The Newman-Crows Landing Unified School District Musical Theatre Department has received a $16,040 grant from the California Teachers Association Institute for Teaching.

The musical theatre department is a district-wide program housed at Orestimba High that involves students in grades 4-12.

The grant will enhance the opportunity of students to be on-stage, backstage and running lights/sound to produce a performance of Disney’s newly-released musical “Newsies,” which will be presented in early 2019.

The production will bring students from multiple grade levels and with varying experience to perform at West Side Theatre.

Director Hardy Reeves said a portion of the grant will be used for tap dance lessons. The upcoming production, he noted, includes numerous dance routines - including a large tap number at the part of the second act.

“We are able to pay for 13 of the students to go out and meet with the (tap dance) instructor once a week to learn the basics, and then to learn choreography from her. We are also able to purchase the tap shoes for the students,” Reeves explained.

The grant money will also allow the department to update its sound board and purchase eight additional microphone packs for performers.

“We have had only eight to 10 working microphones for the cast to use, and during a show would end up switching out mic packs with students depending on what was needed for the scene,” Reeves told Mattos Newspapers. “This year, our goal is to have 18 working mics on stage, which will eliminate a lot of the switching that has had to occur backstage.”

The additional microphones are important because Newsies has a large number of characters with speaking and singing roles.

The updated sound board is a digital unit which gives the student sound technician greater control and the ability to plug the full range of mic sets that will be used.

While the department has a number of other needs, Reeves said, the unique requirements of the upcoming production put those items at the top of the priority list.

Portions of the grant will also fund workshops with the performers, the purchase of costumes and props.

The CTA Institute for Teaching’s mission is to enhance, support and sustain high-quality teaching and quality public schools for all California students. The Institute for Teaching has awarded 313 grants totaling over $3.5 million in the program’s first nine years.