This year, we received a grant from Disney to introduce musical theater programs in Cuyahoga County grade schools where these programs previously didn’t exist. After an application process, four schools – Campus International School, Paul L. Dunbar Elementary, Marion-Sterling and Oxford Elementary School – were chosen for the 17-week theater residency program, culminating in a 30-minute Disney KIDS Musical performance.
After months of practice, the schools came together to each perform one number from their respective shows at a Student Share Celebration on March 7 in the Ohio Theatre, a show hosted by News Net 5’s Leon Bibb and Playhouse Square Executive Producer Gina Vernaci. Family, friends and community members were invited to attend the event, where more than 290 students stepped foot onstage to perform.
The impact of Disney Musicals in Schools is seen far beyond the applause. The students who participated developed a stronger sense of self-confidence with a moment in the spotlight, practiced working as a team, and strengthened speaking and reading skills as they learned musical theater techniques. Plus, all four schools saw increased attendance, as school attendance was a requirement for participating in after-school rehearsals. Take it from Adrian, a student performing in Campus International School’s production of Aladdin, KIDS.
With the first year of the Disney Musicals in Schools program behind us, we’re looking forward to the next to begin. Public schools in Cuyahoga and Lorain Counties with a student poverty level of 50% or higher may apply for the 2016-17 Disney Musicals in Schools Program now through April 8, 2016: http://www.playhousesquare.org/disney-musicals-in-schools