Newark Public Schools’ Students Perform Disney Musicals at NJ Performing Arts Center

Three schools participated in Disney Musicals for the second year thanks to $100,000 Disney grant awarded to NJPAC

[Newark NJ – February 14, 2017] Newark Public Schools’ (NPS) elementary students performed at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC) yesterday on the prestigious Prudential Hall stage. Newark students performed selections from The Lion King and The Jungle Book. The student performance was part of “Disney Musicals in Schools”, a national initiative developed by Disney Theatrical Group to create ongoing theater programs in under-resourced public elementary schools.

“It is incredible to watch so many talented young children from Newark Public Schools perform on a world-class stage,” said NPS Superintendent Christopher D. Cerf. “We are grateful to Disney Musicals in Schools and NJPAC for bringing the magic of musical theater into our community and classrooms. This program has inspired our children in new and exciting ways, empowering them to be more confident both inside and outside the classroom.”

In 2015, Disney awarded NJPAC with a $100,000 grant to bring two years of programming to Newark area public elementary schools. This is NJPAC’s second year participating in Disney Musicals in Schools, and the second year that NPS students have been selected to be part of the theater program. NJPAC chose three NPS elementary schools to participate in this year’s program: Rafael Hernandez School of Performing Arts, Oliver Street School and B.R.I.C.K. Peshine Academy.

Each school takes part in a 17-week musical theater residency that concludes with students performing a 30-minute “Disney KIDS” musical based on a classic Disney film at each school. Teachers at the schools collaborate with teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and conduct music for the shows at no cost to the participating schools. During the residency, students work collaboratively, developing self-confidence and strengthening communication skills, all while learning and discovering the joy of creating a musical theater production.

About Disney Musicals in Schools
Disney Musicals in Schools is a free outreach program offered to a limited number of public elementary schools each year. Through the program schools receive free performance rights and ShowKit materials to a 30-minute Disney musical written for elementary school performers. Over the course of a semester, professional Teaching Artists guide school teachers through the process of mounting a musical with student performers. Our goal is to provide the training necessary for teachers to continue a tradition of theater education for years to come. For more information visit

About New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC)
New Jersey Performing Arts Center (NJPAC), located in downtown Newark, New Jersey, is among the largest performing arts centers in the United States and is the artistic, cultural, educational and civic center of New Jersey – where great performances and events enhance and transform lives every day. NJPAC brings diverse communities together, providing access to all and showcasing the state’s and the world’s best artists while acting as a leading catalyst in the revitalization of its home city. Through its extensive Arts Education programs, NJPAC is shaping the next generation of artists and arts enthusiasts. NJPAC has attracted more than 10 million visitors (including over 1.5 million children) since opening its doors in 1997, and nurtures meaningful and lasting relationships with each of its constituents.