4 Chesterfield schools selected to produce Disney musicals

Virginia Repertory Theatre receives grant to fund the program
Four Chesterfield County schools have been selected to perform Disney musicals.
Four Chesterfield County schools have been selected to perform Disney musicals.(Image via Virginia Repertory Theatre)
Published: Nov. 29, 2022 at 11:41 AM EST
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CHESTERFIELD, Va. (WWBT) - Four Chesterfield County schools will soon be home to Disney musicals.

The Virginia Repertory Theatre received a grant to fund the program that starts in January at four Title I schools: Bensley Elementary, Crestwood Elementary, Harrowgate Elementary and Reams Elementary.

The Cameron Foundation and the Nunnally Foundation are also providing funding.

“This is an outstanding opportunity,” Dr. Mervin B. Daugherty, superintendent of Chesterfield County Public Schools, said Tuesday in a news release. “Participating in the arts directly supports our mission of igniting passion in all through authentic and captivating experiences. We are grateful for this new partnership with Disney and Virginia Rep.”

The program begins in January, with plans to expand to four new schools in the 2023-24 school year. The schools will participate in a 17-week musical theater residency at no cost.

A team of Virginia Rep teaching artists trained by Disney Theatrical Group will lead the program, which is open to students in third, fourth and fifth grades.

The program includes on-stage and off-stage roles. Students will participate in two 90-minute rehearsals each week.

Teachers and other members of the school teams will receive a $1,600 stipend.

“Disney Musicals in Schools lets us focus on providing the schools’ faculty with the training and tools necessary to support their student performances and productions, and to empower them to do so,” said Phil Whiteway, managing director for Virginia Repertory Theatre.

Schools will have their choice of Disney KIDS shows to perform: “101 Dalmatians,” “Aladdin,” “The Aristocats,” “Frozen,” “The Jungle Book,” “The Lion King” or “Winnie the Pooh.”

Schools will receive performance rights, education support materials and guidance from the teaching artists.

“Disney Musicals in Schools features a professional development focus, through which those on the school teams will partner with Virginia Rep teaching artists to learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct, culminating in their school’s first 30-minute Disney KIDS musical,” according to a news release.

In addition to performances at the schools, students will also showcase selections from the musicals during Student Share Celebrations at the Perkinson Center for the Arts and Education in Chester and at Virginia Rep’s new Center for Arts and Education.