What are you doing a year from now – on Saturday, October 3, 2020? Want to be watching a Broadway musical in the Big Apple? The St. John School of the Arts wants you to join them in New York City for a celebration of the school’s 40th anniversary, to see Hugh Jackman star in a new Broadway production of Meredith Willson’s “The Music Man.”
The first 100 people to subscribe to this fundraising event will be guaranteed free admission to three other specially arranged activities – participation in a dance number taught by a cast member from “Chicago” (no dance experience necessary); a meeting with a Broadway producer, costume designer and lighting designer; and a buffet dinner at Etcetera Etcetera, a popular theater district restaurant.
Ticket prices are $1,500, which includes a contribution to the St. John School of the Arts.
For an optional $100, each subscriber will receive a deeply discounted orchestra ticket to a Saturday matinee performance of “Chicago,” the longest running American musical in Broadway history.
Those interested can reserve tickets by sending an email to [email protected] or online at the school’s website.
“Children need art and stories and poems and music as much as they need love and food and fresh air and play,” said Kim Wild, the executive director of the School of the Arts, quoting novelist Philip Pullman.
“The school will not turn any child away because they can’t afford the tuition,” she added. “In order to fulfill our mission, we must have the resources to provide the best possible facility and faculty. That is why we need sponsors, donors and fundraisers in order to give those less fortunate the same opportunities and experiences in the arts. The $1,500 ticket to this fundraiser is a once-in-a-lifetime event. While ticketholders get to have these experiences in New York, they are helping the school to provide arts experiences for all children on St. John.”
“The Music Man” is a Broadway classic, originally opening in 1957 before becoming a popular film in 1962. It is being revived with Hugh Jackman in the title role that made Robert Preston a star. The story, set in 1912, revolves around “Professor” Harold Hill, a con man who travels to small towns, promising to enrich their communities by launching youth marching bands, a dream encapsulated in the song, “76 Trombones.” But in River City, Iowa, he becomes enmeshed in the life of the town and falling in love with the local librarian.
In spite of the difference in their intentions, both Professor Harold Hill and the St. John School of the Arts inspire a flourishing of the arts in their communities.
From its simple origins as a steel band program for St. John youth, St. John School of the Arts has grown to provide an array of classes and individual instruction in music, dance, drama and the visual arts for children and adults. It brings talented artists to St. John for live performances. After Hurricane Irma, when St. John public school students were forced to go on a split shift schedule because of damage to the Julius E. Sprauve School, the School of the Arts provided free classes in the arts for students to have a full day of instruction.
Built on a steep piece of donated property, the St. John School of the Arts was designed before ramps and other accommodations were mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act. The school is now working to become ADA compliant, which is critical for qualifying for federal grants. But the retrofit will be costly.
Wild is hoping the fundraiser will help secure the necessary funding to complete the structural changes.
“This fundraiser comes at the most opportune time for us to focus on restructuring our building to accommodate the elderly and the physically challenged,” she said.