Education

18,000 Students in NYC See Broadway’s ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’ for Free at MSG

"Please, listen to the words," film director, writer and actor Spike Lee told the students.

Stage set up as a court room for the To Kill a Mockingbird play at Madison Square Garden
News 4

What to Know

  • It is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway and on Wednesday 18,000 New York City Public School students had seat
  • This event also marks the first time Madison Square Garden hosts a play or musical — providing the arena for free during the three days it took to put on this matinee
  • The Department of Education hosted a lottery for the coveted seats to the popular Broadway production

It is one of the hottest tickets on Broadway and, on Wednesday, 18,000 New York City Public School students had seats.

For many kids in the audience this is a first -- and to many it was a dream come true.

"Some people like me have never seen a Broadway show and it’s a beautiful way to to show it," Eric Meza, an 11th grader, said.

This event also marks the first time Madison Square Garden hosts a play or musical — providing the arena for free during the three days it took to put on this matinee.

"You’re a part of history today," New York City's First Lady Chirlane McCray said during the special performance.

The Department of Education hosted a lottery for the coveted seats to the popular Broadway production.

Edward R. Murrow AP history teacher Julia Ng-Karpieszuk says she jumped at the chance.

"We were on the wait list for a while and they gave us a bunch of tickets," Ng-Karpieszuk. "They were very generous."

The Shubert Theater is home to the production. The theater seats fewer than 1,500 people with tickets selling for $400 or more. By staging it at Madison Square Garden, thousands of students are getting a priceless opportunity -- free of charge. 

Brooklyn’s own Spike Lee introduced Aaron Sorkin’s stage adaptation of Harper Lee’s classic 1960’s novel of a small town Caucasian lawyer Atticus Finch in the Deep South during the 1930s. Finch defends Tom Robinson — a black man wrongfully accused of rape.

"Please, listen to the words," the film director, writer and actor said.

Decades later the characters are inspiring a future generation. 

"I think that the message still stands," Brianna Banful, a senior said, adding: "I definitely want to do pre-law when I go to college and then hopefully go to law school."

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