EllaRC is a bookwriter/lyricist and musical theatre lover. She’s a new contributor to MTI Marquee – add her as a friend on MTI Showspace or check out her musical theatre and social justice blog, StageLeft.
Musical theatre is a powerful educational tool, not just for students who participate in creating the production, but also for the entire community. Seeing a show can teach students about important issues and themes in a way that few other methods can. Playing a role, hearing a song, or identifying with a character can open up the world for a student in a way that may change them forever. However, students, and entire communities, are often not exposed to some of the best shows because these shows seem difficult to produce. MTI School EditionsTM exist to make powerful, important shows more accessible to high school students and communities nationwide.
The MTI School EditionTM series takes popular shows with important themes and breaks them down in a way that makes them more producible for high school productions. This includes editing the shows for length, making the content high school appropriate* while preserving the integrity of the original show, and sometimes changing voice parts so they better fit high-schoolers’ vocal ranges. Designed with educators in mind, MTI’s School EditionTM musicals embody a bold new idea in creating and licensing adaptations of grand scale, symphonic musicals in versions adapted for performance by high schools. These adaptations, while smaller in size, retain all of the scope and glory of the originals.
MTI School EditionsTM include study guides for actors, teachers, and students school wide. This is one of the most exciting features of the School EditionsTM because it makes the musical accessible to the entire community. One of the most powerful ways to learn about a subject is through making an emotional connection with a character on stage; that’s what makes musical theatre so valuable. When students fully understand what is going on onstage because they have been prepared ahead of time they become active participants, whether they’re an actor or an audience member, and the potential for a musical to open up their world is that much greater.
MTI School EditionsTM also include special directors’ scripts that have information about the show and helpful guidelines for production. These director scripts make putting on what may seem an otherwise daunting show a more manageable task. The information in the scripts is a guideline, so an experienced teacher can pick and choose what she needs (for example, costume or set ideas), while a new teacher has everything he needs to put on the show at his fingertips.
Accompaniment CDs are also available for RENT SCHOOL EDITION, SWEENEY TODD SCHOOL EDITION and AIDA SCHOOL EDITION. The CD has tracks that can be used in production and rehearsal to accompany students, so school productions do not have to be limited by the availability of student musicians, if that is a deciding factor in choosing a show.
Theatre is one of the most powerful ways a school system can supplement traditional intellectual education methods with emotional ones. MTI School EditionsTM make producing shows with intellectual, emotional, and educational themes possible even for schools with limited resources.
Currently available shows include LES MISERABLES SCHOOL EDITION, RAGTIME SCHOOL EDITION, SWEENEY TODD SCHOOL EDITION, RENT SCHOOL EDITION, and AIDA SCHOOL EDITION. These shows have been very successful with many different audiences and have elements that are very valuable to any students’ education. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be spotlighting each of these MTI School EditionTM musicals and discussing some of the benefits of producing these specific shows in educational environments, so stay tuned!
For more information about MTI School EditionTM check out their show pages on MTI Showspace (click the images below to go straight to the page!). You can also click any of the show title’s in the above article to connect to the pages on MTI’s website, which has information about the shows and how to license them.
*Since standards vary from community to community, MTI suggests ordering a perusal copy of a School Edition show to make sure it’s right for your school before applying for the license.