PPAC Receives $120,000 Grant from Disney to Fund Theater Education Program
Providence, RI – At a morning press conference held in the Aldermen’s Chambers at Providence City Hall, Joseph W. Walsh, Esq, Chairman of the Providence Performing Arts Center’s Board of Directors, announced that the Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) has been awarded a $120,000 grant from Disney to bring the Disney Musicals in Schools (DMIS) program to Providence.
Disney Musicals in Schools is a free initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create sustainable theater programs in public elementary schools. The grant funds two years of programming; the Providence Performing Arts Center will select five area public elementary schools to participate in the 2019—2020 academic year, and another five will be selected for next academic year.
The selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency, led by a team of teaching artists trained by PPAC and Disney Theatrical Group, at no cost. Each school will receive performance rights, education support materials, and guidance from the teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with PPAC’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 Theatre will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show on the PPAC stage for an audience of students, teachers, family, and community members.
Using the unique world of musical theatre, 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 theatre, including: critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence, and interpersonal skills.
Joseph W. Walsh, Esq., Chairman of the PPAC’s Board of Directors, said, “Experiencing the magic of musical theatre and the performing arts at a young age is life-changing, and the PPAC Board of Directors and administrative staff are thrilled to provide this opportunity to young people in Providence through our partnership with Disney Musicals in Schools. This Season, we have significantly expanded our Community Outreach and Engagement program; we are pleased to have Disney Musicals in Schools be a part of this Initiative.”
”Many people on Broadway and in National Broadway Tours became passionate about musical theatre when they were young,” said J.L. “Lynn” Singleton, PPAC President and CEO. “It is our hope that the students who participate in Disney Musicals in Schools will also become passionate about theatre, and will continue to be involved in the theatre world as they grow up.”
Dana Brazil, PPAC’s Director of Outreach and Engagement said, “I am so pleased that Disney Musicals in Schools and PPAC will help empower young people in Providence by producing and creating their own Disney musical production. We can’t wait to see their productions on the PPAC stage in June 2020!”
“Theater arts provide so many benefits for students: increased confidence, an outlet for creativity and self-expression, and a way to see a world beyond their neighborhood,” said Dr. Fran Gallo, Interim Superintendent of Providence Schools. “The Providence Public Schools District is thrilled to be chosen for this incredible program from Disney, a company that teaches children (and adults) to dream of infinite possibilities.”
Applications are now being accepted for the 2019—2020 academic year. For more information, or to apply, please visit www.ppacri.org/outreach/disney-musicals-in-schools or contact Director of Outreach & Engagement Dana Brazil at
Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Group’s concern that 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.
The Providence Performing Arts Center (PPAC) presents a full roster of touring Broadway productions and contemporary engagements. PPAC has been the theatre of choice in launching nineteen National Tours, including Jimmy Buffett’s ESCAPE TO MARGARITAVILLE, which opens the 2019/2020 Broadway Season, September 29 – October 5, 2019. This Season includes family-friendly shows, like Disney’s ALADDIN, Dr. Seuss’ HOW THE GRINCH STOLE CHRISTMAS! The Musical, BLUE MAN GROUP, and THE SPONGEBOB MUSICAL. PPAC will also have its first sensory-friendly performance, THE ACROBATS OF CIRQUE-TACULAR in November 2019; this show is free and open to all ages!
PPAC is a 3100-seat, world class venue located in the heart of Providence’s arts and entertainment district; it is the second largest theatre of its kind in the country. PPAC is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It has also been ranked by Pollstar as one of the Top Venues in the world.
DISNEY THEATRICAL GROUP (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre producers, bringing live entertainment events to a global audience of more than 20 million people a year in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Group 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. DTG has collaborated with the nation’s preeminent theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Freaky Friday and Hercules. As a part of the recent acquisition of 21st Century Fox, DTG 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.
Disney Theatrical Group 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, DTG 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) 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.