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The Broadway League
729 Seventh Avenue, 5th Floor
New York, NY 10019
CONTACT: Elisa Shevitz
Telephone: 212-764-1122
Email: EShevitz@broadway.org


The Broadway League Announces National Education Grant Recipients
September 22, 2008
Programs Support Arts-in-Education and Audience Development

New York, NY – September 22, 2008 – The Broadway League announced today the recipients of its thirteenth annual National Education Grants.  These grants support innovative programs that enable students from coast to coast to experience touring Broadway as a form of artistic expression and as an educational tool. 

The 2008 National Education Grants program bestows $5,000 to ten presenters of touring Broadway shows across the U.S. for the development or support of education programs associated with touring productions.

A significant number of touring Broadway shows are featured in the various programs: Ain't Misbehavin', The Color Purple, Fiddler on the Roof, Happy Days, Jersey Boys, Legally Blonde, Stomp, The Lion King, and Wicked.

This year, organizations were selected from the following cities: Appleton, WI; Des Moines, IA; Fayetteville, AR; Indianapolis, IN; Kansas City, MO; Lincoln, NE; Nashville, TN; Sacramento, CA; Sarasota, FL; Schenectady, NY

The following four venues are first-time grant recipients:

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center - Appleton, WI

Walton Arts Center Council – Fayetteville, AR
Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall – Sarasota, FL
Proctor’s Theatre – Schenectady, NY

Since it was founded in 1996, the League’s National Education Grants program has awarded $650,000 in grants to support the education efforts of Broadway presenting organizations.  The League administers this program with generous additional financial support from Theatre Development Fund.

During the past year, theatre education professionals at organizations that present touring Broadway productions have worked closely with local teachers and community organizations to create activities that engage young people with theatre and enhance their academic experiences. 


“There is nothing as uniquely powerful as the impact of live theatre on young people,” commented Charlotte St. Martin, Executive Director of The Broadway League.  “The performing arts can be an amazing tool through which educators can initiate dialogue about important issues and concerns of people of all ages, while inspiring a future generation of theatregoing. Once again, the programs that we salute this year demonstrate our League-member presenting organizations’ innovation and dedication to serving diverse populations that include students who may not otherwise have the chance to experience the power of live theatre due to economic and/or geographic constraints.”

This year, the ten programs that were awarded grants of $5,000 each are as follows:  (*Please note that contact telephone numbers and emails are for reporter follow-up use only and should not be included in any publication. Thank you.)

Fox Cities Performing Arts Center - Appleton, WI

The Fox Cities Performing Arts Center will host the Wisconsin premiere of Wicked. The Center will continue its tradition of in-depth curriculum-based education by partnering with Kaukauna High School’s “School Within a School” program for at-risk students. “Wicked Politics” will challenge 40 juniors and seniors to think critically about human nature and the role of power dynamics in the political process. The Center will engage students in a dialog with a local political expert, provide tickets for a matinee performance of Wicked,and orchestrate a school-wide mock election involving the Scarecrow, Tin Man and Cowardly Lion. Contact Erin Hunsader, 920-730-3769 or ehunsader@foxcitiespac.com.

Civic Center of Greater Des Moines – Des Moines, IA
“I’m Here – The Color of Me” will combine a day of educational workshops at the Civic Center of Greater Des Moines with a series of in-school experiences.  It will encourage 100 young minority women in grades 9 though 12 to explore the history, themes and characters of The Color Purple as part of an educational collaboration with Sisters for Success, an after-school program of the Des Moines Public School system.  Students will read the novel The Color Purple, listen to the show’s music, participate in workshops and discussions, attend a performance of the touring Broadway production, and write their own personal stories. Contact Eric Olmscheid, 515-246-2357 or eolmscheid@civiccenter.org.

Walton Arts Center – Fayetteville, AR
Walton Arts Center’s High School Broadway Club Fiddler on the Roof Unit will provide area high school students the opportunity to learn about professional live theatre, increase their access to the performing arts, and provide insight into the Jewish culture and religious traditions. By attending a performance, school-site workshops, Q&A sessions, and lunchtime conversations, club members will enhance their knowledge of Broadway and professional theatre careers, learn drama skills, and become familiar with an underrepresented culture in the Northwest Arkansas region. Contact Laura Goodwin, 479-571-2732 or lgoodwin@waltonartscenter.org.

Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University – Indianapolis, IN
“Broadway Behind the Scenes: Technical Theatre from Textbook to Stage” will involve 80 theatre students from central Indiana schools in a series of sessions focusing on the technical elements of Broadway Across America-Indianapolis’ presentations of Happy Days – A New Musical and Stomp – See What All the Noise is About at Clowes Memorial Hall. After preliminary work in the classroom, students will meet with the Clowes professional stage crew and observe the load-ins of Happy Days and Stomp.Students will attend both productions, compare and contrast the technical elements of each, and apply their newly acquired technical skills to their own school performances with mentoring help from the Clowes stage crew. Contact Elise Kushigian, 317-940-9620 or ekushigi@butler.edu.

Theater League – Kansas City, MO
Theater League will partner with Central High School to explore and study historical, social and creative themes in the touring production of The Color Purple.  Students will attend workshops and a speaker series, as well as a performance of the showat the Municipal Auditorium Music Hall. The primary themes incorporated in this project are African American history from the 1900s to the 1930s, abuse, and creative writing inspired by personal experiences. Participating speakers include representatives from the National Association of Colored Women, the National Council of Negro Women, the Rose Brooks Center for Domestic Violence, and local female authors.  By attending a performance of The Color Purple, preparing a written essay and meeting with members of the cast, students will learn first-hand about local history and how past events have shaped their lives today. Contact Stephanie Charlton, 913-652-7406 or stephanie.charlton@theaterleague.org.

Lied Center for Performing Arts – Lincoln, NE
Building on the first year of a two-year pilot project entitled Generation Jazz, The Lied Center will bring middle school students involved in jazz band to the Lied Center to attend performances of the Glenn Miller Orchestra, Blue Note Tour and the touring Broadway production of Ain’t Misbehavin’. Generation Jazz links visiting artists and jazz events at The Lied Center with music students enrolled in the University of Nebraska and middle school students involved in jazz band from two Lincoln Public schools. The goals of this project are to inspire a love of jazz, performance, and musical learning and to provide middle school students with opportunities for direct contact with artists and performances such as Ain’t Misbehavin’. Contact Laura Kendall, 402-472-3215 or lkendall2@unl.edu.

Tennessee Performing Arts Center – Nashville, TN
Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) will join together with Ft. Campbell High School students for an educational journey relating to the touring Broadway production of Jersey Boys. “Making a Soundtrack of Their Lives” will encourage the students to learn about the music and history during the height of the fame of The Four Seasons in the 1960s. The project will also help students relate to their parents’ personal histories and cultural experiences through music. Activities will include three workshop sessions at Ft. Campbell High School, a backstage tour, a pre-show workshop at TPAC, the opportunity to see Jersey Boys,and a post-show Q&A with the cast.Contact Rebecca Robbins, 615-687-4304 or rrobbins@tpac.org.

California Musical Theatre – Sacramento, CA
“Lion and Puppets and Kids! Oh my!” is California Musical Theatre (CMT)’s whimsically named program to introduce middle school students to puppetry as a theatrical medium using Disney’s The Lion King as an example. This project involves 6th, 7th and 8th graders at the Language Academy of Sacramento (LAS) who have already had three years of instruction in vocal music, storytelling, acting and musical theatre dance taught by CMT artists.  The classes will cover the history and evolution of puppetry, construction of various puppets (hand puppets, shadow puppets, Bunraku puppets, etc.) and script writing for puppets. The program will conclude with a performance of The Lion King at the Sacramento Community Center Theater in June 2009. Contact Griff Field, 916-446-5880 x133 or gfield@calmt.com.

Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall – Sarasota, FL
Using the performance of Ain’t Misbehavin’ as a medium of multi-level, multi-age learning, the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, in partnership with Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe, will work with adult learners from area retirement homes and students from the Ringling College of Arts and Design and New College. This program will bring the Renaissance Era of Harlem to life through multiple art forms of theater, music, dance, literature, printmaking, photography, costuming, lighting design and writing. The students will be given the opportunity to experience an artist collaboration of learning through pre-show research, workshops, writing exercises and the creation of a final artistic product expressing their own Renaissance that will be showcased in the community to bring African American musical history to life for multiple audiences. Contact Leslie Lacktman, 941-955-7676 x2246 or leslie.lacktman@sarasotagov.com.

Proctor’s Theatre – Schenectady, NY
Working with the self-confidence and empowerment themes of Legally Blonde – The Musical, Proctor’s Theatre will partner with Girls Inc. to provide an empowering arts experience for teen-aged girls. Girls will explore self-esteem, character development and self worth issues in order to articulate their personal “Elle Woods Moment” drawn from a life-changing experience where they demonstrated strength and the power of being a young woman. These experiences will be captured on film for the girls to receive as a special gift. The girls’ accomplishments throughout this program will be celebrated at an “Elle Woods Moment” preview of their film, as well as attendance at Legally Blonde – The Musical and pre-show artist Theatre Talk. Contact Christine Sheehan, 518-382-3884 x112 or csheehan@proctors.org.


In addition to the National Education Grants program, the League also administers similar grants for education programs affiliated with Broadway productions in New York City each year.

The Broadway League, founded in 1930, is the national trade association for the Broadway industry.  The League’s 600-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in over 240 cities across the U.S. and Canada, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry.  Each year, League members bring Broadway to more than 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada.  www.BroadwayLeague.com

For more information on The Broadway League’s education programs, call Rachel Reiner at (212) 703-0215.

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Press Contact:
Elisa Shevitz
(212) 703-0225