The annual 2023 Shubert Foundation High School Theatre Festival was held March 20 at Broadway's Broadhurst Theatre, with a roster of Broadway talent on hand to help more than 100 NYC public school students make their Broadway debuts.
This year's festival, the ninth annual, was hosted by Some Like It Hot stars Adrianna Hicks and J. Harrison Ghee, with guest presenters including Danny Burstein (Pictures From Home), Justin Cooley (Kimberly Akimbo), Latoya Edwards (White Girl in Danger), Amelia Fei (How to Dance in Ohio), Bill Irwin (Endgame), Michael Iskander (Kimberly Akimbo), Katrina Lenk (Company), Apollo Levine (MJ The Musical), Grace McLean (Bad Cinderella), Tony Shalhoub (The Band's Visit), and Ben Jackson Walker (& Juliet).
See photos from the event below:
The annual event celebrates the best in NYC public high school theatre, with five productions selected from more than 20 citywide to perform excerpts on a Broadway stage. This year's event also included a special cameo event supporting AARP's Wish of a Lifetime, with 74-year-old Nevada resident Howard Shapiro hitting the stage with 26 teen artists to fulfill his life-long dream of performing on a Broadway stage, while singing "To Life" from Fiddler on the Roof.
“The arts are the lifeblood of our great city, and it is opportunities like this that allow our young people to harness the creative energy that lives within their communities,” said Schools Chancellor David C. Banks in an earlier statement. “I am so grateful for our partnership with The Shubert Foundation whose commitment and investment of nearly $8 million has made a profound and lasting impact on theatre and arts education in our schools. And I’m especially proud of all the young performers taking part in this year’s High School Theatre Festival."
This year's event featured performances from Rent (Professional Performing Arts High School, Manhattan), The Band's Visit (William Cullen Bryant High School, Queens), The Crucible (Fordham High School of the Arts, Bronx), School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play (The Beacon School, Manhattan), and Carrie The Musical (Frank Sinatra School of the Arts, Queens).
“Each year, the talent of the student actors making their Broadway debuts is outstanding and this year [was] no exception” added Shubert Foundation President Diana Phillips. “We are proud to play a part in their journey to Broadway on an evening which spotlights the excellence of theatre programs in our NYC public schools, and the importance of theatre education for all.”
“When students create theatre together, they demonstrate the highest levels of education—applying technique, understanding the context of the play and communicating with others towards a common goal," shared Peter Avery, the Festival's artistic producer and director of theatre for New York City schools. "The Festival serves as a powerful reminder of how theatre provides a welcoming place for artists and audiences of all ages to connect, to invest, to empathize…to heal."
The High School Theatre Festival is sponsored by The Shubert Foundation and presented in partnership with the New York City Department of Education. Funding for the festival and other programs in NYC public schools is made possible via a Shubert Foundation grant of $645,000 for the 2022-2023 school year.