Local students to head to national iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival

By Music Works! Studio of Performing Arts | Jan 07, 2017
Courtesy of: MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts MusicWorks cast in the premiere production of "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" Jr.

Students from MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts in Clyde have been accepted into the 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival (#JTF17 #JTFATL) happening January 13, 14 and 15 in Atlanta, GA.

Created by New York’s iTheatrics and produced by the Junior Theater group, the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest festival for student-driven musical theater programs and a monumental weekend of theatrical fellowship. Musical theater professionals from Broadway and beyond connect directly with one of the largest live audiences of artists and arts’ supporters of tomorrow.

The iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta will unite 6,000+ students and educators from 115 educational musical theater groups representing 28 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia. Following JTF Atlanta, iTheatrics and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) will debut the Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF17, #JTFWest) February 10-12, 2017, in Sacramento, CA. Title sponsors of both iTheatrics Junior Theater Festivals are Music Theatre International (MTI), Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc.®.

Each group attending the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival performs a 15-minute selection of a musical for a panel of distinguished theater professionals.

The 47 students, ages 8 to 17, representing MusicWorks Studio of Performing Arts will present Shrek the Musical JR. for adjudication.

The 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival offers an enthusiastic environment for students and teachers to interact with thousands of others who share their passion for musical theater. In addition to presenting the 15-minute selection from their musical, both students and teachers participate in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gain from professional development, enjoy theatrical fellowship and take part in performances by Broadway professionals.   In true Junior Theater Festival form, student techies work side-by-side with festival staff in running all aspects of the festival experience.

Educators and students – many of whom come from programs which operate in a vacuum during the rest of the year – share ideas and performances.  Programs return home boosted by national recognition, and every participant is transformed by the knowledge that she/he/they belongs to a vast and diverse community of people who care passionately about this art form.

About MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts

MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts has enjoyed great success at past Junior Theater Festivals.

At the 2016 Junior Theater Festival MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts' Marina Battenfeld and Emily Patten made it to the call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for "how-to" choreography videos for soon-to-be-released Broadway Junior musicals. Emily Patten went on to attend the summer 2016 Broadway Video shoot. Last spring, MusicWorks! was handpicked by iTheatrics and Music Theatre International to perform a pilot premiere of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang JR. The students gave three sold-out performances of this new work in October, 2016.

At the 2015 Junior Theater Festival, MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts student Cameron Robinson received a Freddie G award for Outstanding Student Director & Choreographer award.  Students Reagan Mulvey and Gracie Fulghum made it to the final call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for "how-to" choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals.

At the 2014 Junior Theater Festival, students from MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts received a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Ensemble Work. In addition, students Madison Sugg, Marina Battenfeld, and Javan Delozier made it to the final call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for "how-to" choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals.

In 2013 MusicWorks! won a Freddie G Outstanding Ensemble Performance award, and three students also earned individual recognition: Ben Sears received a Freddie G Hardest Working Male award, and Reagan Mulvey and Austin Browning each took home a Freddie G Award for Excellent Achievement in the Broadway JR. Slam. (The Broadway JR. Slam is a theatrical challenge in which students who don't know each other must stage and perform a song from a musical in an hour.) In addition, students Julia Turpin, Cameron Robinson, Morgan Meadows, and Benjamin Sears were four of 80 festival attendees who made it to the final call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for "how-to" choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals.

In 2012 MusicWorks! students Benjamin Sears and Brynna Sinyard earned a Freddie G Outstanding Achievement in Student Direction and Choreography.

In 2009 Junior Theater Festival MusicWorks! Studio of Performing Arts had a group of only nine students attend the festival, and students Brynna Sinyard and Whitley Thomas won an Outstanding Choreography award.

Highlights of the Junior Theater Festival include:

Celebrities: While the festival isn’t about creating the stars of tomorrow, many of the stars of today play a role.  Past festival attendees have included Darren Criss (Hedwig and the Angry Inch); Zac Efron; Broadway director Jeff Calhoun; producer Thomas Schumacher; Kara Lindsay, Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Mike Faist, stars of the Tony® award-winning Broadway musical, Newsies; Stephen Schwartz; Tony award winning performer Christian Borle (Smash, Peter and the Starcatcher); Skylar Astin (Spring Awakening, Pitch Perfect); Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen); Benj Pasek & Justin Paul (Dear Evan Hansen); Andy Jones (Cinderella); Tony and Academy award-winning composer Alan Menkin (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin); four-time Tony nominated composer Jeanine Tesori (Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek the Musical); Grammy award-winning musician, producer and songwriter Bryan-Michael Cox; Broadway actors Henry Hodges (Mary Poppins), JennColella (High Fidelity, Urban Cowboy), Jenifer Foote (A Chorus Line, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels), Christy Carlson Romano (Kim Possible, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Avenue Q); American Idol’s musical director Michael Orland and Playbill columnist and Talkin’ Broadway radio host Seth Rudetsky.

Tech track: Students interested in technical theater will train with professionals and a select group of student technicians will be invited to work side-by-side with festival staff in running the tech for main stage festival events.  Each group may also nominate up to four students to take part in the “Tech Olympics,” in which students complete an obstacle course of technical theater activities – ranging from performing a quick change and focusing a light to pre-setting props and taping the floor – within the fastest time.

Professional Educators’ Workshops (for teachers who attend the festival with students): The Junior Theater Festival workshops empower teachers and professionals to present musicals in their community and offer educators the knowledge, skills and tools necessary to grow their program in every possible way.  The workshops focus on different aspects of putting on a show, including the “how to’s” of starting a drama club, choreographing musical numbers and creating great-looking sets and costumes on any budget.  These workshops also serve as a professional exchange for teachers.

New Works Showcase: Selected performance groups will perform selections for all Junior Theater Festival attendees.  Selected performance groups will be among the first in the country to present a new title in their community and receive an in-school residency with iTheatrics’ teaching artists.

Student Workshops: The festival’s workshops and master classes will inspire students to build skills that will have a positive impact on productions for years to come.  Topics included auditions, movement and making the most out of rehearsals.

Choreography Video Casting: iTheatrics Resident Choreographer Steven G. Kennedy will audition students for future Broadway Junior DVD shoots which will take place in the summer in New York City.  These videos will be used in thousands of schools across the country.

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