Thanks to a generous donation from the families of George and Ira Gershwin, 2,250 high school students from New York City Public Schools will be coming to see the show on Wednesday matinees from March through May. The Gershwins’ PORGY AND BESS is working directly with The New York City Department of Education (DOE) and the Office of Arts at the Special Projects at the DOE, in planning exciting programming for these students who will be coming from all five boroughs. Thirty schools in total will be served.
There will be a kick-off event and announcement of “The George and Ira Gershwin Theatre Education Program” on Tuesday, March 13th at The Richard Rodgers Theatre, when select teachers, students and city officials will attend the show. This will be followed by a post-show reception event officially celebrating the exciting program.
In addition to attending the Broadway show, all students will meet with Professional Teaching Artists from the Theater Development Fund who in conjunction with the DOE Arts Office, will go to their schools to prepare them prior to seeing the show. Company members from The Gershwins’ PORGY AND BESS will take turns accompanying these Teaching Artists to meet with the students.
“Our primary goal for this production has always been to expand the audience for PORGY AND BESS,” said the families of George and Ira Gershwin. “We want more people than ever, especially of younger generations, to experience this masterwork and are delighted to partner with the Arts Offices of the NYC Department of Education to make this happen. George and Ira Gershwin were both raised in New York City and educated in the New York City public schools. This district is a leader in providing quality arts education to all students, regardless of financial means, and we are thrilled that so many of them will be able to attend a performance of this fantastic production and learn about PORGY AND BESS’s important role in our country’s cultural history. We are especially appreciative of the production’s cast and company, who are devoting their own personal time and energy to the pre and post-show educational sessions, ensuring that these students will have an unforgettable experience.”
“Because of its artistic and cultural significance, PORGY AND BESS makes for an excellent educational subject,” said Chancellor Dennis Walcott New York City Department of Education. “From understanding the differences between artistic forms such as opera and musical theatre, to evaluating different depictions of race over the past 80 years, experiencing this production and interacting with the cast & creative team will be an invaluable experience for our city’s high school students and educators. The Arts Office at of the Department of Education is thrilled that the Gershwin families and this production are contributing to our ongoing efforts to provide access and equity to quality theatre education for all NYC students. By providing them with affordable tickets and post-show talkbacks for this great American classic, we will engage them in theatre and how it reveals the world around them.”
Winner of the Tony for Best Musical Revival, Porgy and Bess features such classic songs from the Gershwins' legendary score as “Summertime,” “It Ain’t Necessarily So,” and “I Got Plenty of Nothing,” plus a cast led by five-time Tony winner Audra McDonald.