Hennepin Theatre Trust announces four schools selected for Disney Musicals in Schools program

November 16, 2022

Twin Cities area public elementary schools to produce Disney musical at no cost

MINNEAPOLIS (Nov. 16, 2022) — Hennepin Theatre Trust is pleased to announce the four Twin Cities schools that have been selected to participate in the 2022-2023 Disney Musicals in Schools program. The program is an initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced elementary schools. The four schools include are Level Up Academy (White Bear Lake), Pillsbury Hobart Elementary (Minneapolis), Peter Hobart Elementary (St. Louis Park) and Susan Lindgren Elementary (St. Louis Park).

The selected schools will begin a 17-week musical theater residency in January, receiving performance rights, education support materials and guidance from two teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with Hennepin Theatre Trust’s teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. As a capstone to the experience, the Trust will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show at the historic Pantages Theatre (710 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis) for an audience of students, teachers, family and community members.

While the first year of the program was interrupted by the pandemic, Hennepin Theatre Trust is pleased to announce that Peter Hobart Elementary and Susan Lindgren Elementary will be returning to complete their productions and continue their work with the Trust to create a culture of musical theatre at their schools.

Using the unique world of musical theater, Disney Musicals in Schools helps to foster positive relationships between students, faculty, staff, parents and the community.  Students and teachers work in teams, developing the wide spectrum of skills needed when producing a piece of musical theater, including critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence and interpersonal skills.

Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Group’s 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 Group began partnering 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, Frozen, The Aristocats, The Jungle Book, The Lion King and Winnie the Pooh.

For more information about Spotlight Education, please visit HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Disney Musicals in Schools is made possible with support from PNC Bank.

Follow Spotlight Education at:
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Facebook: /SpotlightMN
Twitter: @spotlightMN

Disney Theatrical Productions (DTP), a division of The Walt Disney Studios, was formed in 1994 and operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher. Worldwide, its ten Broadway titles have been seen by more than 200 million theatregoers and have been nominated for 62 Tony® Awards, winning Broadway’s highest honor 20 times. The company’s inaugural production, Beauty and the Beast, opened in 1994. It played a remarkable 13-year run on Broadway and has been produced worldwide. A brand new production of Beauty and the Beast, reimagined by members of the original Broadway creative team—led by Matt West—is currently on tour throughout the UK and Ireland. In November 1997, Disney made theatrical history with the opening of The Lion King, which received six 1998 Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Director, Julie Taymor, who became the first woman in Broadway history to the win the award. Surpassing 25 landmark years on Broadway, it has welcomed 112 million visitors worldwide to date and has nine productions currently running worldwide. The Lion King has played over 100 cities in 24 countries on every continent except Antarctica; its worldwide gross exceeds that of any film, Broadway show or entertainment title in box office history. Elton John and Tim Rice’s Aida opened on Broadway next, winning four 2000 Tony Awards. It was followed by Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, which opened in London in 2004 and went on to enjoy a six-year Tony-winning Broadway run. The show continues its Olivier Award-winning London return at its original home, the Prince Edward Theatre. Tarzan®, which opened on Broadway in 2006, went on to become an international hit with an award-winning production enjoying a ten-year run in Germany. In January 2008, The Little Mermaid opened on Broadway and was the best-selling new musical of that year. DTP opened two critically acclaimed productions on Broadway in 2012, receiving seven Tony Awards between them: Peter and the Starcatcher and Newsies, each of which enjoyed a two-year run and launched North American tours, with Newsies playing a record-breaking Fathom Events in-cinema release. Aladdin, Disney Theatrical’s 2014 hit, continues its smash Broadway run. It has launched eleven productions around the globe and been seen by more than 14 million guests. Its newest hit, the 2018 Tony-nominated Best Musical Frozen currently has five productions around the world: the North American tour, Australia, Japan, London and Hamburg. Other successful stage 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 nation’s preeminent theatres to develop new stage musicals including The Jungle BookThe Hunchback of Notre DameFreaky Friday and Hercules. As a part of the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, DTP also heads the Buena Vista Theatrical banner, which licenses Fox titles for stage adaptations including Anastasia, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, Mrs. Doubtfire and The Devil Wears Prada. With 24 productions currently produced or licensed, a Disney musical is being performed professionally somewhere on the planet virtually every hour of the day.

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.

MTI maintains its global headquarters in New York City (mtishows.com), with additional offices in London (MTI Europe: mtishows.co.ukmtishows.eu) and Melbourne (MTI Australia: mtishows.com.au).

 Hennepin Theatre Trust drives cultural and economic vitality in Minnesota through leadership of the dynamic Hennepin Theatre District in downtown Minneapolis and educational programming that reaches every area of the state. Its historic theatres — Orpheum, State and Pantages — and event center at 900 Hennepin Avenue light up Hennepin Avenue with top-tier entertainment, including the best of Broadway and a wide variety of arts programming. Hennepin Theatre Trust is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. Learn more at HennepinTheatreTrust.org.

Heart of Hennepin – celebrating 100 years of the Hennepin Theatre District
To honor the centennial, Hennepin Theatre Trust is kicking off a yearlong celebration for the Orpheum, State and Pantages theatres, along with The Hennepin event center and 824 Hennepin, home to the Brave New Workshop comedy theatre. This year-long centennial celebration honors the history of the Hennepin Theatre District and looks ahead to what the future holds for the arts, the Trust and downtown neighbors. HennepinTheatreTrust.org/centennial.

This activity is made possible by voters of Minnesota through a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant, thanks to a legislative appropriation from the arts and cultural heritage fund.