Disney Musicals in Schools
Puts Students in the Spotlight on
The Smith Center Stage
The Smith Center is among 21 arts organizations in the world collaborating with Disney Musicals in Schools
On March 4, more than 300 elementary students from Clark County schools will have the extraordinary opportunity to sing and dance onstage at The Smith Center as the result of their first experience producing a work of musical theater in their school.
Disney provided the seed grant in 2012 for The Smith Center to offer the Disney Musicals in Schools program to 5 Clark County School District (CCSD) elementary schools each year, with subsequent funding from the Elaine P. Wynn & Family Foundation since 2014. The program is designed to create sustainable theater programs in elementary schools. Through the program, participating schools produce a Disney KIDS musical in their school and join in a culminating performance at The Smith Center. Participating schools for the 2018 – 2019 school year include: Doris Hancock Elementary, Harley Harmon Elementary, Helen Herr Elementary, Paradise Professional Development School, and Richard Rundle Elementary. Hualapai Elementary from Kingman, Arizona will also participate through their involvement in the pilot year of a geographic expansion grant, in which Disney awarded additional funds to The Smith Center to partner with Kingman Center for the Arts in an expansion of the program into a rural area.
“We are happy to see The Smith Center’s Disney Musicals in Schools program thrive in CCSD elementary schools for a sixth year,” shared Myron Martin, President and CEO of The Smith Center. “The addition of the Geographic Expansion Pilot and our new partnership with Kingman Center for the Arts has been insightful and rewarding. Addressing arts programs in our community and supporting similar endeavors in neighboring areas is vital to the overall sustainability of the arts throughout the country.”
The selected schools participated in a 17-week musical theater residency led by a team of teaching artists trained by The Smith Center and Disney Theatrical Productions at no cost. Each school received performance rights, educational support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The program featured a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partnered with The Smith Center teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. This year, participating schools produced Aladdin KIDS, Aristocats KIDS, Cinderella KIDS, The Lion King KIDS, and The Jungle Book KIDS. The Student Share Celebration on March 4 is the culmination of this year’s program and will be hosted by Eric B. Anthony.
Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Productions’ concern that under-resourced public elementary schools were not afforded equitable access to the arts. After successfully offering the program in New York City schools, Disney Theatrical Productions began collaborating with organizations in other communities across the United States.
Disney KIDS musicals, created in partnership with Music Theater International (MTI), are 30-minute musicals designed for elementary school performers and have been adapted from the classic Disney films 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh.
The hallmark of downtown Las Vegas’ 61-acre urban development known as Symphony Park, The Smith Center for the Performing Arts is a public-private partnership that opened in March 2012. Heralded as the city’s Heart of the Arts®, The Smith Center is an architectural triumph and long-awaited cultural achievement that educates and entertains the citizens of Southern Nevada. The $470 million world-class performing arts center offers a blend of performances by resident companies, first-run touring attractions, lectures and internationally-acclaimed performers in music, theater and dance. The five-acre campus features four performance spaces including the 2,050-seat Reynolds Hall, the 244-seat Myron’s Cabaret Jazz club, the 220-seat Troesh Studio Theater and the 1.7-acre Donald W. Reynolds Symphony Park for outdoor concerts. Additionally, the campus is home to the Discovery Children’s Museum that opened in March 2013. For more information about The Smith Center for the Performing Arts, please visit www.TheSmithCenter.com. Keep up with news and events on Facebook and follow The Smith Center on Twitter at @SmithCenterLV.
DISNEY THEATRICAL PRODUCTIONS (DTP) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 20 million people in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway productions around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, TARZAN®, Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, The Little Mermaid, Peter and the Starcatcher, Newsies, Aladdin, and Frozen. Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country’s leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Freaky Friday.
Disney Theatrical Productions also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Marvel Universe Live!, bringing beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide. In addition, DTP licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of The Lion King.
Music Theatre International (MTI)
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser, and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.
MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.
MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre, and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.