Thursday, July 14, 2005

42nd St. Moon's new partnership: School of the Arts

I'm sure all the current students will kill me for the cheesy reference, but did you know San Francisco has its very own Fame? Yes, there is a School of the Arts (SOTA), accessible by audition only and with 90% of its slots reserved for San Francisco students.

For several years now SOTA has sent several students over to intern at 42nd St. Moon, helping the stage manager with hanging lights and other technical tasks. This year 42nd St. Moon and SOTA are launching a new partnership program, adding 42nd St. Moon shows into the curriculum of the school.

I spent some time talking with the director of the program, Dan Kryston, about why and how this partnership came to be.

Discussions started about 3-4 months ago. Dan had called about internships, but Lauren had bigger fish to fry. So, what is the program?

With each show Greg will help Dan develop a curriculum that explores each show and its historical context. As Dan says, "the shows 42nd St. Moon chooses have a lot of history...there's a reason why each of these shows was produced." Season opener Red, Hot & Blue is a less famous show by a famous composer, and Dan intends to also tie part of the curriculum of this show into the jazz music department.

The students will be invited to attend each show's dress rehearsal, stay for a post-show chat with the actors and staff, then follow up with post-show classroom discussions.

All students are already required to see outside performances as part of a yearly requirement. This will help students fulfill that requirement, but with something different than the usual fare. SOTA does sometimes take organized field trips to theatre performances, but 42nd St. Moon is the only theatre that is working with them so closely, and offering them the opportunity to see their shows for free. Since SOTA is a true public school, the income levels of the students are widely disparate, and this program will help all students have an equal opportunity to take advantage of it.

I am looking forward to attending those post-show chats...and then maybe also attending the post-show discussion with the regular audience on the first Sunday. I'm curious about what kind of different take the two groups have on the same show.

Hopefully 42nd St. Moon is helping to grow a whole new audience for these classic American works of art with their partnership with the San Francisco School of the Arts.

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