“Broadway Comes To St. John” for Island Students

The St. John School of the Arts announced last week “Broadway Comes To St. John,” a major arts education initiative culminating in two performances featuring the fourth grade students of Julius E. Sprauve, Guy Benjamin and Gifft Hill schools, the dance students of SJSA and five Broadway actors.

Leading the acting contingent will be John Tartaglia, Tony Award nominee in the leading role of AVENUE Q, the recent Tony Award winner as best musical, best score and best book.

Tartaglia and troupe arrive on February 4, receiving no compensation other than living accommodations provided by an island family. Two of the actors have visited St. John on past occasions.

They saw this as an opportunity to “give back” for their many pleasurable stays on St. John.

Every school day, beginning February 7, for two weeks, the actors will split up visiting each of the schools to give instruction to the fourth graders in acting, movement and puppetry.

On Friday, February 18, there will be two performances in the Westin Ballroom, featuring the students performing a review of their accomplishments over the two-week period. The first performance at 6 p.m. will be for 100 donors contributing $200 each. That performance will be followed by a brief cocktail reception at the Westin and a gourmet dinner.

The second performance, at 8 p.m. on Feb. 18, will welcome one and all, subject to the capacity of the ballroom, with an encore of the earlier show, and a suggested contribution of $10, $5 or “other” for students, parents, residents and visitors.

SJSA’s gala committee is seeking a “Broadway Star Sponsor” to be the honorary chairperson of the entire event. The star sponsor will host a private dinner with the actors on Saturday, February 19, as a farewell and “thank you” prior to their departure.

As part of the gala celebration, there will be a “St. John Goes to Broadway” raffle, limited to 100 raffle tickets at $100 each. The winner will receive two plane tickets, three nights at a top New York hotel, two orchestra seats to each of two Broadway shows and dinner for two at two top New York restaurants, dates to be selected by the winner, subject to availability and excluding holiday periods. The winner and guest may also visit backstage at one of the productions.

St. John School of the Arts was co-founded in 1971 by Sis Frank. It is the only not-for-profit institution of its kind on St. John and provides arts education, dancing, singing, music, art and acting, for adults and children of St. John, regardless of religion, race or ethnicity. St. John School of the Arts believes in finding the soul of humanity through the artistic heart that thrives in all of us. Arts education is a key to developing that wisdom and opening the door to a higher level of human endeavor. Almost 25 percent of the students receive scholarship assistance.

St. John School of the Arts is a 501 (C)(3), not-for-profit corporation. All contributions are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by law. St. John School of the Arts is partially funded by Virgin Islands Council on the Arts (VICA) and National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). Membership is invited by contributing as little as $1.

For more information on “Broadway Comes To St. John,” contact Ronnie Lee at 774-7724.