ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen Program Provides a 'Dream Come True' Experience for Campers at the Harlem School of the Arts

August 5, 2016

For most New York City kids, ‘Broadway’ is just the name of a big street in Manhattan – not the place where you can find the world’s greatest musical theater shows. But even for those children who do know about the great Broadway theater tradition, high ticket prices and transportation issues make it almost impossible to see a show.

Thanks to our donors, The ASCAP Foundation has a solution. The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen program, conceived by Foundation Board member Marilyn Bergman, introduces the American Musical Theater to youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it. To date, the Children Will Listen program has introduced the many facets of musical theater to over two thousand economically disadvantaged children nationwide.

Recently 65 children ages 9-13 (plus chaperones) from the Harlem School of the Arts Summer Camp received free premium tickets and luxury bus transportation to the Minskoff Theatre for a matinee performance of The Lion King. For many, it was their first Broadway experience.

Days before the performance, Chondra Profit, one of the stars of The Lion King, met with the students at the camp to talk about the musical, her career and her role in the show. Chondra also engaged the students in a discussion about what goes into creating and sustaining a successful live performance. She and other cast members participated in a Q&A session with the campers in the theater immediately following the show.

"I really enjoyed The Lion King. I especially loved the part when Mufasa died. Not because he actually died but because of the lights and all of the stage tricks. It was a dream come true for me to see this play. It made me want to be on Broadway for a living. Thank you so much!" - Iyaseba, age 9

Established in 2005, The ASCAP Foundation Children Will Listen program was established in honor of composer, Stephen Sondheim. The program was named for one of the songs from his musical, Into the Woods.