Apply to the Second Round of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” Grant Program!

Apply to the Second Round of “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” Grant Program!

In the fall of 2023, The Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF), The Music Man Foundation (TMMF) and MTI announced a special partnership to give up to ten high schools a unique opportunity to perform the new, revised version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown ahead of its general release.

Overwhelming interest allowed the program to extend with six additional grants in this first round, with 16 schools receiving $10,000 awards to produce Dick Scanlan's updated version of the Meredith Willson musical in either 2024 or 2025.

A second round for grant program is now underway! Any accredited high school based in the United States is eligible to apply. Schools interested in the opportunity to produce the new version of the show can apply here.

The deadline for the second round of applications is April 15th, and the announcement of recipients will happen in mid-May.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown Grant seeks to enhance the capacity of school theatre programs to impact students, educators, and their communities-at-large. Applicants are asked to demonstrate plans to use the show as a tool to engage their school and surrounding population in themes present in the musical, including women's and immigrants' rights, community-building, and the civic-minded "share-the-luck spirit" embodied by Molly Brown. A selection committee comprised of members of the three partner organizations will review applications for productions in the 2024-25 school years.

The first schools receiving grants are Aloha High School in Beaverton, Oregon; Arts High School in Newark, New Jersey; Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska; Byng High School in Byng, Oklahoma; Clear Brook High School in Friendswood, Texas; Columbus School for Girls in Columbus, Ohio; Garden City High School in Garden City, Kansas; Grants Pass High School in Grants Pass, Oregon; Harry S. Truman High School in Levittown, Pennsylvania; Lake City High School in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho; Little Flower Catholic High School for Girls in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Maryvale Preparatory School in Lutherville, Maryland; Morris Area High School in Morris, Minnesota; Seaside High School in Seaside, California; Walnut Hills High School in Cincinnati, Ohio; and Woodmont High School in Piedmont, South Carolina. More information can be found here.

"The Educational Theatre Foundation is proud to champion this new grant opportunity," said Matt Conover, chair of the foundation. "Using theatre as a means to promote racial equity and spark social activism in underserved populations is a key part of ETF's mission, and the themes of women's rights, labor rights, and immigration reform present in Margaret Brown's story align with that mission. We look forward to seeing the next generation engage with this classic musical in new and empowering ways."

The Unsinkable Molly Brown is the rags-to-riches love story of Molly and Leadville Johnny Brown, owners of the richest mine in the U.S. at the turn of the twentieth century. The show features music and lyrics by the incomparable Meredith Willson, and a book and additional lyrics by Tony-nominated author Dick Scanlan (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Renascence) based on the original book by Richard Henry Morris.

"Dick Scanlan's work on updating this classic for new performers and audience members is outstanding," said John Prignano, MTI's Chief Operating Officer and Director of Development and Education. "Timeless numbers from the original, like 'I Ain't Down Yet' and 'I'll Never Say No' are featured, while 'He's My Friend' has been added from the film along with clever and insightful new lyrics from some of Meredith Willson's beloved trunk songs. The result is a fantastic new show that resonates today while maintaining the heart and spirit of Willson's and Morris' original golden-age masterpiece."

This revitalized version of The Unsinkable Molly Brown includes everyone's favorite songs with a story about Molly as she really was: vibrant, progressive, and ready to fight for the underdog as a champion of women's rights, labor rights, and immigration reform.

“Whether these funds help a school produce its first full-scale musical or enhance a well-established theatre program, we look forward to many more high schools across the country delving into The Unsinkable Molly Brown’s new book and thinking about how their community will celebrate Molly Brown’s civic-mindedness and Meredith Willson’s music,” says Tom Camp, president of The Music Man Foundation.

MTI plans a wider release of the show to all theatrical organizations in 2024, following the awarding of the first round of grants. A free read of the revised script as well as selections from a new cast recording can be found here.

Apply Now!


About The Educational Theatre Foundation

The Educational Theatre Foundation was incorporated in 1995 as the fundraising arm for the Educational Theatre Association, the professional association that supports theatre teachers in the United States and around the world. In 2017, the ETF National Board of Trustees was assembled and tasked to launch the Foundation as a national leader in philanthropy to support equitable access to theatre education for all students.

About The Music Man Foundation

The Music Man Foundation is named after the Tony-winning musical written by Meredith Willson. Meredith’s widow, Rosemary, started the Foundation in 1998 as the Meredith and Rosemary Willson Charitable Foundation and substantially increased the Foundation’s endowment upon her death in 2010. The Foundation’s mission is to empower organizations using music to catalyze enduring change and to amplify our founders’ musical legacy. Over the last decade, the Foundation has awarded more than $25 million to 85 organizations. In addition to creating “The Music Man,” Meredith Willson wrote the music and lyrics for “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” and beloved songs “It’s Beginning to Look Like Christmas” and the University of Iowa fight song.