The Johnny Mercer Foundation
As legendary singer-songwriter Johnny Mercer put it: "You've got to ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive."
And that's exactly what NJPAC and the Johnny Mercer Foundation are achieving together in a partnership that fosters the arts of composing and music-making in New Jersey middle schools. The program is set in place for the 2015-2016 term at five schools in Newark, Union City, Orange, and Elizabeth, engaging approxiamately 125 middle-school students. These musical theater residencies allow NJPAC Teaching Artists to introduce students to the history of the American musical, lyric writing and the rehearsal and performance process. Each residency meets twice weekly for 20 sessions. The residencies will culminate with a final performance of an origial musical at NJPAC in June.
All these exercises in creativity and self-expression conform to New Jersey Core Curriculum Content Standards and culminate in a rousing performance by the students at NJPAC.
Founded in 1983, the Johnny Mercer Foundation supports the art of songwriting in the tradition of the Great American Songbook, as exemplified by Johnny Mercer (1909-1976), the renowned songwriter, performer, collaborator and producer. The foundation celebrates his legacy through partnerships with individuals and organizations dedicated to nurturing the disciplines he mastered and causes he championed with his wife, Ginger.
Disney Musicals in Schools
In May 2015, Disney Theatrical Group selected NJPAC to be the only regional partner in New Jersey for Disney Musicals in Schools, a national initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create ongoing theater programs in elementary schools.
NJPAC chose five public elementary schools from 19 applications for the inaugural year of the program. The finalists, selected from a field of 10 semi-finalists, are Branch Brook School, Luis Muñoz Marin School and Mount Vernon School, all in Newark; Rosa Parks Community School in Orange, and John Marshall School No. 20 in Elizabeth.
Each of the schools will take part in a 17-week musical theater residency beginning in September 2015, which will culminate in two performances of a Disney KIDS musical at each school.
On February 8, 2016, NJPAC will hosted a Student Share Celebration, where each school will have the extraordinary opportunity to perform a selection from its show on the Arts Center’s stage for an audience of fellow students, family members and friends.
Disney Musicals in Schools helps to keep the arts in schools and utilizes the unique world of musical theater to build positive relationships among students, faculty, staff, parents and the community. Students work in teams to develop or restore self-confidence, and to strengthen communication and collaboration skills, all while learning and enjoying the process of creating a Disney musical theater production.
Applications for 2016-2017 are now being accepted.
We encourage public schools in the Greater Newark Area who want to develop an after-school musical theater program to apply. Deadline in May 2nd.