Get ready, Broadway—New York City’s next generation of thespians is ready to take the stage!

On Monday, June 15, the Shubert Foundation, in partnership with the NYC Department of Education, hosted the sixth annual 2020 High School Theatre Festival in celebration of the City’s best high school productions and theatrical performers from the 2019–2020 school year.

Hosted by “Frozen” and “Hercules” star, Jelani Alladin, this year’s festival took place entirely online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The event, which you can see below (or directly on YouTube), included performances from over 160 students across five NYC public high schools: the Brooklyn High School of the Arts, Curtis High School, Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Repertory Company High School for Theatre Arts, and Talent Unlimited High School.

In addition to the student performances, the event featured special appearances from Adam Chanler-Berat (“Next to Normal,” “Saint Joan”), James Harkness (“Ain’t Too Proud–The Life and Times of the Temptations”), Carly Hughes (“American Housewife”), George Salazar (“Be More Chill”), and Sherie Rene Scott (“The Front Page”).

The student productions selected for this Festival were chosen from more than 30 high school productions citywide by a panel of industry professional and theatre educators. Because the event took place online instead of its originally scheduled location at Broadway’s Broadhurst Theatre, each participant had to rehearse and pre-record their performances on personal smartphones and laptops.

“Since the beginning of this festival six years ago, our City public high school students have delighted us with their commitment, skill, and creativity. But this year, they have outdone themselves,” said Diana Phillips, president of the Shubert Foundation. “Under the most trying of circumstances, they have come together to present magical performances where their talent, spirit, and ingenuity are nothing short of an inspiration. Bravo to them, and to their teachers for creating such a memorable event.”

“Our 1.1 million students are incredibly creative, and through our investment in high quality arts education, we can cultivate and inspire the next generation of dancers, musicians, actors, and visual artists,” said Chancellor Richard Carranza.

For more information about the Festival, check out the event’s official Playbill and watch excerpts from the 2019 Festival after you’ve watched this year’s edition.

On behalf of the NYC Department of Education, we congratulate all of our participating students for being a part of this wonderful virtual production, and we thank all of our dedicated staff members at the DOE as well as our partners at the Shubert Foundation for their ongoing efforts on behalf of our young theatre artists.

The Morning Bell

Official blog for the NYC Department of Education, home of over 1.1 million students across 1,800+ schools

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NYC Department of Education, 2019