TWO-TIME TONY AWARD NOMINEE CHRISTOPHER SIEBER,
CURRENTLY ON BROADWAY IN “THE PROM”
HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE FESTIVAL
for NYC PUBLIC SCHOOLS
New York, NY (March 12, 2019) -- One hundred and fifty talented NYC public school students will make their Broadway debuts when the 5th annual SHUBERT FOUNDATION HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE FESTIVAL for NYC Public Schools takes place on Monday, March 18 at the Music Box Theatre -- 239 West 45th Street -- currently home to the Broadway smash Dear Evan Hansen. This high profile and high-energy theatre education experience for students is presented by The Shubert Foundation and NYC Department of Education.
Hosting the event will be two-time Tony Award nominee Christopher Sieber, who is currently appearing in the new hit Broadway musical, The Prom. He will be joined by fellow Broadway stars: Lisa Brescia (Dear Evan Hansen), Isabelle McCalla (The Prom), Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins (original star of Caroline, Or Change), Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff (Children of a Lesser God), and a special guest artist from Be More Chill.
Over the course of the day on March 18, students from five NYC high schools – Curtis High School in Staten Island, Lexington School for the Deaf in Queens, Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan, Repertory Company High School for Theater Arts in Manhattan and LaGuardia High School for Music, Art, and Performing Arts in Manhattan – participate in master artist workshops—then making their Broadway debuts from 7:30 to 9:30 pm. These teen actors will perform selections from iconic musicals and plays, after having spent the afternoon tecking on stage, in Vocal and Deaf Theatre performance workshops and with supportive technical guidance from their directors/teachers, professional Broadway backstage crews, musicians and actors, according to Shubert Foundation President, Michael I. Sovern.
The Festival, a celebration featuring five outstanding high school student productions from the 2018-2019 school year, were selected from over 30 productions across the city by a panel of professional theatre artists and theatre educators. Over the course of the festival’s five-year history, school productions from all 5 boroughs have performed at the event. This year, student presentations from the following schools will present excerpted scenes and musical numbers in order as follows:
Curtis High School (Staten Island) – 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE
Lexington School for the Deaf (Queens) – A CHRISTMAS CAROL
Professional Performing Arts High School (Manhattan) – CAROLINE, OR CHANGE
Repertory Company High School for Theater Arts (Manhattan) – RUNAWAYS
LaGuardia High School for Music, Art, and Performing Arts (Manhattan) – THE SOUND OF MUSIC
Among the Broadway stars scheduled to introduce the school productions during the evening performance and interact with the students over the course of the day are host Christopher Sieber (The Prom), Lisa Brescia (Dear Evan Hansen), Isabelle McCalla (The Prom), Tony Award winner Tonya Pinkins (original star of Caroline, Or Change), Tony nominee Lauren Ridloff (Children of a Lesser God), and a special guest artist from Be More Chill.
The High School Theatre Festival showcases the ongoing excellent theatre work currently taking place in NYC public high schools, as well as highlighting the positive effects of theatre study on skills for the stage and in life: collaboration, artistry, discipline, focus, literacy, student voice, self-awareness, presence, active listening and empathy. The evening focuses on the impact that a full theatre program can have on students and school communities, and enables students to see theatre and the arts as a potential career path.
“As a lifelong musician, I understand the importance of equitable access to high-quality arts education in our public schools,” said NYC Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “I thank the Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival for celebrating the diversity, inclusivity, and the mosaic of cultural experiences that makes New York the greatest city in the world.”
"We are so proud to have supported this Festival since its inception," said Philip J. Smith, Chairman of The Shubert Organization. "The extraordinary talents of the students continue to astound year after year upon our Broadway stages.”
Sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, the festival is presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). Funding for the Festival and for a range of existing Shubert Foundation programs in New York City public schools comes from a grant of $577,000.
Since 2005, The Shubert Foundation has provided more than $5.4 million to the New York City Department of Education for Theatre/Arts programs.
"Look to the stage. These impressive teen artists from varied diverse cultural backgrounds, neighborhoods and creative points of view, collaborated with peers to produce inspired and relevant theater for their school communities and now for Broadway. As ensembles and individuals they serve as a wonderful reminder of the power of inclusivity on stage, in the classroom and beyond,” said Peter Avery, the Festival's producer and the Director of Theatre for the NYC Department of Education.
The Shubert Foundation, Inc. is the largest institutional funder of theatre education programs throughout NYC public schools and the nation's largest private foundation dedicated to unrestricted funding of not-for-profit theatres, with a secondary focus on dance. In 2018, the Foundation provided more than $30 million to 533 not-for-profit performing arts organizations across the United States. 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.
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 tracks progress at the school and city-wide levels for meeting New York State Instructional Requirements for the Arts. For more information, visit NYC DOE Office of Arts and Special Projects.