Skip to content

Lincoln Center Theater partners with six New York City high schools to present student version of ‘Once on This Island’

LCT’s director of education Kati Koerner tells Broadway News about the first-of-its-kind initiative.

Stephen Flaherty (fourth from left, bottom row) and Lynn Ahrens (fifth from left, bottom row) and the cast of MLK’s “Once on This Island, Jr.,” 2024 (Credit: Courtesy of Lincoln Center Theater)

Lincoln Center Theater (LCT) and six New York City high schools have engaged in a semester-long musical performance initiative. The project, which encompasses the schools located at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Educational Complex across the street from LCT, will culminate in performances of “Once on This Island, Jr.,” on April 11 and 12 at the campus auditorium. LCT artists SMJ and Danielle Criss will serve as director and choreographer, respectively, while David James Boyd will provide music direction.

Six high schools comprise the MLK, Jr. Education Complex: High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice; High School of Arts and Technology; Manhattan/Hunter College Science High School; High School for Arts, Imagination and Inquiry; Urban Assembly School for Media Studies; and Special Music School High School. The schools, which vary in population from 200 to 350 students and in college enrollment rate from 39% to 93%, have never had campus-wide arts programs.

While LCT’s teaching artists have worked with the High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice for 20 years, this program involving all six MLK high schools is new. LCT’s director of education, Kati Koerner, proposed the idea in June 2023, and the program began in January 2024.

Introductory Offer

$1/month for 6 months


Already have an account? Log in