From January through June, 2016, thirty Highbridge Voices students worked together to write and perform an original musical based on their community. Thanks to support from Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson and the NYC Department of Cultural Affairs Cultural Immigrant Initiative,  our students were able to write a script, compose music, and perform it in front of an audience of family and friends.

Creating an original musical, written and performed by students, was a six-month collaborative project led by Creative Writing Instructor Danny Lanzetta and Music Theory Instructor William Janiszewski. The experience was intended to be a form of expression for students who have grown up in the under-privileged Highbridge neighborhood of The Bronx. The first month of classes was spent planning and discussing a plot that would relate to their experiences growing up in the neighborhood. Students were encouraged to mold characters based on people they have known in Highbridge. They conducted interviews with family members who were born and raised in the neighborhood. Students wrote a story about an estranged mother and daughter going through separate hardships—the teen daughter is pregnant, and the mother has cancer.

This program is supported, in part, by public funds from the New York City Depeartment of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.

Read the script here: What Goes Down in the Boogie Down

Check out some video clips here!