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Jenn Colella, Laura Benanti, Pasek and Paul, and More Join Virtual International Thespian Festival

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The roster has expanded for the Virtual International Thespian Festival, which is now set to include Pasek and Paul, Laura Benanti, Jenn Colella, Megan Hilty, and more!

Tony, Oscar, and Grammy winners Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will chat with students participating in the Virtual International Thespian Festival (ITF) about their path to success, from Dogfight to James and the Giant Peach to the enormously popular Dear Evan Hansen. The dialogue will be moderated by Timothy Allen McDonald, Founder and CEO of iTheatrics.

SiriusXM On Broadway's Seth Rudetsky and his husband and producer James Wesley will host the debut of the International Thespian Excellence Awards live showcase on the June 26 evening episode of Stars in the House at The awards program, also known as the ThespysTM, honors the year's best high school students in performance and technical theatre.

"The International Thespian Festival has been the pinnacle of high school theatre since 1941, bringing together students, teachers, artists, colleges, and the industry in a communal experience," noted Julie Cohen Theobald, Executive Director of the Education Theatre Association, which is producing Virtual ITF. "Now we are making that happen in a virtual environment. While you can certainly find some Great Performances and workshops online, no one else is pulling together a cohesive five-day program especially for the tens of thousands of teen theatre students in the U.S. and around the world."

The special guest list is being continually updated and now includes:

  • The Lion King's Alton Fitzgerald White will give the keynote address for the student leadership training;
  • Miss Peppermint of RuPaul's Drag Race will perform and address the students;
  • Come From Away's Jenn Colella and My Fair Lady's Laura Benanti will inspire students at all-festival special events;
  • Megan Hilty of the musical-drama series Smash will host the student Q&A with Stephen Schwartz;
  • And as previously announced, Mean Girls writer Tina Fey will have a Q&A with students.

Virtual ITF is open to all Thespians (members of the International Thespian Society, the Honor Society for middle and high school theatre students) and theatre students from around the world; their teachers, parents, and families; and colleges, industry leaders, and artists. Registration is open now.

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