Alicia Keys and Roc Nation rally to save NYC student’s beloved school theater program

Alicia Keys "Hell's Kitchen" Sneak Peek
Alicia Keys "Hell's Kitchen" Sneak Peek / Bruce Glikas/GettyImages

In a heartwarming display of support, Grammy-winning artist Alicia Keys and her management company, Roc Nation, have stepped up to rescue a cherished theater program at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) in Hell’s Kitchen. The program, which has been a beacon of creativity for 13 years, is now at risk of closure due to financial constraints.

The drama program in peril

The Professional Performing Arts School, nestled in the vibrant heart of Manhattan, has long been a nurturing ground for young talents. For over a decade, it has partnered with the professional theater company Waterwell to provide conservatory-style theater classes during school hours. These classes have ignited the passion of countless students, including Keys herself, who attended PPAS.

However, this year, the arts partner, Waterwell, delivered a sobering message: funding for the program would run dry after April 12. The curtain was threatening to fall on a vital part of these students’ lives.

A seventh grader’s determination

Enter Tennyson Artigliere, a seventh grader at PPAS. When she learned about the impending closure, she refused to let the stage lights dim. Tennyson launched an online fundraiser, rallying her peers and the school community. Their collective efforts raised nearly $53,000—an impressive feat for a group of young artists.

Alicia Keys and Roc Nation to the rescue

Alicia Keys, no stranger to the transformative power of the arts, caught wind of Tennyson’s campaign. Moved by the young student’s determination, Keys and Roc Nation made a game-changing donation of $60,000. With their contribution, the total funds surpassed the $102,000 needed to keep the program alive through the end of the school year.

“I wanted to save my school,” Tennyson shared. “The day I received the email about the arts program’s potential cut, I immediately messaged my school group chat. We wouldn’t let the program that brought us together be silenced.”

Challenges ahead

While the financial hurdle has been cleared, other challenges remain. Parents and teachers are concerned about the program’s leadership. Waterwell, the original arts partner, may step back in if funds become available. The decision lies with the school’s PTA and parent body.

A community united

The PPAS theater program embodies the spirit of collaboration, resilience, and creativity. It’s a place where dreams take center stage, and young voices find their resonance. Thanks to Alicia Keys, Roc Nation, and the unwavering determination of students like Tennyson, the show will go on.