2nd 16 Unsinkable Molly Brown Grant Recipients Revealed | Playbill

Education News 2nd 16 Unsinkable Molly Brown Grant Recipients Revealed

These high schools will receive $10,000 grants to perform Dick Scanlan's updated version of the Meredith Willson musical.

Beth Malone Bruce Glikas/WireImage

The second round of winners of the Unsinkable Molly Brown Grants has been revealed. Another 16 schools have been chosen to receive $10,000 awards to produce Dick Scanlan's updated version of the Meredith Willson musical in either 2024 or 2025, joining 16 other schools that were awarded grants last year. The program is run by the Educational Theatre Foundation (ETF), The Music Man Foundation (TMMF), and Music Theatre International (MTI).

The new grant recipients are Baldwin High School in Baldwin, New York; Cambridge High School in Cambridge, Wisconsin; Christian Heritage School in Trumbull, Connecticut; Decatur Central High School in Indianapolis, Indiana; Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan; Hickory High School in Chesapeake, Virginia; The Weber School in Atlanta, Georgia; Montrose High School in Montrose, Colorado; Mount Carmel Academy in New Orleans, Louisiana; Pittsburg High School in Pittsburg, Kansas; Randolph High School in Randolph, New Jersey; Rowlett High School in Rowlett, Texas; Salmon Junior/Senior High School in Salmon, Idaho; Shorewood High School in Shoreline, Washington; Terre Haute North Vigo High School in Terre Haute, Indiana; and Valley Regional High School in Deep River, Connecticut.

Applicants were asked to show plans to use the work as a tool to engage their school and community in the musical's themes, which include women's and immigrants' rights, community-building, and Molly Brown's civic-minded "share-the-luck" spirit. MTI has provided the revised musical's script to read online for free here.

“Using theatre as a means to promote racial equity and spark social activism in underserved populations is a key part of ETF's mission,” says ETC Board Chair Matt Conover in a statement. “We’re thrilled that these schools and their communities will have the opportunity to engage with this revised classic in new and empowering ways.”

“This announcement comes in time for the 122nd birthday of Meredith Willson, who wrote the music and original lyrics for The Unsinkable Molly Brown and in whose honor The Music Man Foundation was established,” adds Music Man Foundation President Tom Camp. "We can't think of a better way to celebrate Meredith’s legacy than by offering many more high schools across the country the opportunity to delve into The Unsinkable Molly Brown’s new book.”

The Unsinkable Molly Brown tells the rags-to-riches story of Margaret “Molly” Brown—a turn-of-the-century hero of the underdog, champion of women’s rights, fighter for labor rights, advocate of immigration reform—and, most famously, survivor of the Titanic. The original version was Willson's follow-up to smash hit The Music Man, opening on Broadway in 1960 with Tammy Grimes in the title role. Molly Brown would prove to be a more modest success compared to The Music Man, running just two years and 532 performances. Debbie Reynolds led a film version in 1964. In the years since, the musical has been seldom performed.

Three-time Tony nominee Dick Scanlan began work on a revised version of the work as early as 2009, penning a new book that focused on portraying its title character as she really was—vibrant, progressive, and modern. Scanlan's version featured Willson's original score with other songs from the Music Man writer's archives interpolated into the songlist. After a series of developmental readings, the revised version premiered at Denver Center for the Performing Arts in 2014, playing an Off-Broadway run via Transport Group in 2020. Kathleen Marshall directed and choreographed both runs, which starred Fun Home Tony nominee Beth Malone in the title role. A cast recording of the 2020 cast was released in 2022.

The Unsinkable Molly Brown was recently released for licensing from Music Theatre International.

Production Photos: The Unsinkable Molly Brown (2020)

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