NC And SC Students & Teachers Bring Arts Education Center Stage 4/30-5/1

Nearly 650 students and teachers representing 33 elementary and middle schools from North and South Carolina will participate in the first ever two-day Broadway Junior Theater Celebration, Friday and Saturday (April 30 - May 1) in the Knight Theater at the Levine Center for the Arts and in the McGlohon Theatre at Spirit Square. Students will participate in interactive workshops, perform musical numbers in front of a panel of theater professionals and teachers will receive education on directing full musicals all during this two-day celebration. 

Created and directed by iTheatrics, a premier creative consultant in educational musical theater based in New York City, in association with the North Carolina Blumenthal Performing Arts Center's Education Department, the celebration brings together people from all aspects of theater - ranging from North Carolina students and teachers to professionals who work on Broadway - under one roof to celebrate outstanding student musical Theater Productions and offers an enthusiastic, educational environment for students and teachers to interact with hundreds of others who share their passion for musical theater.

"The energy and enthusiasm among participating students and teachers for the upcoming Broadway Junior Celebration is contagious. What a tremendous opportunity for kids-to participate in a workshop led by Broadway professionals, to perform on the stage of the beautiful Knight Theater, and then to be encouraged and positively critiqued by the very team that created the musical adaptations they performed," said Director of Education Ralph Beck.

On Friday, students from each school group will present a selection from their Broadway Junior musical production for a distinguished panel of theater professionals and will receive valuable feedback about their creativity, engagement in the performance, understanding of the material and connection to the lyrics and movement. Some of the titles being performed include Annie Jr., The Jungle Book Kids, Cinderella Kids and Beauty and the Beast to name a few. In addition, the groups will participate in dynamic, interactive workshops for students.

On Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in Spirit Square, teachers representing 26 schools in North and South Carolina will take part in a Junior Teaching Intensives which takes them step-by-(dance) step through the process of directing a full musical in their schools. The day promises to be a full immersion, hands-on experience addressing all elements of musical theater production: from casting, staging and choreography, to rehearsal techniques and the technical aspects of theater. The exercises are guaranteed to engage and revive a teacher's creative spirit and give educators the tools to build strong support systems for their own musical Theater Productions. Directors learn how to engage more and more students in the planning, rehearsal, and performance of a musical, and see how they can better involve the whole school and surrounding community in their shows. The series also offers teachers a safe atmosphere to candidly discuss their own obstacles and solutions with each other and the iTheatrics staff. This support network lasts long after the conclusion of the workshop. The iTheatrics Junior Teaching Intensives have been created in association with The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, are sanctioned by the New York City Department of Education and have been presented at top performing arts centers all over the country.

Ralph Beck said, "The first two years of this regional event have been terrific for everyone involved. This year, with significantly more student participation, an improved format and greater attention to every detail by the Center's Education Department, we anticipate the best total experience yet."

iTheatrics Teaching Artists include:

Tim McDonald - Tim is a respected playwright (Roald Dahl's Will Wonka, The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley) and leader in education. He started iTheatrics to help communities create more ways for students to experience the transformative power of the arts.

Steven G. Kennedy - Steven is Broadway Junior's resident choreographer and serves as a workshop leader for all of iTheatrics' professional development programs. He recently choreographed three national tours including the hit production of The Musical Adventures of Flat Stanley.

Marty Johnson - Marty is an experienced director, teacher and playwright in the field of Theater for Young Audiences and supervises all of iTheatrics' creative endeavors including their professional development series for teachers and student classes and workshops.

Cindy Ripley - Cindy taught for 33 years as a vocal educator and music department chair of the Gowanda, NY, Central School District where she produced and directed over 60 productions. She wrote the original MTI Annie Junior Teachers Production Guide.


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