It sounded too good to be true.
The Cincinnati-based Educational Theatre Association was searching for three local middle schools willing to accept $12,000 in stipends and professional services for each of the next three years.
With those resources, each school would cobble together a “junior” version of a Broadway musical each year. That means, instead of a full-length, full-scaled production, they’d do a trimmed down, 60-minute version.
There were a couple of catches, though. First, schools that already had theater programs didn’t qualify. The awards also stipulated that the creative staff for the shows – directors, choreographers and designers – would all have to be teachers or staff members. No ringers allowed.
But JumpStart Theatre, as it is called, had plenty of schools willing to give it a try. In the end, three were chosen; Holmes Middle School (Covington), Gamble Middle School (Cincinnati) and Finneytown Middle School (Springfield Township).