January 31, 2007

The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen Program, and Reprise! Broadway's Best Education Outreach Program Will Bring 500 Students to Experience "Sunday In The Park With George"

Initiatives Aim To Expose Young Audiences To Musical Theatre

Los Angeles, CA, January 31, 2007: The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen program, which is designed to introduce the American Musical Theatre to youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it, will kick off on the West Coast with a special February 7th performance of the Reprise! Broadway's Best production of Stephen Sondheim's SUNDAY IN THE PARK WITH GEORGE. The audience will be five hundred 11th grade students from nine different low-income schools from the Los Angeles United School District. These students will be provided with study materials, bus transportation to and from UCLA's Freud Playhouse, free tickets, and for many - their very first opportunity to see a first-class theatrical production. Made possible by a grant from The ASCAP Foundation's Children Will Listen Stephen Sondheim fund, the student matinee is part of the expansion of the Reprise! Broadway's Best Peter Matz Education and Outreach Program.

In addition to the critical live-performance experience, the program will feature, both before and after the performance, in-class instruction by Reprise! Teaching Artists, providing students with an in-depth introduction to the production as well as connecting themes and issues to their own lives. In addition, teachers will be provided with curriculum materials, and students will receive an extensive study guide and complete a writing assignment to assess their experience. Immediately following the February 7th performance, cast member Jason Alexander and noted musical theatre composer and ASCAP member Stephen Schwartz will meet with the students for an interactive discussion of the show.

"We are excited about the expansion of our education program and to be able to introduce Los Angeles area students to their first theatrical production ever," comments Jim Gardia, Producing Director of Reprise! "We are also extremely appreciative of our relationship with The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen Program and the funding that they have provided to help us fulfill this part of our mission."

Marilyn Bergman, President of The ASCAP Foundation, was equally enthused about the continuing rollout of the Children Will Listen initiative. "There is nothing more important to the future of the musical theatre than bringing children in to experience for themselves the music, singers, dancers, costumes and staging," she stated. "Every succeeding generation of creators and audience brings a fresh new perspective to the American musical and we are proud to be doing our part to encourage that continuity."

The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen program was established - in honor of ASCAP member and musical theatre great Stephen Sondheim (West Side Story, Gypsy!, Pacific Overtures, A Little Night Music) - in 2005 to bring the musical theatre experience to young students nationwide. The program was named for one of the songs from his musical, Into the Woods. Last November 15th, 100 fifth grade students from Harlem's P.S. 123 were brought to a matinee performance of the Tony Award-winning musical, Wicked, at Broadway's Gershwin Theatre. Following the performance, Stephen Schwartz, creator of Wicked's music and lyrics, and cast members engaged in an exclusive discussion session with the students in the Theatre.

About ASCAP Foundation
Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States. www.ascapfoundation.org


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