BROADWAY BRIDGES

November 07, 2019 at 5:00 am

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. 

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>> 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.

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