NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- November 15, 2006 -- The ASCAP Foundation "Children Will Listen" program, which is designed to introduce the American Musical Theatre to youngsters who might otherwise not have the opportunity to experience it, will go into high gear today, Wednesday, November 15, as one hundred fifth grade students from P.S. 123, the Mahalia Jackson School located in Harlem, attend the Broadway matinee performance of "Wicked." Free tickets and transportation to the smash musical are being provided to the students and ten accompanying teacher chaperones. Following the performance, Stephen Schwartz, creator of "Wicked's" music and lyrics, and cast members will engage in an exclusive discussion session with the students in the Theatre. Schwartz's credits include the scores for "Godspell," "Pippin" and the animated feature films Disney's "Pocahontas" and "The Prince of Egypt," both of which earned him Academy Awards.

The ASCAP Foundation "Children Will Listen" program was established -- in honor of ASCAP member and Musical Theatre great Stephen Sondheim ("West Side Story," "Gypsy!," "Pacific Overtures," "A Little Night Music") -- in 2005 to bring the musical theatre experience to young students nationwide. The program was named for one of the songs from his musical, "Into the Woods." The students of P.S. 123 are the first beneficiaries of the program. Plans are set to bring the "Children Will Listen" initiative to Los Angeles in February 2007, which will enable hundreds of school children to attend a performance of Reprise! Broadway's Best production of "Sunday in the Park with George" (music and lyrics by ASCAP member Stephen Sondheim). Stephen Schwartz will take part in the Los Angeles program, as well.

Founded in 1975, The ASCAP Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to supporting American music creators and encouraging their development through music education and talent development programs. Included in these are songwriting workshops, grants, scholarships, awards, recognition and community outreach programs, and public service projects for senior composers and lyricists. The ASCAP Foundation is supported by contributions from ASCAP members and from music lovers throughout the United States.