RBTL-Beyond The Mask

- A fifth grade class at Rochester school number 35 is getting a unique lesson.  It's called "Beyond the Mask," an in-depth look at what makes up the production of "Phantom of the Opera."  News 8's Ali Touhey has the details.

It's a lesson that has some Rochester fifth graders singing a new tune.

"At first I thought it was kind of weird, but then when Mr. Ford started explaining it to us, it started getting pretty interesting," said Andre Facen, who is participating in "Beyond the Mask." Andre is talking about the Broadway musical "Phantom of the Opera." His class is one of three classes in our area involved in the "Beyond the Mask" program.

It's a series of lessons all centered around the show. 

"We're going to introduce them to theatre and perhaps make a life change at a very young age. We give them a dream and let them pursue their dream," said Bob Sagan, who is the Education Director at the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.  RBTL runs the program.

says the league is one of 10 around the country awarded a national 5-thousand dollar grant to fund the program.

"We are out in the community, bringing theatre to these schools who might not ever get to experience it," Sagan added.

Sagan says students have "Phantom" lesson each month. They're learning everything from the history of dance, to theatre production.  The program culminates in April with a field trip to the theatre for an actual performance. The idea is exciting for students like Andre, who had never heard of Phantom of the Opera before this year. 

"I'm looking forward to seeing the Phantom of the Opera. He seems pretty cool to be honest"

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