Overture announces Madison schools selected for Disney Musicals in Schools

For immediate release: Wednesday, December 7, 2016
Ray Gargano, 608.258.4151 /
Sarah Knab, 608.258.4438 /

MEDIA INVITATION (please RSVP to Sarah): Thursday, December 8 4-7 p.m. – DMIS open house for media with schools and teaching artists


Four Madison Area Public Elementary Schools Selected to Participate in Free Program and Produce a Disney KIDS Musical

Madison, Wis. – Four Madison Area Public Elementary Schools were selected to participate in a program that begins in the schools in January, 2017 as part of the new Overture Center for the Arts program Disney Musicals in Schools, initiated thanks to a grant to Overture Center from Disney to bring the program to the Madison area.

Selected schools:

  • Falk Elementary
  • Glendale Elementary
  • Hawthorne Elementary
  • Mendota Elementary

The program is an outreach initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced public elementary schools.  The grant funds two years of programming; Overture Center selected four public elementary schools to participate in 2017 and up to five others will be selected for 2018.

In early December, Disney Theatrical Group will train Overture Center Teaching Artists, with an orientation for schools and teaching artists hosted by Overture Center on Thursday, December 8 from 4-7 p.m. Media are invited.

Madison public Title 1 elementary schools or Madison public elementary schools with 50% or more students qualifying for free and reduced lunch were eligible to apply. A team of three to five teachers was required, and Overture Center recommended that at least one of the teachers be an arts specialist. For more information, visit

At no cost to them, the selected schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency, led by a team of Overture Center teaching artists. Each school will receive performance rights, educational support materials and guidance from the teaching artists. The program features a professional development focus, through which participating school teachers partner with Overture Centerteaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph, and music direct their first school show.

Selected schools will receive:

  • free performance license to a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical (available shows include: 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Artistocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh ).
  • Free ShowKit materials, including a director’s guide, student scripts, cross-curricular activities, accompaniment and guide vocal CDs, and a choreography DVD.
  • free video license for each school.
  • Free in-school support from a team of two Overture Center for the Arts Teaching Artists. Students and staff will learn musical theater techniques and prepare to perform a show through 17 Teaching Artist visits.

The program will culminate in a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at each school site in May, 2017.

As a capstone to the experience, Overture Center will host a Student Share Celebration in which each school performs one number from their show on Overture Center’s Capitol Theater stage for an audience of students, teachers, family and community members in May, 2017.

Using the unique world of musical theater, Disney Musicals in Schools helps to foster positive relationships between students, faculty, staff, parents and the community. Students and teachers work in teams, developing the wide spectrum of skills needed when producing a piece of musical theater, including: critical thinking, problem solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence and interpersonal skills.

Disney Musicals in Schools was launched in 2010 in response to Disney Theatrical Group’s concern that under-resourced public elementary schools were not afforded equitable access to the arts. After successfully offering the program in New York City schools, Disney Theatrical Group began partnering with organizations in other communities across the United States.

Disney KIDS musicals, created in partnership with Music Theater International (MTI), are 30-minute musicals designed for elementary school performers and have been adapted from the classic Disney films 101 Dalmatians, Aladdin, The Aristocats, Cinderella, The Jungle Book, The Lion King, and Winnie the Pooh.

OVERTURE CENTER FOR THE ARTS in Madison, Wisconsin features seven state-of-the-art performance spaces and five galleries where national and international touring artists, ten resident companies, and hundreds of local artists engage people in over half a million educational and artistic experiences each year.

DISNEY THEATRICAL GROUP (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 19 million people in more than 50 countries.  Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway musicals around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, TARZAN®, Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, The Little Mermaid, Peter and the Starcatcher, Newsies, and Aladdin.  Frozen, based on the Academy Award®-winning film, is slated to open on Broadway in 2018.  Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert.  DTP has collaborated with the country’s leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book and The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Disney Theatrical Group also delivers live shows globally through its license to Feld Entertainment, producer of Disney on Ice and Disney Live!  For over 30 years, Disney on Ice and Disney Live! have brought beloved Disney stories and characters annually to over 12 million guests in nearly 50 countries worldwide, through productions such as Marvel Universe Live! and Frozen, the most well attended and highest grossing Disney on Ice production to date.  In addition, DTG licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of The Lion King.

MUSIC THEATER INTERNATIONAL (MTI) is one of the world’s leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer, Frank Loesser, and orchestrator, Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form. MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide. MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre, and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for elementary and middle school-aged performers, while MTI’s School Editions are musicals annotated for performance by high school students.


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