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Black Tie International:
The First Annual Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival
 Shubert Organization’s Chairman, Phillip Smith, Shubert Foundation PresidentMichael I. Sovern, Carmen Fariña, of the New York City Department of Education,  Host, Alex Sharp and President Robert E. Wankel.  Photo by:  David Dupuy/
 Shubert Organization’s Chairman, Phillip Smith, Shubert Foundation President
Michael I. Sovern,
Carmen Fariña, of the New York City Department of Education,
 Host, Alex Sharp and President Robert E. Wankel.  Photo by:  David Dupuy/
Star of ‘The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time’
NEW YORK – The first annual Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival for New York City Public Schools took place on Monday, March 9 at Broadway’s Imperial Theatre (249 West 45th Street) at 7:00 p.m. More than 100 talented students from five select New York City high schools made their Broadway debuts.
Hosting the event was Alex Sharp, the acclaimed young star of the Broadway hit, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.
Chancellor Carmen Fariña, of the New York City Department of Education,  provided the welcome remarks and introduced the Shubert Organization’s Chairman, Philip J. Smith and President Robert E. Wankel. Shubert Foundation President Michael I. Sovern  introduced the host, Alex Sharp.
The Festival is a celebration featuring five outstanding high school student theater productions from the 2014-2015 school year. The shows have been chosen by a panel of theater professionals and arts educators. Students will present excerpted scenes and musical numbers from:
Talent Unlimited High School (Manhattan)
Maspeth High School (Queens)
Susan Wagner High School (Staten Island)
Frank Sinatra High School for the Arts (Queens)
LaGuardia High School (Manhattan)
 “Theater study teaches students the importance of revising, editing, rehearsing and joy in the pursuit of mastery – a lesson critical in the classroom and beyond,” said Chancellor Carmen Fariña. “Expanding access to theater, and more generally arts education, helps inspire students, builds confidence and deepens their critical thinking skills. By taking advantage of the City’s rich cultural resources, and partnering with great organizations like Shubert, we will continue to provide our students with critical hands-on learning experiences in the arts.”
Shubert Organization Chairman Philip J. Smith stated, “We are thrilled to introduce this new Foundation event. It’s a perfect expression of what we’re trying to accomplish by supporting arts education. I look forward to watching these New York City stars of tomorrow light up the stage at the Imperial.”
In attendance at the event were members of Chancellor Fariña’s cabinet from the Department of Education, prominent NYC arts educators, leading members of New York’s professional theater community, schoolmates from each participating school and a large contingent of fellow students and proud family members.
The Festival is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation in partnership with the New York City Department of Education (NYCDOE). Funding for the Festival and for a range of existing Shubert Foundation programs in New York City public schools, comes from this year’s grant of $525,000. Since 2005, The Shubert Foundation has provided more than $3.2 million to the New York City Department of Education for Arts/Theatre programs.
The High School Theatre Festival aims to showcase the ongoing and excellent theatre work currently happening in NYC public high schools, as well as highlight the positive effects of theater study on skills for the stage and in life: collaboration, artistry, discipline, focus, literacy, student voice, self-awareness, presence, active listening and empathy.  The evening focuses on the impact a full theater program can have on students and school communities. The festival enables students to see that a life in the theater can be a legitimate career path.
“The Festival provides a high profile forum on Broadway to celebrate, promote and advocate for theater education for all students, according to Peter Avery, Director of Theater, for the NYC Department of Education, and the Festival’s producer.
The Shubert Foundation
The Shubert Foundation, Inc. is the largest institutional funder of theatre education programs throughout NYC public schools and the nation’s largest private foundation dedicated to unrestricted funding of not-for-profit theaters, with a secondary focus on dance. The Shubert Foundation, Inc. was established in 1945 by the legendary team of the brothers Lee and J.J. Shubert who produced more than 520 plays, musicals and revues, as well as owned and operated a nationwide network of legitimate theaters. For more information, visit
New York City Department of Education
The New York City Department of Education is the largest system of public schools in the United States, serving about 1.1 million students in more than 1,750 schools. The Department of Education supports universal access to arts education through the ArtsCount initiative, which tracks and reports student participation in arts education and holds schools accountable for meeting New York State Instructional Requirements for the Arts. For more information, visit

joyce brooks, gerard mckeon.  photo by:  rose billings

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