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(New York, May 18, 2005) The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. has announced the New York City pilot for “Family First Nights,” a national program designed for at-risk families to attend theatre together on a regular basis.
The program will be piloted in New York with the Harlem Children’s Zone, which will identify appropriate families, coordinate family participation, and organize transportation and other logistics. The Broadway show, “Brooklyn The Musical” will serve as the first of three productions that families will attend. Two additional shows will be named at a future date. Time Warner is the corporate sponsor for the New York City pilot.
On May 24th, the first phase of the program will be launched. At the evening performance of “Brooklyn The Musical,” now playing at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street) on Broadway, more than 30 at-risk families will be introduced to live theatre.
After the performance, the families will attend a discussion with staff from The League and members of the production of “Brooklyn The Musical,” who will gather feedback from the families about their theatrical experience. 100 families in total will participate throughout the program.
“Family First Nights” provide orchestra tickets for families who may not otherwise be able to attend live theatre. Families attend the theatre together three times per year, and participate in post performance discussions. In addition, all participating families receive family theatre packets, including study guides about the story of the production, backstage information about what to expect when they get to the theatre, information about Times Square, and a CD, to help familiarize them with the production.
“Sixty-two percent of Broadway theatergoers surveyed said that their parents or other adult family members took them to the theatre as a child or teenager,” commented Jed Bernstein, President of the League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. “By engaging the entire family and offering repeated exposure through multiple visits, this project may begin to fill in a gap where no programming currently exists.”
“As a long-time supporter of New York City’s cultural life, Time Warner recognizes the vital role of the arts in making the city great, and has made public access to the arts a central part of our Company’s activities,” commented Lisa Quiroz, Vice President, Time Warner Corporate Responsibility. “We are proud to support Family First Nights, a program designed to create life-long experiences and memories, encourage family theatre-going as a cultural and social experience and introduce new audiences to the magic of Broadway and live theatre.”
The program is modeled after a similar program created a number of years ago by the Mousetrap Foundation in London.
Funding for this pilot program comes from the producers of “Brooklyn The Musical” and the other participating shows, The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc. and Time Warner.
About Brooklyn The Musical
From the heart of Brooklyn comes a band of soulful street-corner singers and storytellers. With a mix of pop and soul, they set their stage and tell a wondrous sidewalk fairy tale about a young girl searching for fame and the father she never knew. With just one clue to lead her, she lands in the city that bears her name…BROOKLYN.
“Brooklyn The Musical” is a new Broadway production by Mark Schoenfeld and Barri McPherson, directed by Tony® award nominee Jeff Calhoun, with music supervision, arrangements and orchestrations by Grammy® & Emmy® award winner John McDaniel. The show began performances on September 23rd, 2004 and opened officially on October 21st, 2004 at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre (236 West 45th Street).
About Time Warner
Time Warner is a leading media and entertainment company, whose businesses include filmed entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing.
About The Harlem Children’s Zone, Inc.
Founded in 1970, Harlem Children's Zone, Inc. is a pioneering, non-profit, community-based organization that works to enhance the quality of life for children and families in some of New York City's most devastated neighborhoods. Formerly known as Rheedlen Centers for Children and Families, HCZ Inc.'s 15 centers serve about 12,000 people, including over 8,000 at-risk children. The emphasis of its work is not just on education, social service and recreation, but on rebuilding the very fabric of community life.
About The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc.
The League of American Theatres and Producers, Inc., founded in 1930 and operating under the trademark “Live Broadway,” is the national trade association for the Broadway industry. The League’s 500-plus members include theatre owners and operators, producers, presenters, and general managers in over 140 North American cities, as well as suppliers of goods and services to the theatre industry.
Broadway industry programs initiated by the League include Kids’ Night on Broadway; Broadway On Broadway, an annual outdoor concert in Times Square; generationbroadway.com (a website devoted exclusively to kids interested in Broadway); The Broadway Line, a national toll-free Broadway information hotline (888-BROADWAY); Broadway Ticket Center, LiveBroadway.com, and ILoveNYTheater.com, a multi-lingual Broadway website.
Each year, League members bring Broadway to nearly 30 million people in New York and on tour across the U.S. and Canada.