Montclair, NJ – On one night, in front of one outdoor stage, the Montclair Public School community will come together – in person! – to celebrate our town’s hidden talents that highlight our unique diversity. Let’s see what Montclair can ShowUS!
In 2018, the Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence (MFEE) hosted a ShowDOWN, a talent show with a competitive twist. In 2020, MFEE decided to ShowUP, bringing us together virtually for a much-needed night of talent, laughter, and togetherness. And now in 2022, it’s time to ShowUS all the talent that’s been hiding right in our midst
This year, the entire family is invited to ShowUS Montclair outside at Lackawanna Plaza on April 30 at 7 pm. The award-winning event will be an inspiring, interactive evening of local and exceptional performers and stories that highlight the beauty of our diverse community. Tickets are on-sale now, and the cost of each ticket is a tax-deductible donation to MFEE. Ticket prices range: $35 for general admission to $120 for a family ticket.
The host for the evening will be Tony® Award-winner, five-time Tony® Award nominee Laura Benanti! Laura is a highly celebrated stage and screen actress who can currently be seen in HBO Max’s Gossip Girl reboot, as well as the hit TV series Younger and the critically-acclaimed Netflix drama, Worth, opposite Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci. Laura is a passionate supporter of the arts in education, creating and executive producing Homeschool Musical: Class of 2020, an unscripted musical special featuring students from across the U.S. who were unable to perform at their high schools due to COVID school closures. In addition to her well-beloved comedic turn as Melania Trump on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, Laura is also a humanitarian who has donated all proceeds from her children’s album “Singing You Home – Children’s Songs for Family Reunification” featuring songs by Lin Manuel-Miranda and Idina Menzel among others, to reuniting families separated at the border.
While the performers are always spectacular, the most beloved part of the show is witnessing the surprising ways that Montclair Public School administrators and teachers show up on stage. Whether it’s some surprising talent or just some amazing bravado in an all-out lip sync battle, MFEE guarantees that the hidden talents of staff – and maybe even our Board of Education members – will bring smiles and laughter.
LeAnne Korbel, MFEE board member and ShowUS Montclair co-chair, explains the particular inspiration for this year’s show. “I think many of us in Montclair have been thinking about what it means to live in an integrated community, and as MFEE has been working to address some of the barriers to meaningful integration, we’ve been able to witness the beauty of what it means to live here. Programs like Navegadores Escolares have allowed us to work alongside some of our newest neighbors and to see first-hand the willingness of our community to support each other. We want to celebrate not only the talent in communities we may not typically hear from, but also the warm spirit that defines Montclair.”
Some of the acts will include participants in MFEE’s innovative youth programs, which the event is intended to directly support. A portion of the proceeds will fuel these programs that provide academic assistance and boost students’ social/emotional health. MFEE has launched programs like PEEPs (Peer Educational Engagement Program), Entrenadores Escolares (bilingual after school program for teens), Poetry Slam Residencies, and Oruguitas (bilingual after school program for elementary students), in recent years to address the academic and social/emotional needs of hundreds of students. In addition to these programs, MFEE has been funding annual social/emotional grants to staff members, as well as supporting the launch of the JED Foundation at Montclair High School.
“From our kindergarteners to our high school seniors, our kids have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and we know this impact will be long-lasting,” says Masiel Rodriquez-Vars, executive director of MFEE. “Our kids are our community’s greatest asset. Providing varied youth programming that meets kids where they are at and gives them a range of tools to thrive in this complex world is one of our greatest gifts to give them.”
MFEE is grateful to ShowUS Montclair’s premier sponsor, BDP Holdings, for showing its dedication to the social and emotional health of Montclair’s students.To join ShowUS as a sponsor, visit https://givebutter.com/ShowUS_Montclair.
To learn more visit www.mfee.org or call 973.509.4021.