Behind the Curtain Guides

Resources Content


Whether you’re a teacher looking to enrich and integrate your students’ curriculum with the performing arts or a parent trying to fill an hour of the day creatively, explore our online collection of dance and musical theater Behind the Curtain guides and video clips.

Filled with a variety of activities, our Behind the Curtain guides include historical, thematic, and contextual background for each production, creative and artistic insights, career spotlights, glossaries and resources for further exploration.

Jelly's Last Jam

This Behind the Curtain Study Guide gives you an inside look to Encores! Jelly's Last Jam. This guide includes an interview with the Director, a timeline of jazz history, and activities and discussion questions for teachers and students.

Study Guide

Once Upon a Mattress

This Behind the Curtain Study Guide gives you an inside look to Encores! Once Upon a Mattress. This guide includes an interview with the Director, an article about the adaptation of fairytales, and activities and discussion questions for teachers and students.

Study Guide

Study Guide Downloads
Oliver! Study Guide cover page
Lionel Bart's Oliver!

Lionel Bart’s adaptation of Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist has been a household name since its premiere in 1960. The story of a child who dares to trust in others, search for love, and ask for more in London’s seedy underworld, Bart’s coming-of-age classic finds new life in this landmark Encores! revival. Study Guide

Flamenco Festival Study Guide cover page
Flamenco Festival

In Alma, Sara Baras and her company offer a transformative evening of propulsive footwork, formidable musicianship, and unforgettable performance in this love letter to flamenco’s origins that blends traditional flamenco elements with bolero rhythms. Study Guide

Parade Study Guide cover page
Inspired by historical events, Parade follows the Franks—a Jewish couple living in Marietta, Georgia—as they’re pulled apart and drawn together by Leo’s 1913 murder trial, conviction, appeal, and eventual lynching. Study Guide
Into the Woods Study Guide cover page
Into the Woods
A Baker and his wife, Cinderella, Jack, Little Red Riding Hood, and even the Witch all wish for something, but they must learn the responsibility that comes with getting what you want. Study Guide
The Tap Dance Kid Study Guide cover page
The Tap Dance Kid
The Tap Dance Kid tells the story of Willie, a 10-year-old boy from an upper-middle-class Black family, who dreams of becoming a professional tap dancer, despite his father’s disapproval. Study Guide
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Ballet Flamenco
In Shadows, Sara Baras combines her devotion to the dances of her native Spain with her unwavering commitment to innovation. Baras reexamines and reinvigorates her trademark flamenco style La Farruca—a quick-footed, dramatic dance traditionally performed only by men. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 5+
Big River
Inspired by Mark Twain’s classic novel, Big River follows Huckleberry Finn, a rebellious teenager, and Jim, an escaped slave, as they journey along the Mississippi River in the search for freedom. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon
Set in the Scottish Highlands, Lerner & Loewe’s Brigadoon tells the story of two New York tourists who stumble into an idyllic town that appears for only one day every century. When romance between the visitors and two women in the village ensues, the arrival of the newcomers jeopardizes the very existence of the mystical village of Brigadoon. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Inside Encores - Call_Me_Madam
Call Me Madam
Inspired by the real-life figure of Perle Mesta, a Washington socialite turned Ambassador, Call Me Madam centers on Sally Adams, a well-meaning but ill-informed ambassador to the fictional country of Lichtenburg. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
A Chorus Line
In a passionate tribute to dance and musical theater, A Chorus Line chronicles the joy, despair, and triumph of Broadway dancers and the often overlooked members of the ensemble. As they audition for a new Broadway show, each dancer divulges personal stories about challenges and aspirations. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 12+
Set in 1940s Argentina, Evita follows Argentina’s first lady Eva Perón's meteoric rise to becoming the most powerful woman in Latin America and wife of military leader-turned president Juan Perón. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 12+
Fall for Dance Study Guide
2020 Fall for Dance Festival
Filmed live on City Center’s stage, this 17th annual and first-ever digital Festival features four world premiere commissions from Kyle Abraham, Dormeshia, Jamar Roberts, and Christopher Wheeldon, plus 20 New York City artists from companies like Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, American Ballet Theatre, and Martha Graham Dance Company, in two programs hosted by Alicia Graf Mack and David Hallberg—all celebrating the resilience, beauty, and power of dance. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 5+
Flamenco Festival Study Guide cover
Flamenco Festival
Watching a performance can be a powerful learning experience. Enjoy a vibrant 5-minute clip of Ballet Flamenco Andalucia, who performed on the City Center stage in 2016, and use the accompanying study guide as an exercise to enhance and expand learning about this Spanish art form. Study Guide
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Grand Hotel, The Musical
Grand Hotel, The Musical is set in 1928 and tells the intersecting stories of guests at an extravagant Berlin hotel. Over the course of a tumultuous weekend, we meet a faded ballerina, a Baron who moonlights as a burglar, a dying bookkeeper, a businessman facing certain ruin, and a young secretary all too eager to become an American film star.Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Hey, Look Me Over!
Created by Encores! series Artistic Director Jack Viertel and Music Director Rob Berman, Hey, Look Me Over!, takes shape as a musical review, spotlighting lesser-known shows from Broadway’s past. Representing a passionate Encores! subscriber, the “Man in Chair,” guides audiences through his favorite selections of musical theater classics that hadn’t yet made their way to City Center’s stage. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
High Button Shoes
High Button Shoes follows the misadventures of two charismatic conmen—Harrison Floy and Mr. Pontdue—who bamboozle the Longstreet family, inciting a chase from New Brunswick, down the Jersey Shore, to Atlantic City. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Rodgers & Hart’s I Married an Angel
Rodgers & Hart's I Married an Angel is a light-hearted love story that weds balletic grace with drawing-room comedic charm. Count Willy Palaffi, a jaded banker, swears off love claiming that the only bride for him would have to come from the heavens. But when Willy weds Angel, an actual celestial being, they soon realize that having everything they wanted is not as they imagined. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Love Life
Considered by some to be the first concept musical, Kurt Weill and Alan Jay Lerner’s Love Life depicts more than a century and a half of American history through the eyes of a family who never ages. Navigating a rapidly changing world, the Cooper family grows from their simple post-revolutionary farm to a life in bustling post-World War II America. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Mack & Mabel
Mack & Mabel tells the story of one of silent film’s first great pioneers, Mack Sennett, and his muse, the comedienne Mabel Normand. Mack makes Mabel a star and love blossoms. But Mack’s insatiable drive to succeed and Mabel’s vulnerability—the key to her audience appeal—turn their love affair into a high wire act with no net. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 14+
Me and My Girl
Set in the 1930’s, Me and My Girl tells the story of Bill Snibson, an average cockney man whose world turns upside down when he learns that he’s the long-lost heir to the Earl of Hareford. As familial forces attempt to assimilate him to aristocratic life, Bill hopes to claim his fortune while preserving his love with fellow cockney, Sally. Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+
Working Study Guide
Based on the best-selling Studs Terkel book of the same name, Working: A Musical celebrates the vital roles played by those who make our country run. City Center’s version, updated for the 2019 production, highlights a wide range of American workers, from the proud waitress and the tired millworker to City Center’s own staff.Study Guide
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Recommended for ages 10+

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Resources Sponsors

Education Support

Leadership support for education programs provided by
Lynne and Richard Pasculano
Bobbie and Lew Frankfort
The Hearst Foundation, Inc.
Julie and Paul Leff
Zegar Family Foundation
New York State Assembly Member Helene E. Weinstein
Additional support for education programs provided by
Con Edison
The Walt Disney Company
Gilder Foundation
Brian and Darlene Heidtke
Abraham Perlman Foundation
New York City Council Member Helen Rosenthal
The Ida and William Rosenthal Foundation
Leo Shull Foundation for the Arts

Support for the education endowment provided by
The Peter Loeb Arts Education Endowment

Listing as of 4.3.20