The Pathway grant program honors the late Craig Zadan, a visionary with a lifelong commitment to addressing issues of diversity. He helped make musical theatre more accessible to millions, continually breaking down industry barriers around race and helping many careers.
The Pathway program emphasizes the ways that a school theatre experience can open avenues of opportunity, not only in the fields of theatre and entertainment, but along any life trajectory.
In school, theatre participation helps build students’ skills in communication, collaboration, perseverance, problem solving, and empathy. There is a correlation with higher attendance and test scores, and across the board academic performance. The evidence is convincing: Young people who participate in school theatre are more likely to succeed in life.
But, people of color and low-income communities of color face disproportionately less access to theatre in their schools. According to a National Endowment for the Arts study, Black and Hispanic students had less than half the access to arts education as White students.
Pathway aims to enhance the school theatre experience and impact in communities facing racial disparity by creating opportunities for students to work with industry professionals of color while performing works that encourage dialogue around racial equity.
A newly formed Celebrity Advisory Board is actively supporting the development of Pathway. The members include Kristin Chenoweth, Kenny Leon, Audra McDonald, Bette Midler, Bernadette Peters, Danny and Lilly Pino, John Stamos, John Travolta, Nia Vardalos, and Renee Zellweger.