Technology; M.S. 127 / The Castle Hill Middle School; M.S. 217; P.S./I.S. 184; P.S./I.S. 327K; P.S./I.S. 208; P.S./M.S. 42Q / R. Vernam School; Redwood Middle School; Ronald Edmonds Learning Center II; and The Richard H. Hungerford School.

Year Three and Graduated Schools participating in the Shubert/ MTI Musical Ensembles:  Academy of Medical Technology: A College Board School; The Angelo Patri Middle School; Collaborative Arts Middle School; Corona Arts & Sciences Academy; Hunter’s Point Community Middle School; I.S. 220 / John J. Pershing; I.S. 364 / Gateway; In-Tech Academy; Lyons Community School; Middle School of Marketing and Legal Studies; Mott Hall IV; M.S. 61 / Dr. Gladstone H. Atwell; M.S. 442 / Carroll Gardens School for Innovation; M.S. 447 / The Math and Science Exploratory School; New Design Middle School; New Heights Middle School; P.S./I.S. 119 / The Glendale; P.S./I.S. 30 / Mary White Ovington; P.S./M.S. 004 Crotona Park West; Ron Brown Academy; Soundview Academy for Culture and Scholarship; Spring Creek Community School; and Thurgood Marshall Academy for Learning and Social Change.

The Shubert Foundation

Since 2005, The Shubert Foundation has provided more than $4.3 million to the New York City Department of Education for Arts Education/Theatre programs. This year marks the Foundation's 12th year providing funds for The Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway Junior program which was founded during the 2005-2006 school year. To date, 75 schools and more than 10,500 students have participated in the program. Currently 65 schools are involved in the program.

The Shubert Foundation, Inc. is the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to unrestricted funding of not-for-profit theatres, with a secondary focus on dance. In 2016, the Foundation provided more than $25.6 million to 506 not-for-profit performing arts organizations across the United States. The 2016 grants marked the 34th year in a row that the Foundation’s giving has increased. The Shubert Foundation, Inc. was established in 1945 by the legendary team of brothers, Lee and J.J. Shubert, producers of more than 520 plays, musicals and revues, as well as owners and operators of a nationwide network of legitimate theatres. For more information, visit www.shubertfoundation.org    

Music Theatre International

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 with additional offices in London (MTI Europe) and Melbourne (MTI Australasia) For more information, visit www.mtishows.com.

New York City Department of Education

The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,750 schools. The Department of Education supports universal access to arts education through the ArtsCount initiative, which tracks and reports student participation in arts education and holds schools accountable for meeting New York State Instructional Requirements for the Arts. For more information, visit http://schools.nyc.gov/offices/teachlearn/arts/index2.html.