2024–25 Application

Disney Musicals in Schools is a FREE outreach initiative for grades 3–5 that develops sustainable musical theater programs for eligible Cuyahoga and Lorain County elementary schools. 

Four schools will be selected to participate in the 2024-2025 program, FREE of charge. Any Cuyahoga, Lake, or Lorain County public elementary school, including public charter schools, with a student poverty level of 50% or higher (according to the Ohio Department of Education’s 2013 Typology Report) is eligible to apply. Alumni Schools of the Disney Musicals in Schools program who are not Year 1, 2, or 3 Schools in the 23-24 or 24-25 school year are invited to apply to restart the program as Year 1 School. If you have questions about your school’s eligibility, contact Outreach Program Coordinator Katelyn Merold at katelyn.merold@playhousesquare.org.

Disney Musicals in Schools presents a special opportunity to introduce the collaborative art of musical theater to your school, strengthen your arts programming, and develop partnerships among students, faculty, staff and the greater community. 

Application deadline: AUGUST 9, 2024

The goals of Disney Musicals in Schools

1.    Create sustainable musical theatre programs in public elementary schools.

2.    Provide school faculty with the training and tools necessary to support student performance and production and to empower them to do so.

3.    Develop a critical awareness and appreciation of the arts within the school.

4.    Develop a strong community, including students, parents, faculty, staff, and neighbors.

5.    Expose students and school faculty to the wide spectrum of skills developed when producing musical theatre, including critical thinking, problem-solving, ensemble building, communication, self-confidence, and interpersonal skill

What is Disney Musicals in Schools?


Disney Musicals in Schools is an after-school outreach program designed to help underserved schools produce a 30-minute Disney musical at your school with students in grades 3–5 with the help of weekly Playhouse Square’s Disney-trained teaching artist visits and materials at no cost to your school.

The program began at Disney Theatrical Group in New York City in 2009 and was established to create sustainable theater programs in under-resourced public elementary schools. Over 500 schools across the US and the UK have participated in this program since its inception, 28 of those schools in the Greater Cleveland Area through Playhouse Square. Playhouse Square has been a proud producer of Disney Musicals in Schools since 2015. 


By providing free performance materials and free professional development to participating teachers, Disney Musicals in Schools has helped schools inspire the next generation of diverse storytellers, artists and audiences.


Program Overview


Playhouse Square will select four Cuyahoga, Lake, or Lorain County public elementary (including charter) schools to participate in this year’s Disney Musicals in Schools program. According to the Ohio Department of Education's 2013 Typology Report, schools must have a student poverty level of 50% or higher to qualify. 


Selected Schools Will Receive


Free performance rights (valid for one year) to a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical of your choice! Available titles include: 


  • 101 Dalmatians
  • Aladdin
  • The Aristocats
  • Finding Nemo
  • Frozen
  • The Jungle Book
  • The Lion King
  • Winnie the Pooh

Free “ShowKit” materials, including a director’s handbook guide, student scripts, online links to all choreography and music videos and tracks, and cross-curricular activities.


Free in-school support from a team of two Playhouse Square Disney-Trained Teaching Artists.

Two, 90-minute afterschool rehearsals are required every week for 19 weeks. Playhouse Square Teaching Artists attend one of these two rehearsals per week, while your team of teachers run the second rehearsal each week.

The Teaching Artists will serve as production and creative advisors, training and empowering your School Team to run the program independently by the end of the 19 weeks.

The Playhouse Square Teaching Artists will guide your School Team through production management (developing a rehearsal schedule, running auditions, and addressing technical and physical production requirements) and the creative execution of the show (direction, choreography, acting, and design). They will also advise your School Team on school and community engagement opportunities to support your production.

Disney KIDS Musicals are designed to be produced on any budget. Playhouse Square Teaching Artists will work with your School Team to create a production within the budget your school can allocate to this project.

Finally, our four selected Disney schools will present one musical number from their respective productions in a culminating “Student Share Celebration” at Playhouse Square. This year’s Student Share will take place on March 11, 2024, and we encourage new applicants to join us! Please get in touch with Katelyn Merold for details on how to RSVP!

Schools will be expected to:

  • Identify a School Team comprising at least four teachers and staff members who will partner with the Playhouse Square Teaching Artists and oversee and manage the program from beginning to end. The selected School Team will receive on-site support from a team of two Playhouse Square Teaching Artists who will visit the school for a 90-minute rehearsal once each week for 19 weeks. The School Team will run a second 90-minute rehearsal once each week (those same 19 weeks) without the presence of the Teaching Artists.
  • Produce a 30-minute Disney “KIDS” musical of your choice from the titles listed on page 2, involving 3rd-5th graders who will participate both onstage as performers and offstage, providing backstage support.
  • Commit to a full semester of rehearsal /production in an after-school setting (see timeline on following page).
  • Host a site visit at your school for Playhouse Square’s “selection team,” who will visit your School Team during the application process.
  • Provide space, time, materials, and resources for students and the School Team to rehearse and prepare for the musical production.
  • Respond to all Playhouse Square correspondence in a timely manner.
  • Provide opportunities for the whole school, parents, and larger community to be supportive of the production.
  • Hold a minimum of one public performance of your musical.
  • Participate in the culminating “Student Share” event at Playhouse Square on March 10, 2025. Playhouse Square will provide transportation reimbursement for participating schools.

Timeline of REQUIRED Events: 

August 9, 2024                  
Applications due

August 19–30, 2024
Finalist schools receive on-site visits at their respective schools

Week of September 2, 2024
All applicants notified of their status, and four selected schools announced

Wednesday, September 25, 2024    
Selected school orientation (evening) at Playhouse Square

October 7, 2024–March 3, 2025
90-minutes, twice per week, after school rehearsals occur, with Playhouse Square Teaching Artists attending one of the two weekly rehearsals 

Week of March 3, 2025*    
In-school performances of your school’s selected show  
*Alternate performance week requires Playhouse Square's written approval  

March 10, 2025 at 7 p.m.
Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share Celebration, at Playhouse Square’s Mimi Ohio Theatre!