"High 5" Provides $5 Theatre, Dance, Music Tickets for Teens

News   "High 5" Provides $5 Theatre, Dance, Music Tickets for Teens Playbill On-Line has joined forces with Camp Broadway and the Columbia Scholastic Press Association at Columbia University during the 2002-03 season to create opportunities for four high school student journalists, covering Broadway news for Playbill's teen readership. From September 2002 until May 2003, four students who were selected for the program will be responsible for writing an article every other month. One such article appears below.

The curious, cosmopolitan, open-minded NYC teenager has no greater friend than "High 5 Tickets to the Arts."

High 5, a non-profit organization in existence since 1995, encourages teenage participation in the arts by offering $5 tickets to events all over the city, including theatre, music, and museums—anywhere from City Center to the most obscure little downtown theatre, from the New York Philharmonic to chamber music concerts on a barge at Fulton Ferry Landing. Any young person aged 13-18 is certain to discover something intriguing, unusual, exciting, or just plain fun among the pages of a "High 5" catalog.

"High 5"’s effort to ignite teenagers’ passion in the arts despite a rigid, high-priced, somewhat pretentious environment has helped to develop a new audience for many artistic mediums. “Many of our teenage users are seeing opera, dance, music, and theatre for the first time though the purchase of a `High 5' ticket.” said Communications Director Denver Latimer. More than 200 arts organizations of great variety donate tickets to their performances and exhibits to reach teenagers from all economic and cultural backgrounds. This is a way to contribute to “a valuable nonprofit in New York City that serves underprivileged youth,” as well as to fill up empty seats with a motivated, enthusiastic crowd.

Tickets may be purchased at any Ticketmaster outlet or online through the "High 5" website. Although the most desirable events in the tri-annual catalog are generally sold out within the first week of the tickets’ anticipated release, new events are constantly being added to the calendar and announced on the website and its weekly e-mail newsletter.

"High 5" also works to promote small arts organizations and the development of fresh, unconventional art forms. “We just saw the opening of the beautiful new space for Dance Theater Workshop,” said Latimer. “Dance Theater is a relatively new concept that wasn’t in existence until this past century. I anticipate offering `High 5' tickets to more fusion art forms, more events that test the boundaries of artistic genres such as underwater ballet and new forms of vaudeville performance.” In addition to providing tickets, "High 5" organizes several leadership and critical writing programs, including the new Teen Reviewers and Critics Program (TRaC) for high school upperclassmen, led by Stacey Engels. A vigorous schedule of weekly workshops and seminars with known critics and artists helps to “cultivate a new generation of art critics whose writing reflects and celebrates the cultural wealth and diversity of New York City.” According to Engels, “Writing endows individuals with power – even if it is just that to make a more informed decision about what play they’ll see tonight. We hope that students participating in TRaC will find themselves better equipped to formulate questions and approach a writing project in a way that is both well-structured and imaginative.”

"High 5" ensures the persistence of a young population still excited about the arts. Latimer, like the entire staff of "High 5," recognizes the universal importance of artistic growth and self-expression: “We live in the largest city with the greatest amount of artists in America, perhaps in the whole world. Every time an artist sits down to dream, to think, to compose, to write, or to paint we are a possible audience for that product.”

Further information about "High 5 Tickets to the Arts," along with a comprehensive calendar of events, may be found on its official website, www.high5tix.org. As the "High 5" fall-winter season ends Jan. 30, interested teenagers should anticipate a new listing of events to be announced within several weeks.

- Ilya Khodosh
Playbill On-Line Stringer