Broadway - Education
Education, On Stage and Off
Sometimes a show will set up a tutor and sometimes they don’t. You must ask! Even on the same show, some kids get tutored, while some do not.
It is not common for kids to stay in public school. Almost all the parents we talked to admit that keeping up with education is the biggest struggle and that it is almost impossible to do a show and get a truly good education. They are just surviving.
On Broadway itself, there are two education situations. During rehearsals, which are often during the day, kids are tutored at the show. But once the show opens, kids are usually expected to juggle their own school situation and come to the theatre at night.
For smaller roles, juggling the child’s regular school and the theatre shows is do-able, as long as your school is understanding, and you child is disciplined enough to get home at midnight and be up for school at 8:00 a.m. the next morning.
However, the bigger principal roles require a bigger time commitment: more rehearsals even after the show is up and running, appearances, activities for promotion, charity work, etc. These all cut into school time and split the child’s focus.
Be mindful that kids in the show may be at different grade levels and yet will share a tutor. Experienced Broadway mom and manager Kim Pedell tells us, “For the show “13”, those kids were all at different academic levels and needs. They all have different curriculum and ranged in age from 13-17. There were only a few tutors to teach all levels and types of math and science and languages, with them all in the same room. It was essentially a disaster for them for a school year. But a magical life experience for them otherwise. (Now that the show closed) all are scrambling to get caught up. Every kids’ experience was a bit different but for that show most of the kids had to go to a homeschool program eventually. The same with Billy Elliot. They are still required to be at rehearsal several days a week and they are all on 8 shows a week. So really going to school is logistically impossible.”
It is even more difficult to manage the schooling on tours. Tutors travel with you. You are often doing school on the bus, as you travel from city to city. There may be access to wireless internet connections if you can do school in a hotel room, but this is often not possible on bus tours. On a tour you will have to arrange some type of homeschooling program. Creative parents and tutors can supplement curriculum with field trips and specific interests about each city the tour visits.
Hot Tip: Most Broadway theatres utilize New York based On Location Education for their tutors. Parents can hire private tutors through them as well. OLC also has a great website for parents:
Private Professional Children’s School has a “Guided Study Program” that allows professional children some flexibility. http://www.pcs-nyc.org/subpage.cfm?tbl=22&sct=46
Public Alternative: Public Performing Arts School https://www.edline.net/pages/ppas
Home school options: First, make sure you are legally schooling. You can find laws regarding homeschool enrollment in New York here:
Since New York is fairly restrictive to homeschoolers, many actors choose to enroll in an umbrella program, or online program instead. Some examples of this kind of program are Laurel Springs or Romawat Academy.
Families considering a tour will probably want to consider their home state’s education laws, since they will be traveling.
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