JPAS Competition Team Performs at Disney
The Jefferson Performing Arts Society floored the judges at the National Performing Arts Festival in Orlando over the weekend with their pitch-perfect performance of "Shrek the Musical," winning the Judges' Choice award and earning the chance to perform for the Disney public at large Sunday evening.
With about 80 fans from their home state of Louisiana in attendance, the middle-school stars brought home a trove of awards from Disney World, including Best Choreography, five Outstanding Performance Awards and the Judge's Choice. As a result, they were awarded the chance to perform their number "What's Up Duloc?" for a crowd of thousands on a stage in the Magic Kingdom.
"As I was sitting there watching the other performances, I was thinking "Oh my gosh, these children are even more talented than I thought'," the JPAS director, Lynne Bordelon, said after seeing groups from across the country put on everything from Shakespeare to Disney musicals. "If I were going to lose to anyone, I thought, I'm going to lose to them."
"There is no junior version of 'Shrek,'" she said. "These harmonies are quite complicated. We're asking a lot of them.
"I knew that most of the kids [at the National Performing Arts Festival] were going to be high school aged," Bordelon had said while rehearsing in early February. "But we're going to bring a middle school group and see what happens. I think it's going to be something they can be proud of."
Produced by Brightspark Travel in coordination with Walt Disney World Resort, the NPAF represents a rare opportunity to involve students in a national competition. "There are plenty of competitions out there for students in general, but very few opportunities for theater groups," said Mary Ernst, whose 20 players fro North Forsyth High School in Georgia put on a performance of "The Little Mermaid."