There’s no greater destination for student groups in the performing arts to experience theater, music, and entertainment than in New York City. From behind-the-scenes tours at iconic venues like Radio City Music Hall and the Lyric Theatre to student group performances at the city’s most iconic destinations like the Statue of Liberty and the top of Rockefeller Center, New York’s options are endless.
“New York City is a city that’s driven by both education and music—and that’s a great combination,” says Renee Wilson, director of tourism market development at NYC & Company, the nonprofit behind New York City tourism. “Here, students have the chance to learn not only about the history of New York City but also music and performance influence that shaped New York’s entertainment scene—from classical sheet music production to Tin Pan Alley to modern pop culture.”
Beyond the excitement of purchasing tickets for theatrical classics like “The Phantom of the Opera,” “Cats,” and “Chicago” to modern-day favorites like “Hamilton” and “The Lion King,” organizers for youth choirs, bands, and student theater groups can go big in the Big Apple.
Broadway’s legacy in NYC dates to the mid-1700s. But not until the early 1900s did New York’s Broadway scene reach blockbuster status. During this time, institutional music and entertainment hot spots, like Union Square and Madison Square Garden, began to expand uptown—forming what we know as Broadway (or the Theatre District) today.
New York’s latest Broadway debut opens in fall 2022. The Museum of Broadway will make its grand opening at 145 West 45th St. in the heart of Times Square. The interactive and experiential museum celebrates Broadway’s rich history and legacy. Youth groups will learn about the names, faces, and talents that shaped Broadway’s foundation and future. Planners interested in group tickets should reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org for early booking inquiries.
Youth groups interested in learning more about New York’s music origins and history have a variety of options to choose from. The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts houses one of the world’s largest collections of research covering theater, film, dance, music, and recorded sound. At the Brooklyn Museum, an art museum and one of the city’s largest museums by size, groups can learn about the many ways art influenced and shaped NYC’s music scene and take advantage of the museum’s rotating series of music events and live performances.
Many classic Broadway theaters and music institutions offer educational and historic tours of venues throughout the city. Student groups can explore the beauty and history of the iconic Radio City Music Hall on a 60-minute guided tour. The popular Radio City Stage Door Tour gives groups a glimpse of the hall’s beautiful art deco masterpieces, explores secret rooms like The Roxy Suite, and provides an up-close look at the Great Stage. Tours of the home of the hall, the Rockefeller Center, are also available. The historian-guided Rockefeller Center Tour revisits the history of John D. Rockefeller Jr.’s vision for the once-cultural center to become the world-renowned institution and National Historic Landmark that it is today.
For groups interested in musical theater, Inside Broadway Tours takes students behind the scenes at some of New York’s most legendary Broadway theaters. During the company’s most popular experience—the Inside Broadway Tour—groups embark on a backstage tour led by professional actors, singers, and directors. During the interactive tour, students will walk through some of the most well-known stages, dressing rooms, and sets in the Theatre District. Inside Broadway Tours also offers private and custom tour options, including neighborhood walking tours that showcase local landmarks and destinations that inspired some of Broadway’s biggest hits.
Students can take center stage at some of the most iconic destinations across the city. Whether singing in Times Square, dancing on Rockefeller’s Observation Deck, or performing for millions of paradegoers at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, performing arts directors and tour planners can have their pick.
“Student groups can perform at the most amazing attractions across the city, like the Empire State Building and the Statute of Liberty,” Wilson says. “Most attractions offer a paid package, so in addition to their entry tickets, students and groups can perform for the audience of attendees, tourists, or guests visiting. In New York City, our most iconic destinations come with a built-in audience.”
Also popular among student music groups is the chance to audition and perform in nationally broadcasted parades and at festivals in Central Park and other neighborhoods across the city. For more information about how groups can participate on stage, in festivals, and at attractions around the city, contact NYC & Company at business.nycgo.com.
Group tickets for theater and Broadway shows can be purchased online at groups.broadway.com.
For more information on New York City, visit NYC & Company at nycgo.com.
Main image: Lincoln Center; credit: Kate Glicksberg/NYC & Company
Article by Erica Zazo