Macy’s original animated special, “Yes, Virginia” will be brought to life this holiday season as the retailer announces “Yes, Virginia The Musical,” an original program that will bring the uplifting story to school stages nationwide. Capturing the hearts of children and adults alike, this charming holiday tale takes the audience on a magical, musical adventure, created as part of the fifth anniversary of Macy’s celebrated “Believe” campaign. To help inspire, inform and support participating schools, Macy’s will provide a digital toolkit at yesvirginiamusical.com, equipped with free, downloadable scripts and scores, production reference materials and inspirational videos from celebrities and theatre experts. Additionally, Macy’s will award $1,000 grants to 100 eligible schools to support their productions of the musical.
“’Yes, Virginia The Musical’ is an exciting new extension of Macy’s ‘Believe’ campaign, which supports Make-A-Wish and aims to inspire goodwill and generosity during the holiday season and beyond,” said Martine Reardon, chief marketing officer for Macy’s. “This school musical program is another way for Macy’s to entertain our customers, allowing us to share this beloved story with even more families this year, spreading the ‘Believe’ philosophy and giving our support to the performing arts in communities nationwide.”
Debuting as an animated special in 2009, “Yes, Virginia” was inspired by the true story of 8-year-old Virginia O’Hanlon, who in 1897, wrote a letter to the New York Sun newspaper asking if there is a Santa Claus. The Sun’s editor, Francis P. Church responded with a poignantly worded essay on the importance of believing, including the famous lines “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist…” His response became one of the most famous newspaper editorials of all time and served as the inspiration for Macy’s “Believe” campaign, which will celebrate its fifth anniversary this December. “Yes, Virginia The Musical” will take this popular story from the small screen to school stages nationwide, sharing a message of hope, love and generosity with families from coast-to-coast.
With many art and music education programs encountering financial cutbacks, Macy’s is making the script and score for “Yes, Virginia The Musical” available royalty free to all schools and also will offer a grant program that will award each of 100 participating schools a $1,000 grant to support their production of the musical. The grants will be awarded to the first 100 eligible schools that complete the application process. While there is no cost for the script and score, schools that receive grants will be provided with these funds to help with various expenses, such as set production and costuming. From August 15 through September 13, interested schools can visit yesvirginiamusical.com to submit a grant application, as well as access a script, select songs and inspirational videos featuring celebrities and experts sharing insider tips on everything from dealing with stage fright to blocking and vocal warm-ups.
Beginning in late September, schools nationwide will be able to access a digital toolkit that includes a full, interactive script, piano/vocal score, downloadable orchestral and vocal performance tracks and character summaries for “Yes, Virginia The Musical.” The digital toolkit will also feature helpful reference videos and images from the team at the renowned acting camp, Stagedoor Manor Performing Arts Training Center, which staged the first performances of “Yes, Virginia The Musical” on July 27 and July 28. These productions will also be featured in the digital toolkit with cast and crew interviews, a full performance video and images and scene clips throughout the downloadable script, creating an interactive experience as schools stage productions of their very own.
“Yes, Virginia” was created and produced by Macy's and JWT in conjunction with The Ebeling Group and MEC Entertainment, a division of Mediaedge:cia. “Yes, Virginia The Musical” was adapted from the animated special and storybook by Chris Plehal, by Wesley Whatley (music) and William Schermerhorn (book and lyrics), the Emmy® Award-winning creative team behind the original song “Yes, Virginia (There is a Santa Claus).” “Yes, Virginia The Musical” received its world premiere at Stagedoor Manor, the world-renowned theater camp located in Loch Sheldrake, NY.
Agency: JWT New York
Chief Creative Officer, North America: Jeff Benjamin
Co-Chief Creative Officers, New York: Matt MacDonald, Ryan Kutscher
Chief Integration Officer, President NA: Mike Geiger
Creative Directors: Craig Love, Shayne Millington
Art Directors: Raihana Halim, Ben Chiang
Copywriter: Justine Cotter
Planning Director: Jonathan Fletcher
User Experience: Jon Fishel
Head of Production: Sergio Lopez
Director of Digital Production: Paul Sutton
Executive Producer: Robin Feldman
Executive Digital Producer: Margaret McLaughlin
Digital Producer: Vanessa Scanlan
Senior Broadcast Producer: Andrea Curtin
Senior Line Producer: Atalie Kessler
Director of Technology: Ricky Bacon
Technical Lead: David Wu
QA Manager: Jane Irzhak
Global Business Director: Claire Capeci
Account Director: Angela Brown
Project Manager: Lindsey Allen
Digital Production Company: Stopp LA
Production Company: Greenpoint Pictures
Director: Jacob Lincoln
Post-Production: Greenpoint Pictures
Editors: David Etkin, Thomas Zoranski, Adam Porter
Editing House: Greenpoint Pictures
Music: JWTwo Entertainment
Post-Production: Macy’s Studios
Editors: Danny Abel, Eric Grush
Media Agency: MEC
VP/Creative Director Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group (Writer, Lyricist): William Schermerhorn
Creative Director Macy’s Parade and Entertainment Group (Composer): Wesley Whatley