The Broadway Classroom program, in which Broadway performers and American musical theater arts professionals provide training to youngsters, will make its international debut in China soon.
Partnering with China’s music education-consulting firm, Motif Music, the John Gore Organization’s ongoing Broadway Classroom program will visit seven schools and two organizations, with the goal of instructing more than 1,000 Chinese students in Shanghai and Wuhan, capital city of Hubei province, from Jan 9-19.
“We are thrilled to make Broadway Classroom’s debut in China in the New Year,” said Gore, owner and CEO of the organization that bears his name.
Broadway Classroom is the education-engagement initiative of Group Sales Box Office (GSBO) at Broadway.com, part of the Gore family companies.
“With the rapid rise of Chinese tourists attending Broadway shows in NYC and across the US, we wanted to bring Broadway to young and inspiring Chinese artists by partnering with Motif Music,” he said.
Motif Music is a private music education company headquartered in Shanghai that consults several school districts in implementing instrumental and theatrical music programs into their schools.
“We first engaged our students with Broadway Classroom in July 2016, since they wanted to see and learn more about Broadway, perform theater and use this creative experience to improve their English,” said Wei-Pin Shen, general manager of Motif Music.
“We want to expose Chinese students and music educators to the pursuit of excellence at the highest levels and are confident that the best way for us to do that is to partner with Broadway.com in this exciting debut in China,” Shen said.
Stephanie Lee, president of Group Sales Box Office, Broadway.com/Groups introduced the seven schools, including marching bands and musical theater programs, that Motif Music will teach.
The schools are: Shanghai No. 3 girls’ High School, Hongqiao International School, Wanhangdu Road Primary School, No. 3 Central Primary School, Weihai Road No. 3 Primary School, Wusi Middle School and Mingxiang Experimental School. The events in Wuhan will be held in a local bookstore and public library for school principals, teachers and students.
Lee said there already is significant and growing interest from schools outside of the districts and as far away as Taiwan, “which we hope to be able to include in future programs”.
Musical theater arts professionals participating include Broadway Classroom Program Director Vicki Plummer and Stephen Carrasco (Fiddler on the Roof, Kinky Boots). They will put on 10 events for students in seven schools and two local organizations including rehearsals, master classes and performances.
“Each event will be a 90-minute ‘Broadway to Your School/Community’presentation and workshop, including 30 minute of introductions to Broadway musicals and Broadway Classroom, 30 minutes of dance and movement workshop, and 10 to 15 minutes of professional performance given by the Broadway teaching artist Stephen Carrasco,” Lee said.
“And we have an interpreter with us throughout … and we have chosen some theater games and dances specifically for the lack of a language barrier,” Lee said.
“Both activities are mostly physical, so we can demonstrate and have the students then follow along without anything getting ‘lost in translation,’” she added.
Lee said one of the purposes of the Broadway Classroom/Motif Music collaboration is to promote perfecting English skills through singing and music.
“So this is something we look forward to helping with the students,” Lee said.
Lee said the objective is to promote music education and to let as many students as possible learn to love music.
The events do not require any musical specialties and are free for the schools and students. Students ages 8 to 18 can apply for the program, and then the school will select 10 to 15 of the applicants to participate.