Manhattan Theatre Lab High School

Phone: (212) 362-2075
Website: Click here
Admissions: No new admits
Principal: Lisa Ostrom
Neighborhood: Upper West Side
District: 3
Grade range: 09 thru 12

What's special:

Classes in acting, dance, music and stage design.

The downside:

Weak academics.

The InsideStats


Our review

The vision: The chance to enroll in a performing arts program without an audition.


The reality: While kids say the drama program is good, the academics never really got off the ground and the Department of Education decided in 2012 to phase out the school for poor performance. Students already enrolled are permitted to graduate but no new students were admitted after 2011.


Housed in the basement of the Martin Luther King, Jr. complex, Manhattan Theatre Lab was founded in 2004 in a collaboration with the Roundabout Theatre. When the founding principal, a member of the theatre, left the following year the collaboration ended. Evelyn Collins, who replaced the founding principal, tried to step up the academics but was ultimately unsuccessful. Most of the students at the school entered 9th grade with very poor academic skills and it was a huge challenge to graduate them on time.  Teachers say discipline is poor, and nearly 85 percent of teachers responding to the Learning Environment Survey said crime and violence are an issue.The school did not respond to our request to visit.(Clara Hemphill, interviews, January 2012)

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