As the 2018–2019 school year begins, the Broadway League has a special extracurricular in mind for tenth graders in the New York City Public School System: a Broadway show.
The League’s Broadway Bridges initiative, presented with support from the New York City Department of Education and United Federation of Teachers, launched as a pilot program in 2017 and, with the new season in full swing, they aim to help 17,500 sophomores and chaperones visit the Great White Way.
This year, 17 Broadway productions will participate: Aladdin, Anastasia, Beautiful, Chicago, Come From Away, Frozen, King Kong, Kinky Boots, Mean Girls, School of Rock, Summer, The Band’s Visit, The Lion King, The Phantom of the Opera, The Play That Goes Wrong, The Prom, and Wicked. Producers sell tickets for $20 to Broadway Bridges, which subsidizes half that cost for the schools.
The goal, over time, is to reach all 70,000 sophomore students in the public school system across all five boroughs.
“We know from various studies,” explains Broadway League President Charlotte St. Martin, “kids who are interested and get to experience the arts do better in school and in their lives.” To supplement the theatregoing experience, the League also provides study guides and additional resources.
But ultimately, Broadway Bridges isn’t about study guides or textbooks. “This is about enhancing your life with a cultural experience and seeing it live,” says St. Martin. “Most of these kids have not seen a Broadway show, or anything remotely like it. It opens their eyes to the magic of Broadway.”
For more information, visit BroadwayBridges.org.