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‘Smash’ Raises Awareness on Musical Theater Education

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‘Smash’ Raises Awareness on Musical Theater Education
Photo Source: Will Hart/NBC
The importance of musical theatre education in schools was highlighted today at the kick-off for “Musicals in Our Schools” at noon in Duffy Square.

Sponsored by NBC’s “Smash” and administrated by New York’s iTheatrics and Atlanta’s Theater of the Stars’ nonprofit Junior Theater Project, the event boasts more than 100 student musical theatre troupes scheduling free public performances nationwide. These performances will take place from March 19 to March 26 to honor both Stephen Sondheim’s and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s birthdays on March 22.

Producer Neil Meron (“Smash”), actor Sebastian Thomas (“Priscilla, Queen of the Desert), Music Theater International Chairman and CEO Freddie Gershon, the 2012 recipient of Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre, and choreographer and performer Baayork Lee (“The Kind and I”) attended the event.

The Sacred Heart Early Childhood School’s pre-k through kindergarten grade students performed “Tomorrow” from “Annie.” Students from PS 124 sang “Getting to Know You” from “The King and I,” and the Leadership and Public Service High School students performed “Guys and Dolls” from “Guys and Dolls.” The entire group sang “Children Will Listen” from “Into the Woods.”

According to the press release, “Community members and organizations will create unique ways to express the value of arts education, ranging from performing a number from a musical, sponsoring tickets for students to see a show, and buying an ad in a school program to sending a thank you note to a theatre educator who made a difference, organizing a flash mob performance in a public space, writing a letter to a politician or volunteering to help out a local production.”

New York City’s Department of Education as well as Music Theater International (MTI), Rodgers & Hammerstein/R&H Theatricals and Tams-Witmark Music Library endorsed the advocacy campaign.

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