Photo Class Is in Session! Young Broadway Stars Turn Out for Back to School Week Promo Shoot (Video)

News   Photo Class Is in Session! Young Broadway Stars Turn Out for Back to School Week Promo Shoot (Video)
Twenty young stars from Broadway's The King and I, Fun Home, The Lion King, Kinky Boots and School of Rock — The Musical met in Times Square to help Playbill prepare for our special week-long program of Back to School (#BwayBacktoSchool) stories! The fun shoot with photographer Monica Simoes collected a bevy of images to use as the logo for the inaugural week of features that will help everyone get ready for the upcoming new school year.

It pays to put some thought into your logo.

When was planning our special Back to School Week programming, we knew we’d need a catchy logo to pull it all together. In one of our brainstorming sessions we came up with ideas about a kid giving a thumbs-up or a school bus, or a classroom, but nothing really jumped out.

Wait a minute…jumped out?

And that’s when we had it. We’d do an homage to the memorable kids-jumping logo from the 1980 film (and 1988 stage musical) “Fame,” the story of talented kids struggling toward stardom at New York's High School for the Performing Arts (now LaGuardia High School).

Broadway shows are full of kid actors right now. Our original plan was to get a handful and have them jump in the air for our photographer and, boom, we’d have our logo.

Little did we expect that nearly 20 budding Mermans and Brynners would enthusiastically say yes—and that their great wranglers, parents and press agents would agree to guide them to our shooting locations.

We picked two, because we weren't sure if either shoot would succeed in the matinee day noontime crowds of Times Square. The Shubert Organization generously allowed us to do one shoot in legendary Shubert Alley. The Times Square Alliance equally generously allowed us to use the red-stair roof of the TKTS booth for a backup site.

Well, this plan turned out only about 100 times better than we expected. The kids turned out to be complete pros, jumping and posing and smiling and gesturing on command of our photographer Monica Simoes, videographer Mark Ezovski, editor in chief Blake Ross, and graphic designer Robbie Rozelle.

Tourists even cooperated, allowing themselves to be routed around the site of the first shoot in Shubert Alley.

We knew the Times Square Alliance was waiting for us, so we shepherded Broadway's Future two blocks to Duffy Square where we had expected a small corner of the stairs to be roped off. Nope! They chained off the entire staircase for half an hour, complete with security guards to keep the tourists, theatregoers and costumed Elmos at bay. Not that the crowd minded, once the kids showed up. Hundreed if not thousand of tourists took cell phone photos of the kids bouncing giddily on the steps in the bright sun.

Did I mention the sun? Yes, even the weather cooperated. Sunny, but not too hot.

It was around that time that we realized this had become so much bigger than just our logo. It was a Happening.

So enjoy the logo. And check out the original video of the event we took that day.

Here are the names of the kids who took part. Take note: these names will probably be around Broadway for a long time to come:

Luca Padovan and Evie Dolan from School of Rock

Jake Lucas, Sam Poon, Amaya Braganza, Jon Viktor Corpus from The King and I

Nathaniel Logan McIntyre, Jahi Diallo Winston and Shadadi Wright Joseph from The Lion King

Gabby Pizzolo, Oscar Williams, Zell Steele Morrow and Sydney Lucas from Fun Home

Douglas Baldeo, Jake Katzman, Jeremy T. Villas, and Graham Montgomery from Kinky Boots

Special thanks to Tyree Abernathy and Tom Harris (and their staffs) from The Times Square Alliance and Bill Evans from the Shubert Organization, who made the two shoots possible.


Previously, Playbill presented Women in Theatre Week and Staycation Week.

Don't you wish you could have your name in a real Playbill like the kids who work on Broadway? You can! PLAYBILLder makes it easy.

Learn everything you need to know about getting ready for the new school year with's special Back to School Week! Read more stories here and follow us on social media at #BwayBacktoSchool.

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