NBC AND iTHEATRICS ANNOUNCE ?PHILANTHROPIC INITIATIVE “˜NBC‘s “˜SMASH‘: MAKE A MUSICAL‘ TO BUILD MUSICAL THEATER PROGRAMS IN SCHOOLS ACROSS AMERICA In celebration of its new musical drama series “Smash,” NBC and iTheatrics are launching “NBC‘s “˜Smash’: Make a Musical,” a national mentorship program which will build self-sustaining musical theater programs in under-served schools with limited arts programming across America.

Administered by iTheatrics’ non-profit arm, the Junior Theater Project, the program guides schoolteachers step-by-step through the creation of a stand-alone arts program and aims to engage as many students as possible in all aspects and areas of the arts.

NBC‘s new drama “Smash” premieres February 6 (10-11 p.m. ET) and stars Debra Messing (“Will & Grace”), Katharine McPhee (“American Idol”) and Oscar winner Anjelica Huston (“Prizzi’s Honor”).This nationwide partnership announcement was made by Robert Greenblatt, Chairman, NBC Entertainment and Timothy Allen McDonald, founding chairman of iTheatrics.

“Musical theater is the ultimate team sport.   It allows young people to learn important life skills and an appreciation of the arts by working together towards the common goal of presenting a show,” says McDonald.   “Through “˜NBC‘s “˜Smash’: Make a Musical’ program, NBC is literally building the future artists and arts-supporters of tomorrow by giving schools the knowledge they need to create stand-alone arts programs in their communities.

“”NBC‘s “˜Smash’: Make a Musical” program begins this month in 20 schools in 20 cities: Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Portland (OR), Boston, Baltimore/Washington D.C., Cleveland, Houston, Nashville, New York, Oakland, Oklahoma City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and St. Louis.

  The winter pilot launch will be the catalyst for iTheatrics’ Junior Theater Project to launch 200 more Make a Musical programs in Fall 2012 and 200 additional programs in Fall 2013.In addition to the 20 programs that start this month, “NBC‘s “˜Smash’: Make a Musical” is engaging America by inviting schools across the country to audition to be part of the Fall 2012 program.  

Beginning today, local schools, educators and students are encouraged to visit makeamusical.org to apply.   Applications, complete with photos, are due by March 2, 2012, to makeamusical.org to be reviewed by iTheatrics’ Junior Theater Project. On March 26, a group of finalists will be posted and the American public will have the chance to vote for its favorites.

  On May 7, the 10 winning schools that have been selected to have an entire Make a Musical program installed in their school will be announced.   Additionally 20 schools will be awarded a MTI Broadway Junior Collection “ShowKit” of resources designed to guide cast and crew through the production process, plus licensing rights to perform a full musical.  

In June, schools may continue to apply for the remaining 170 Make a Musical program slots set to launch in the fall, and the schools will be selected in August 2012.”NBC‘s “˜Smash’: Make a Musical” program mentors educators through the process of creating sustainable and cost-effective musical theater programs.

  The initiative infuses schools with the arts and allows them to engage the greater community, including students, parents and community members, through the process of presenting a show. The programs in the first 20 schools will launch this month with nationally-recognized master theater teachers leading professional development workshops for the school teachers and students in each of the schools.  

These workshops take educators step-by-step through the process of producing a first-ever musical. Once the teachers select their musical they will hold auditions and cast the show.

  Each school will be given a MTI Broadway Junior Collection “ShowKit” featuring accompaniment CDs, sheet music, Choreography DVDs, scripts and more and they will be guided through the entire process by a local program advisor, which will offer teachers and students the support and encouragement they need in order to take ownership over their productions.

At the completion of the program, each school will put on multiple public performances of its show for the entire community and will take part in a final professional development workshop specifically focused on evaluating the process and planning for the future.   The second cycle of the Make a Musical program in each of these initial 20 schools will take place in Fall 2012.

  ??While this is the first time a program of this nature has been launched nationally, iTheatrics has been involved in similar city-specific projects for Music Theatre International and other organizations in the past. The project was originally developed by Music Theatre International with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. and was featured in the nationally televised PBS documentary “Children Will Listen.”

  In 2005, the New York City Department  of Education launched a special program for New York City public schools: The Shubert Foundation/Music Theatre International Broadway Junior Project, which to date has built 50 musical theater self-sustaining programs in underserved New York City middle schools with a 100 percent success rate.  

 ??Premiering February 6 at 10 p.m. ET on NBC, “Smash” is a musical drama that celebrates the beauty and heartbreak of the Broadway theater as it follows a cross-section of dreamers and schemers who all have one common desire ““ to be a “Smash.” The cast features Debra Messing, Anjelica Huston, Jack Davenport, Christian Borle, Megan Hilty, Katharine McPhee, Raza Jaffrey, Brian d’Arcy James and Jaime Cepero.  

The executive producers include Steven Spielberg, Theresa Rebeck, David Marshall Grant, Craig Zadan, Neil Meron, Darryl Frank, Justin Falvey, Marc Shaiman and Scott Wittman.??iTheatrics uses the transformative power of the arts to make the world a better place.

  The company adapts existing Broadway and West End musicals for students at all age levels” ”including elementary, middle, and high school””to perform.   iTheatrics also creates a teacher’s tool chest of resources which provides educators with enhancements such as choreography DVDs, accompaniment CDs, director’s guides and curriculum connections.  

iTheatrics’ clients include The Jim Henson Company, Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, the Roald Dahl Estate and McMillan/McGraw-Hill.   iTheatrics also develops new musicals for family audiences such as The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley, The Phantom Tollbooth and Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach.

iTheatrics’ Junior Teaching Intensives provide professional development for teachers in the area of musical theater and its Junior Theater Academy provides young artists with an innovative outlet for developing their skills as performers and artists.

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