The 14th Annual Shubert Foundation/ Music Theatre International BROADWAY JUNIOR® Middle School Student Finale

The 14th Annual Shubert Foundation/ Music Theatre International BROADWAY JUNIOR® Middle School Student Finale

The 14th annual Shubert Foundation/Music Theatre International Broadway Junior® Student Finale will take place on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 at 10:45 a.m. at Broadway's Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street). The event will be hosted by James Harkness and Jawan M. Jackson, stars from Broadway's new hit, Ain't Too Proud: The Life and Times of The Temptations.The Shubert Foundation / MTI Broadway Junior® partnership is a groundbreaking musical theatre mentorship program that helps public schools affect school culture change through building sustainable theatre education programs. Hundreds of participating students will share musical numbers from their fully produced school shows at the Finale. For many, their first musical theatre experience performing will be on Broadway.

New York City Public School students from Brooklyn, Bronx, Queens and Manhattan will perform numbers from their full school productions of Broadway musicals. The shows include Hairspray JR.; Once on This Island JR.; Disney's Aladdin JR.; Disney's Beauty and the Beast JR.; Legally Blonde the Musical JR.; Disney's The Lion King JR.; Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka JR; Disney's The Little Mermaid and Madagascar JR.

The program is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation, Music Theatre International (MTI) and the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). In attendance at the Broadway Junior® Student Finale will be Philip J. Smith, Chairman and Co-CEO of The Shubert Organization, Robert E. Wankel, President and Co-CEO of The Shubert Organization, Michael I. Sovern, President of The Shubert Foundation, representatives from the Office of Arts and Special Projects for the NYC Department of Education, prominent NYC arts educators, and leading members of New York's professional theatre community.

President and CEO of Music Theatre International Drew Cohen, and Music Theatre International's Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon will officially begin the proceedings with welcoming remarks from the stage. Shubert Foundation President Michael I. Sovern will introduce this year's Broadway Junior® hosts, James Harkness and Jawan M. Jackson.

"As a lifelong musician, I understand the importance of equitable access to high-quality arts education in our public schools," said NYC Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. "I thank the Shubert Foundation and Music Theatre International for their partnership in supporting our students and expanding access to the mosaic of cultural experiences that makes New York the greatest city in the world."

Michael I. Sovern, President of The Shubert Foundation, stated, "Every year, the Broadway Junior celebration is a joyful burst of youthful talent and energy that lights up Broadway. The long-running success of this program clearly demonstrates the value of The Shubert Foundation's ongoing support for arts education programs in our New York City public schools."

"I am enormously gratified, along with Team MTI to witness how this program has matured and expanded over 14 years. The unanticipated long term impact on the students, schools and local communities has gone beyond what any of us could have envisaged as the participating students are learning life skills, indispensable to their futures. These include the ability to collaborate, follow direction and instruction, practice self-discipline and work ethics, and use their imaginations while honing their verbal communication skills and developing social skills which will serve them well in navigating life. These are the great gifts to give a new generation, critical for success, and generally atypical of traditional curricula," said Freddie Gershon, Co-Chairman of MTI who conceived the Broadway Junior Musicals Program.

"What an incredible opportunity for our public middle school students to share the theatre they have learned in school - now on a Shubert Broadway stage. These first-time young artists collaborated with their peers and teachers to produce unique inspired musicals for their diverse school communities and now for Broadway. A wonderful reminder of the power of theatre education and inclusivity on stage, in the classroom and beyond," said Peter Avery, the Festival's producer and the Director of Theatre for the NYC Department of Education.

The Shubert Foundation / MTI Broadway Junior® program engages students in all aspects and areas of the arts, utilizing master teachers and expert production advisers from the educational theatre organizations, iTheatrics, Broadway Bound Kids and ArtsConnection.

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 serve as inspiration for other schools involved in earlier cycles of the program.