Kids Love Musicals! began as a hands-on, two-day school residency designed to introduce elementary school students to the high spirit of the American musical. Our teaching artists encourage children to employ imagination, creativity and reasoning skills to explore the characters, songs and themes of a musical. Iconic musicals such as Peter Pan, Cinderella, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book and (new this year) You’re A Good Man, Charlie Brown captivate students by nurturing their national affinity for music, rhyme, play-acting and spectacle.

A two-day residency may seem brief, but the impact of Kids Love Musicals! extends well beyond our visit. Students find personal meaning in the character’s journeys: What does it mean to have confidence like Peter Pan? Feel lonely like Cinderella? Have friends like Dorothy’s in times of trouble? Students learn, sing, dance and act as an ensemble, led by our professional teaching artists who bring the musicals alive in the classroom.

3 with bear hatsACCESS FOR ALL

But for students with intensive needs in special education settings, two days simply isn’t enough. Our month-long residency for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and other cognitive or physical challenges empowers every child to learn through musical theater. And while academic benchmarks are important, this adaptation is deeply committed to Social and Emotional Learning: the process of developing fundamental skills for life success within supportive learning environments.

In fact, a 2015 study by Case Western Reserve University proved that Kids Love Musicals! residencies help students increase eye contact, engage more deeply in a lesson, and practice turn-taking and cooperative learning. And the anecdotal evidence is overwhelming. With each residency, there are students who make breathtaking strides in language, critical thinking and teamwork.


And in 2011, we learned that Kids Love Musicals! wasn’t only for kids. In fact, these musicals are loved by all generations — and provide a path for “creative aging” across our lifespans. Studies show that in older adults, intergenerational programs stimulate lifelong learning, increase emotional support and improve health. In children, they improve academic performance, decrease negative behavior and increase stability.

So we developed a one-day multi-generational program that uses the Kids Love Musicals! approach to tap into those mutual benefits. Through our workshops in senior centers and libraries, we invite kids from five to 105 to come together and experience the joy of connecting with each other through the art form.

“When we piloted Kids Love Musicals! a decade ago, our dream was to share the joy of musical theater with children at an early age — and to do it right in their classrooms,” says TMTP artistic director Bill Rudman. “The program has expanded and grown in ways I could never have imagined back then, touching hearts and minds in new ways every year. Imagine: Those first students are now in their early 20s. I like to think we’ve played a part in serving and perpetuating the strong musical theater community here in Cleveland, and beyond.”


Whether you are a child, parent or grandparent…a teacher, principal or PTA member…or simply an arts education-minded citizen, you can introduce Kids Love Musicals! to a Northeast Ohio school or community organization near you.

For more information about scheduling the program, supporting a school site through the KLM Scholarship Fund, or to see the program in action, contact The Musical Theater Project at (216) 860-1518 or send an email to heather@musicaltheaterproject.org. Learn more about the program when you CLICK HERE.