The Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence is bringing ShowUs Montclair — which it describes as an evening of local performers and stories "that highlight the beauty of our diverse community" — to Lackawanna Plaza on Saturday, April 30 at 7 p.m.

The host for the evening will be Tony Award winner and five-time Tony Award nominee Laura Benanti.

“From our kindergarteners to our high school seniors, our kids have been significantly impacted by the pandemic, and we know this impact will be long-lasting,” Montclair Fund for Educational Excellence executive director Masiel Rodriquez-Vars said in an announcement from the group.  “Our kids are our community’s greatest asset. Providing varied youth programming that meets kids where they are at and gives them a range of tools to thrive in this complex world is one of our greatest gifts to give them.”

The annual event began in 2018. with ShowDOWN, which the foundation called a "talent show with a competitive twist." In 2020, the foundation hosted ShowUP, "a virtual night of talent, laughter and togetherness."

This year's event will include acts from participants in the foundation's youth programs, which the event is intended to support. A portion of the proceeds will go to programs that provide academic assistance and boost students’ social/emotional health, according to the foundation.

The foundation has launched programs like PEEPs (Peer Educational Engagement Program), Entrenadores Escolares (a bilingual after school program for teens), Poetry Slam Residencies and Oruguitas (a bilingual after school program for elementary students), in recent years to address the academic and social/emotional needs of hundreds of students, the group said in its announcement.

It also funds annual social/emotional grants to staff members, and supported the launch of the Jed Foundation mental health program at Montclair High School.

“I think many of us in Montclair have been thinking about what it means to live in an integrated community, and as MFEE has been working to address some of the barriers to meaningful integration, we’ve been able to witness the beauty of what it means to live here," board member and ShowUS Montclair co-chair LeAnne Korbel said in the announcement from the foundation. "Programs like Navegadores Escolares have allowed us to work alongside some of our newest neighbors and to see first-hand the willingness of our community to support each other. We want to celebrate not only the talent in communities we may not typically hear from, but also the warm spirit that defines Montclair.”

Tickets are on sale now, and the cost of each ticket is a tax-deductible donation to the foundation. Ticket prices range from $35 for general admission to $120 for a family ticket. Tickets are available at

Sponsors can sign on at