Caissie Levy, Nicholas Christopher and More to Participate in 2020 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta
President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher; Caissie Levy (Frozen on Broadway); Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton on Broadway); Jennifer Locke (Hamilton national tour); creator/Executive Producer Tim Federle, Olivia Rodrigo, and Joshua Bassett (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney +); Luca Padovan and Isabella Russo (School of Rock); Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Between The Lines); Rob Rokicki (The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical); and Lotte Wakeham (Roald Dahl's Matilda The Musical) are some of the stars and creatives confirmed for the 2020 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta.
The event, slated for the weekend of January 17-19, 2020, will bring together 7,000 people to create the world's biggest musical theater stage for young people, and will mark the 15th Junior Theater Festival Atlanta.
The announcement was made today by Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group, which produces the festival. The Junior Theater Festival recognizes and empowers the international global movement of young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater worldwide. In February 2020, iTheatrics will also present the Junior Theater Festival West in Sacramento, CA.
"It is estimated that 36 million people attend a performance of a Broadway Junior show annually in the U.S. and Canada. That's three times the number of people who attend a Broadway show each year. Because of this, our Junior Theater Festival students have become the de facto tastemakers for all things musical theater. They embraced songwriters Benj Pasek and Justin Paul five years before Hollywood honored them with an Academy Award, and the songwriting duo introduced Ben Platt to our JTF family a year before Dear Evan Hansen opened on Broadway and won Tony awards for the three JTF alums," says festival founder Timothy Allen McDonald. "Our JTF fans welcomed Zac Efron at one of our first festivals, they lined up for the launch of Tim Federle's first New York Times best-selling book here, and this January they'll greet the creator and executive producer and stars of the Disney + show High School Musical: The Musical: The Series. Rob Rokicki may have opened The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical on Broadway this year, but our audience has been singing songs from the show since he first started performing them at JTF three years ago. If you want to know what's going to be hot in musical theater in the future, ask our JTF kids. All of this is a wonderful bonus to our core objective which is to celebrate young people and their teachers, who make the world a better place one musical at a time," says McDonald.
President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher will offer the festival keynote speech which will feature performances from the Broadway productions of Aladdin and Frozen.
Thomas Schumacher is the author of the book How Does the Show Go On?: An Introduction to the Theatre, now in its third edition. This marks the sixth JTF Atlanta visit for Mr. Schumacher where he will offer the festival keynote speech which will feature performances from the Broadway productions of Aladdin and Frozen. As President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, he oversees the development, creation and execution of Disney's legitimate Stage Entertainment worldwide including Aladdin, Frozen, and The Lion King.
Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton); Jennifer Locke (Hamilton); Tim Federle, Olivia Rodrigo, and Joshua Bassett, (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney +); and Mo Willems and Debbie Wicks La Puma (Elephant and Piggie's We Are In A Play JR.) will perform and talk about how they carved out their own unique paths in the "Pathways to Success" panel.
During the New Works Showcase, student groups will present selections from new musicals soon to be available in Music Theatre International's Broadway Junior® library of titles: Matilda JR. (Inspiration Stage, Sugar Land, TX); Elephant and Piggie's We Are in a Play JR. (Ohlook Performing Arts Center, Grapevine, TX); The Drowsy Chaperone JR. (Plaza Academy, Cleburne, TX); Disney's Newsies JR. (Red Phoenix Theatre Company and Play On Players, Gainesville, GA), and Disney's Moana JR. (BRAVO!, Oak Park, IL).
Participants will present a 15-minute selection from a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudication, take part in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, and gain from professional development.
Caissie Levy (Caroline, or Change; Frozen) will perform the Junior Theater Festival's headlining concert.
Exclusive to organizations performing MTI's 30 and 60-minute Broadway Junior® musicals, the Junior Theater Festivals bring together the best musical theater professionals from Broadway and beyond with the largest live audience of artists and arts supporters. The 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta will unite 129 student theater groups representing 31 states, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K. The 2020 Junior Theater Festival West, now in its fourth year, will include 2,200 attendees from 48 groups representing 17 states, the U.K., South Korea, New Zealand, and Australia. In addition, iTheatrics co-produces Junior Theater Festivals in New Zealand (21 groups and 652 attendees), Australia (22 groups and 1,019 attendees), and Europe (47 groups and 2,000 attendees), and hosts one-day Junior Theater Celebrations throughout the U.S. In 2019, over 16,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.
At JTF Atlanta and JTF West, six (total) exceptional educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country will be selected for the 11th annual "Freddie G Fellowship," in which the teachers will receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City to collaborate with each other and work one-on-one with Broadway greats. Each winning teacher will also receive a $5,000 grant to put toward his or her theater program. The event is underwritten by MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon and Myrna Gershon, Music Theatre International, and iTheatrics, and is a thank-you for all that teachers do to introduce the next generation to Broadway and musical theater.
Past festival attendees have included Ahrens & Flaherty, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Nicholas Christopher, Corey Cott, Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Arielle Jacobs, Kenny Leon, Kara Lindsay, Alan Menken, Pasek & Paul, Ben Platt, Seth Rudetsky, Samsel & Anderson, and Jeanine Tesori.
Photo Credit: Justin Patterson
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