BROADWAY BRIDGES

We’ll tell you about an ambitious program that is bridging education and Broadway to create the next generation of theater fans.

Aired on November 6, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

SO, WANT A NEW WAY TO GET HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS TO LEARN?

SEND THEM TO A BROADWAY SHOW.

STUDIES CONSISTENTLY SHOW THAT STUDENTS THAT ENGAGE IN THE ARTS THAT INCLUDES ATTENDING LIVE PERFORMANCES BENEFIT ACADEMICALLY AND IT'S GOOD FOR THE NEW YORK CITY THEATER BUSINESS TO HAVE YOUNGER AND MORE DIVERSE AUDIENCES BECAUSE THEY ARE BUILDING TOMORROW'S THEATER GOERS.

> SO TWO YEARS AGO, THE BROADWAY LEAGUE LAUNCHED BROADWAY BRIDGES, JOINING US TO EXPLAIN IT ALL IS RACHEL RHINER, THE DIRECTOR OF AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT AND A NEW YORK CITY HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE WHO ATTENDED THE LION KING PERFORMANCE AS PART OF THE PROGRAM.

NICE TO HAVE YOU BOTH HERE WITH US.

THANK YOU.

THANK YOU.

RACHEL, LET'S START WITH YOU, WHERE DID THE IDEA COME FROM?

WELL THE BROADWAY LEAGUE IS THE NATIONAL TRADE ASSOCIATION FOR COMMERCIAL THEATER AND WE REPRESENT BROADWAY.

AND WE HAVE MANY DEMOGRAPHIC REPORTS AND WE SEE WHO IS ATTENDING BROADWAY SHOWS AND WE NOTICED THAT NOT EVERY NEW YORKER GOES TO SEE A BROADWAY SHOW AND WE WANT TO ENCOURAGE THAT AND EVERY NEW YORKER GOES TO SCHOOL.

SO, WE DEVELOPED A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION AND THE UNITED FEDERATION OF TEACHERS AND BROUGHT TOGETHER INDUSTRY LEADERS TO FIND A WAY TO BRING EVERY SINGLE NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL STUDENT TO SEE A BROADWAY SHOW BEFORE THEY GRADUATE.

THAT SOUNDS LIKE AN EN -- IT SOUNDS LIKE A HUGE PROJECT.

WE STARTED IN JANUARY 2017 WITH A SMALL GROUP OF SCHOOLS AND CHAPERONES AND STUDENTS WHO WENT TO SEE THE SHOWS.

OVER THE LAST TWO YEARS WE HAVE DEVELOPED A WEBSITE AT BROADWAY BRIDGES.ORG, SO TEACHERS CAN SELECT THE SHOWS ON THE DAYS THEY WANT TO BRING THEIR CLASSES AND HOW MANY STUDENTS, AND THEY HAVE THE OPPORTUNITY TO GO, AND WE HAVE BROUGHT 26,000 CHAPERONES AND STUDENTS TO SEE A SHOW IN THE LAST TWO YEARS AND IT GROWS EVERY YEAR.

I MENTION IN THE INTRODUCTION THAT STUDIES SHOWING THAT THERE'S ACADEMIC BENEFITS.

WHAT SORT OF BENEFITS ARE WE TALKING ABOUT HERE?

ABSOLUTELY, WELL THERE'S ACADEMIC BENEFITS.

THERE'S MANY STUDIES THAT SHOW TEST SCORES IMPROVE, AND THEIR WRITING SKILLS IMPROVE AND THEN THE SECONDARY ONE IS THE RELATIONSHIP ORIENTED PEOPLE RELATIONSHIP, PEOPLE ARE MORE EMPATHETIC AND HAVE MORE RELATIONSHIPS AND A FEEDBACK THAT WE GET FROM TEACHERS IS COMMUNITY BUILDING IN THE SCHOOLS IS AN IMPORTANT ELEMENT.

THIS OPPORTUNITY TO SEE A SHOW, HELPS THE STUDENTS REACH OUT WITHIN THEIR OWN COMMUNITY AS WELL.

LET ME COME TO YOU.

OKAY.

HOW DID YOU LEARN ABOUT THIS PROGRAM AND HOW DID YOU GET INVOLVED IN IT?

I DIDN'T KNOW ABOUT IT BEFORE, BUT MY TEACHERS WAS GIVING OUT TICKETS TO THE BROADWAY SHOW AND I THOUGHT COOL, AND I HAD NEVER BEEN BEFORE.

AND I WANTED TO GO, OBVIOUSLY, AND IT WAS COOL.

THIS IS A FIRST OPPORTUNITY TO GO?

YEAH.

DESCRIBE WHAT YOUR FIRST THOUGHTS ARE WHEN THE CAST IS COMING DOWN THE AISLES SINGING.

I DIDN'T EXPECT IT.

I DECIDED IT WAS GOING TO BE LIKE SOMEBODY COMING TO THE STAGE AND SINGING.

BUT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT AND THEN, THERE'S LIKE MUSIC AND THE GUYS CAME IN, AND IT WAS A -- IT WAS AMAZING.

I SAW THE PEOPLE SINGING, I WAS ON THE EDGE.

IT WAS COOL.

WHAT DID YOU SAY TO YOUR FRIENDS?

IT WAS SURREAL, IT WAS MIND BLOWING.

IT WAS BROADWAY.

THEY OUT DID IT.

THAT'S THE RESPONSE THAT YOU WANT TO GET, RACHEL, FROM THE YOUNT STUDENTS S -- FROM THE YG STUDENTS HERE.

THERE'S SOME THAT ARE BASED ON COMPETITIONS TO GET THE STUDENTS IN TO BROADWAY SHOWS.

WE DID A SEGMENT IN TIME BACK WITH REGARD TO HAMILTON, AND WHAT THEY DID TO GET STUDENTS THERE AND STUDENTS THEN PERFORMED BEFORE THE SHOWS ON SOME DAYS.

THIS IS DESIGNED TO BE MORE BROAD BASED.

YOU SAID THE IDEA EVENTUALLY IS TO GET EVERY STUDENT.

TO START OFF WITH, HOW ARE YOU DETERMINING WHICH STUDENTS COME AND HOW IS IT ARRANGED THROUGH THE THEATERS THEMSELVES?

FIRST OF ALL, YOU ARE RIGHT.

THE HAMILTON PROGRAM, MANY BROADWAY NOT FOR PROFITS, TDS, HAD WONDERFUL PROGRAMS.

AND WHAT WE HAVE DONE AT THE BROADWAY LEAGUE IS BROUGHT TOGETHER THE COMMERCIAL PRODUCERS OF SHOWS WHO ARE INDEPENDENT AGENCIES AND CREATED A CONDUIT SO TEACHERS HAVE ONE PLACE TO GO TO HAVE ACCESS TO GET OFFERS FROM BROADWAY SHOWS, AND WE ARE IN A UNIQUE POSITION AS THE TRADE ASSOCIATION THAT WE CAN FIND OUGHT OF THE TICKETS AND WE OFFER THEM FOR $10 FOR THE STUDENTS AND CHAPERONES TO THE SCHOOLS AND WE ARE ABLE TO PURCHASE THE TICKETS WITH SPONSORS AND INDIVIDUAL VENODRS AND THEY ARE ABLE TO SELECT WHAT SHOW THEY WANT TO SEE.

AND THE KEY DIFFERENTIAL POINT IS THAT OUR PROGRAM IS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT ACCESS.

THERE ARE NOT LAYERS.

THERE'S NOT A COMPETITION LIKE YOU SAID.

THERE'S NOT A LOT OF WORK THAT THE TEACHERS HAVE TO DO OTHER THAN COORDINATING THE FIELD TRIP.

BECAUSE OUR POINT IS, IF WE CAN JUST GET THEM IN THE DOOR, AS THE FIRST STEP, THAT THAT WILL OPEN SO MANY OPPORTUNITIES TO THEM.

NUMBER ONE, ALL OF THE ACADEMIC AND SOCIO BENEFITS THAT WE HAVE ALREADY DISCUSSED AND YES, IT HELPS THE BROADWAY COMMUNITY DIVERSIFY OUR AUDIENCE.

BECAUSE THE NEW Y-- NEW YORK PU SCHOOLS ARE SO DIVERSE.

AND THEY LEARN ABOUT NONPERFORMANCE CAREERS, THINGS THAT THEY ARE NOT SURE EXIST.

YOU HAVE TO BE ON STAGE TO BE ON BROADWAY.

THAT IS RIGHT.

DO YOU SEE YOURSELF AFTER BEING EXPOSED TO THIS ONE SHOW, SAYING I WOULD LIKE TO GET BACK AND SEE OTHER THINGS?

EVERYONE WAS LIKE TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY WANT TO WRI-- TH WANT TO BRING THE KIDS BACK.

I GREW UP WATCHING THAT, MULTIPLE TIMES AND I WOULD LIKE TO SEE IT AGAIN.

IT BROUGHT BACK SO MANY MEMORIES.

EVERYONE WAS LIKE, THEY WANT TO BRING THEIR KIDS THERE.

SO THEY HAVE GOT YOU NOW.

AS A BROADWAY PHFAN.

YEAH, IT'S NOT A BAD THING TO BE.

IF THE FOLKS FROM THE SCHOOL, THE TEACHERS AND ADMINISTRATORS ARE WATCHING IT AND SAYING, IT'S A GREAT IDEA.

HOW DO THEY GET INVOLVED IN THE PROGRAM?

WELL, OUR GOAL IS TO REACH EVERY SINGLE NEW YORK CITY PUBLIC HIGH SCHOOL, AND WE DON'T HAVE A CONTACT IN ALL OF THEM.

SO, IF A TEACHER WERE A PRINCIPAL, OR A SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR, GOES TO BROADWAY BRIDGES.ORG, THEY CAN REGISTER, AND THEN, THEY WILL GET ALL OF THE INFORMATION AND THE PASSWORD PROTECTED PORTAL TO PICK WHAT TICKETS THEY WANT TO TAKE THEIR STUDENTS TO.

IT'S A MARVELOUS PROGRAM.

THANK YOU FOR SPENDING TIME WITH US.

GLAD YOU WERE ABLE TO BE A BROADWAY FAN.

THANK YOU FOR COMING IN WITH US AND TALKING WITH US.

FOR MORE INFORMATION ON THE BROADWAY BRIDGES PROGRAM.

MAKE SURE TO JOIN OUR WEBSITE, AT 'METROFOCUS --

Funders

MetroFocus is made possible by James and Merryl Tisch, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, the Sylvia A. and Simon B. Poyta Programming Endowment to Fight Anti-Semitism, Bernard and Irene Schwartz, Rosalind P. Walter, Barbara Hope Zuckerberg, Jody and John Arnhold, the Cheryl and Philip Milstein Family, Janet Prindle Seidler, Judy and Josh Weston and the Dr. Robert C. and Tina Sohn Foundation.

WNET

© WNET All Rights Reserved.

825 Eighth Avenue

New York, NY 10019