ABOUT






Rosie O'Donnell
&
Lori Klinger

The Founders

RTKids was launched in 2003 at PS 51, a Title 1 public school bordering on the theater district where students would walk by Broadway theaters daily, and never have the opportunity to go inside. Rosie noticed this, and thought it was, “…like living in Hawaii, and never having access to the beach.”
Together with Rosie, Artistic and Executive Director Lori Klinger developed PS Broadway – RTKids foundational program. In 2003, all 40 fifth graders at PS 51 participated in 15 weeks of singing and dancing training, and every single fifth grader went to see their first Broadway show – all free of charge.

Over the years since its debut, RTKids has blossomed into much more than simply a song and dance venue. The dedication and inspiration of its expert staff and generosity of its guest Broadway professionals have yielded truly remarkable results. Today, RTKids services include performing arts instruction, life skills development, academic tutoring, and a home-away-from-home environment that is safe and nurturing.

Awards

2012

Rosie’s Theater Kids is awarded the Jordan Ruzan Scholarship at Williamstown Theater Festival. One graduate will be given the scholarship annually in order to participate as a summer apprentice at this prestigious regional theater.

2014

Rosie O’Donnell is awarded the Isabelle Stevenson Tony Award for her commitment to arts education for New York City’s public school children through Rosie’s Theater Kids.

2014

Rosie’s Theater Kids is awarded a $500,000 grant to establish the SAM Scholarship for Scholastic and Artistic Merit, meant to provide one graduate per year with a full scholarship of gap funding to the college of their choice.

2015

Rosie’s Theater Kids ACTE II Program is awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Program Award, the nation’s highest honor for out-of-school arts and humanities youth programs. Twelve students performed for First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House as they accepted this honor.

Why Arts Education

Song and dance are the sparks that light the way, but the lessons we teach go even further. RTKids is about transformation, helping our kids see bigger possibilities for themselves.

We’re passionate about growing kids’ skills for a bright future – building self-confidence, discipline, and poise that will serve them well in whatever their chosen careers may be.Valerie Norton, QBE Insurance; Secretary, RTKids Board of Directors

For many of our students, RTKids provides their first experience of personal accomplishment. By helping children develop their artistic talents and coaching them to strive for excellence, we teach them how to achieve – in the performing arts, in school, and ultimately in life.

The link between RTKids and New York City public schools is not accidental. We instill in our students the goals of a high school diploma and advanced education. And like a caring “stage mother,” RTKids provides for the whole child – be it subway fare, lunch, an academic tutor, or a standardized test coach.

With the confidence gained from RTKids and a quality education, our kids will be equipped to pursue any career.

Setting the Stage

RTKIDS THAT GRADUATE HIGHSCHOOL
100%
RTKIDS ACCEPTED INTO SPECIALIZED & SELECTIVE HIGH SCHOOLS
90%
RTKIDS FROM UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES
80%
RTKIDS FROM THE FIVE BOROUGHS OF NYC
100%
HISPANIC
52%
AFRICAN AMERICAN
21%
ASIAN
15%
WHITE
12%

Milestones

SPRING 2003

PS Broadway pilot program begins with a class of 40 students at PS 51 in Manhattan.

FALL 2004

First class of ACTE II scholarship students selected from PS Broadway classes.

SPRING 2005

Rosie’s purchases building at 445 West 45th Street – home of Maravel Arts Center.

SPRING 2006

RTKids secures $1 million capital funding from the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs.

FALL 2006

The Arts Plus (A+) is born as RTKids assists its first class with high school applications.

FALL 2007

Spotlight on Fitness (SoFit) trial classes begin at PS 51.

WINTER 2007

Construction begins at 445 West 45th Street.

SPRING 2008

RTKids receives its first grant from the National Endowment for the Arts.

SUMMER 2008

Nan Klinger Memorial Scholarship Fund established by a grant from the Thornburg Charitable Foundation.

JAN. 26TH 2009

Maravel Arts Center ribbon-cutting ceremony is held.

SUMMER 2009

RTKids produces its first original musical, informed by the writings and ideas of ACTE II students, titled My Life: Today.

FALL 2009

SoFit classes begin at Maravel Arts Center, and the tap-dance element of the program is launched.

FALL 2010

Rosie’s Broadway Kids officially changes its name to Rosie’s Theater Kids.

FALL 2010

RTKids prepares its first senior class for college applications with SAT prep classes and college application assistance.

WINTER 2010

Rosie’s For All Kids Foundation “gifts” Maravel Arts Center to Rosie’s Theater Kids.

SUMMER 2011

First class of RTKids graduate high school and move on to college.

SUMMER 2011

RTKids hires an Academic Coordinator to lead and expand Arts Plus.

SPRING 2013

RTKids celebrates its 10-year anniversary with its largest one-time gift of $2 million.

SUMMER 2014

RTKids launches its SAM (Scholastic and Artistic Merit) college scholarship with a $500,000 gift.

BEYOND?

#onlyLOVE

OUR FUTURE

W ith our core programs firmly established and fully enrolled, our spotlight going forward will be on providing for the “whole child.” While performing arts will continue to inspire and motivate our students, we realize that their ability to achieve life goals and potential will depend on their capability to perform academically and professionally. Many of our students face overwhelming life challenges outside of school each day. Going forward, we will expand our efforts to assist students to acquire the skills and develop their talents to excel not only on the stage of performing arts, but on the academic and professional stages as well.

THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

We cannot keep our programs running without the support of generous benefactors who share our mission. To help us transform the lives of thousands of deserving youths, please click the button below.

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