Musical Theater Students Across the Country to Debut THE BIG ONE-OH! JR. Zoomsical Edition Presented by iTheatrics

By: Apr. 15, 2020
Get Access To Every Broadway Story

Unlock access to every one of the hundreds of articles published daily on BroadwayWorld by logging in with one click.

Existing user? Just click login.

Musical Theater Students Across the Country to Debut THE BIG ONE-OH! JR. Zoomsical Edition Presented by iTheatrics

iTheatrics' founding chairman, Timothy Allen McDonald has announced that iTheatrics, in collaboration with Academy Award-winner Dean Pitchford and Tony Award-winner Doug Besterman, will present The Big One-Oh! JR. Zoomsical Edition, a twenty-minute online adaptation of The Big One-Oh!, on Friday, April 17, at 4 pm EST on the iTheatrics Facebook Page and You Tube Channel. The Zoomsical edition is a twenty-minute version of The Big One-Oh!, a new musical based on the novel by Pitchford and featuring lyrics by Pitchford, music by Besterman, and a libretto by McDonald (Roald Dahl's James and the Giant Peach, Between the Lines).

The adaptation has been done to specifically make the show fit onto a computer screen, performed by actors working remotely. A cast of 16 teen and tween actors (list below), quarantined in their various homes across the U.S., will perform the show, directed by Marty Johnson, iTheatrics' Director of Education.

Last fall, New York City's Atlantic Theater Company produced the world premiere of The Big One-Oh!, and leading theatrical licensor Music Theatre International announced the show had joined its Theatre for Young Audiences (TYA) and Broadway Junior® libraries of titles. The intent is to finalize The Big One-Oh! JR. Zoomsical Edition so that it can be potentially be licensed to educational musical theatre groups across the country.

Friday's presentation is part of new online educational musical theatre series called JTFriday, produced by iTheatrics. Also on Friday, immediately following the debut of The Big One-Oh! JR. Zoomsical Edition, Broadway stars Isabella Russo and Luca Padovan (School of Rock on Broadway) will host a JTFriday post-show party. The performers will interview The Big One-Oh! JR. Zoomsical Edition student cast and will announce the next title to be performed as a Zoomsical.

"This is what iTheatrics does: we work to make sure anyone, anywhere, can produce a successful student musical. And we're taking all the lessons we've learned over the years to bring theater to this new frontier," says McDonald. "Dean and Doug have been absolutely incredible collaborators throughout our rehearsal process. They've taken our suggestions and come back to us with even better suggestions. The real stars here, though, are the students. Our cast of incredible talents, collaborators, and communicators are a true representation of their peers worldwide. Our ultimate goal is to give those who carry the love of musical theatre in their hearts a way to continue to share their art with others," he adds.

Based in New York City, McDonald's company, iTheatrics, works with leading public and private companies around the world-including the Kennedy Center, NBC. and all the leading theatrical licensors-to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theatre programs.

The iTheatrics team has revised the story and structure of The Big One-Oh! to adjust to performing the musical online. The cast has been in rehearsals three days a week since April 1, workshopping solutions to challenges like fitting choreography into each actor's frame on the Zoom screen and performing group musical numbers. Props have proved to be both a welcome challenge and a team-building exercise. Since one character's handing out of birthday invitations is key to moving the story forward, cast members had to create identical invites with materials they had in their homes.

"It is so inspiring to see how sturdy this story is and to see how endearing and enduring these characters are," says Pitchford. "This is not a merely twenty-minute cutdown of the Broadway Junior version of the show. In our Zoomsical version, characters shift around and cover different plot points. Yet they make me laugh and make me love them just the same," he adds.

The Zoomsical cast features 16 students representing 11 states.

  • Emily Adams (Katy, TX), from Inspiration Stage, in the role of Mom
  • Autumn Capes (Monmouth Junction, NJ), from South Brunswick High School, in the role of Dina
  • David Cortez (San Bruno, CA), from Spark of Creation Studio, in the role of Cougar
  • Trinity Evans (Greensboro, NC), from Community Theatre of Greensboro, in the role of Lorena
  • Beckett Fuller (New York City), from PS/MS 278, in the role of Dad
  • Katrina Gedmin (Norman, OK), from Studio Theatre of Oklahoma, in the role of Dana
  • Leo Gonzalez (Oak Park, IL), from BRAVO!, in the role of Zombie King
  • Celeste Javier (San Bruno, CA), from Spark of Creation Studio, in the role of Donna
  • Sadie Jeter (Gibsonia, PA), from Jeter Backyard Theater, in the role of Mrs. Cleveland
  • Cameron Tino (Mars, PA), from Jeter Backyard Theater, in the role of Scottie
  • Ian Kent (Belle Mead, NJ), from Montgomery High School, in the role of Vince
  • Erin Kirby (Mount Pleasant, SC), from Fame Performing Arts, in the role of an Alien William Power (Granbury, TX), from Plaza Theatre Academy, in the role of Darryl
  • Joe Solomon (Fairhope, AL), from Eastern Shore Repertory Theater, in the role of Swampy
  • Hailey Truong (Rancho Murieta, CA), from Musical Mayhem Productions, in the role of Jennifer
  • Matty Ward (Charlottesville, VA), from DMR Adventures, in the role of Charley

Charley Maplewood is about to reach a milestone: he's about to turn the big one-oh! He has never been one for parties-that would require friends, which he doesn't have. Well, unless you count his monster friends, but they're only imaginary. Charley's still adjusting to his parents' divorce and his move to a completely new school. Now that he's turning 10, he decides to throw a birthday party for himself, complete with a "House of Horrors" theme. Of course, things don't work out as he plans. Will Charley be able to pull it together before the big one-oh becomes the big OH-NO!?

"At its heart, this is a story about a kid navigating loneliness; he's moved to a new town following his parents' divorce, and he worries that there will be no one there to celebrate his approaching 10th birthday," says Besterman. "It's incredibly moving to see the creativity and honesty in the way these young artists tell Charley's story from their own sequestered spaces right now. I'm so glad that we can offer this production as a gift to all the kids making the best of their own monumental moments."