Nick Jonas – the popular singer/songwriter who is currently starring in the Tony-nominated How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying – will serve as master of ceremonies as hundreds of students from middle and intermediate New York City Public Schools in Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Manhattan make their Broadway debut on stage at the Shubert Theatre (225 W. 44 St.) on Tuesday, May 29 at 10:30 a.m., the culminating event of the 7th annual Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Student Program. The students will perform a song from their school's production of a student version of a Broadway musical, including Annie JR., Once on this Island JR., Disney's Aladdin JR., Guys and Dolls JR., Bugsy Malone JR., Meredith Willson's The Music Man JR., Dear Edwina JR., Fame JR., Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR., and Thoroughly Modern Millie JR.
This special student Broadway performance is the year-end celebration of the Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program, a ground-breaking musical theater mentorship program which builds self-sustaining theater programs in public schools that have limited arts programming. The program is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, Music Theatre International (MTI) and The New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). The May 29 event is produced by New York City's educational musical theater consulting firm iTheatrics. Use of The Shubert Theatre has been provided by The Shubert Organization.
Among those expected to be on hand to join Mr. Jonas and the NYC students in the celebration of the 2012 Broadway JR. Program will be Robert E. Wankel, Co-CEO and President of The Shubert Organization; Dennis Walcott, Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education; and Freddie Gershon, Chairman and CEO of MTI, creator of the Broadway Junior program and a recipient of both the 2012 Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre and a Mayoral Proclamation in honor of MTI's 60th anniversary from the City of New York.
The Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program aims to engage as many students as possible in all aspects and areas of the arts. 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 now serve as inspiration for other schools involved in earlier cycles of the program.
The program was founded in the 2005-2006 school year. To date, 34 schools have participated in the program. Twenty-two schools are currently involved in the 2011-2012 program, including six first-year schools; three second-year schools; and 13 'graduated' schools that have worked to develop and building sustainable theater education programs.
Many of the students in participating in the Shubert Foundation/MTI Broadway JR. Program had not ever seen a musical prior to their involvement. What a difference a school year makes: now choruses of "Tomorrow, Tomorrow" from Annie JR. by Thomas Meehan, Charles Strouse, and Martin Charnin and "Why We Tell the Story" from Once on this Island JR. by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty are soaring down the hallways in public schools as students rehearse. In addition to performing a selection from a musical on Broadway at the May 29th event, each school will present its full musical in its community.