Andrew Lloyd Webber has made a donation of $1.3 million (£900,000) towards musical theatre programmes for public schools in the United States.
The Broadway composer's grant is an extension of the programme Lloyd Webber has implemented in the U.K., during which he introduced violins in schools.
Lloyd Webber was at the Tony Awards on Sunday (12Jun16) to cheer on his children's troupe as his show School of Rock, based on the 2003 Jack Black film of the same name, competed for the top musical prize, plus three other awards.
He told the Associated Press, “I’m afraid what’s happening in America is mirrored in Britain. It seems to be that nobody quite understands in the treasuries of our various countries that every penny you put into the arts, comes back in some form - in my view, five times over."
The three-year grant operated by The American Theatre Wing will buy instruments and equipment for school theatre programmes, fund summer study, after-school training, and college scholarships.
Lloyd Webber added that he believes arts education “makes a vital contribution to children’s well-being and their understanding of other disciplines... If you start learning music, you immediately get a grasp for math.”
The stage version of School of Rock mirrors the hit movie, in which Jack Black played a failed rocker who forms a group with his fifth-grade pupils to enter a Battle of the Bands contest.
“One hopes it’s a little inspiring to other kids when they see that these kids really play. That’s the fantastic thing," added Lloyd Webber.