Atlanta is slowly becoming a haven for theatre and acting. Take a look at how many theatre companies are located in the metro-Atlanta area or the increased participation in the Shuler Hensley Awards (Tony Awards for high schools in Georgia). We could also take a tour of Pinewood Atlanta Studios to see where "Spiderman: Homecoming" or "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" was filmed.

We could just talk about the success of the inaugural year for the Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival (AMTF). There is also the fact that 22 submissions were sent in from all over the world, including Russia, New Zealand and Australia, and narrowed down to three entries for the public to see later this month. If this is not an indication that theatre is on the rise in the capital of the South, I'm not sure what is.

Founder Benjamin Davis co-produced a show that participated in the New York Musical Theatre Festival. AMTF was founded after Benjamin questioned something: why is this something that Atlanta doesn't have? After branding the festival and figuring out the logistics, the announcement was made and a kick starter campaign quickly raised $10,000.

The support of the festival comes from those located in and outside of the perimeter, too. Benjamin revealed that many professional and semi-professional theatre companies and venues have donated time, props, set pieces and all other tangibles to the festival and the participating shows. Some companies even promoted the three-day event in their seasonal programs to promote attendance and creativity within the Atlanta community.

It is this type of support that makes Atlanta a completely different market in comparison to New York or LA. There is a sense of community that encourages artists to take chances and grow. It allows actors to make connections and network without being judged too harshly for being too "green" or not having enough credits. With character archetypes galore, there are certain expectations for performers of all kinds. Atlanta rejects those expectations and just lets the artist be themselves.

But, ultimately, the best part of the festival is emerging playwrights, lyricists, musicians and the art they create. With both new and established writers submitting entries to the festival, there is an opportunity for new work and new talent to be discovered. For example, last year's "What's Past" has had separate readings at Actor's Express and Serenbe Playhouse.

With success like that, Broadway World is proud to announce articles about all three of the shows performing at the festival. This month we will take you on a "Cakewalk" with book and lyrics by Beverly Trader Austin, music by Bryan Mercer. We will sail "In The Middle Of The Ocean" with book, music and lyrics by Chris Alzono. Lastly, we are heading to church with "Mother of God" with book and lyrics by Christian Albright, and music by Christian Magby.

The Atlanta Musical Theatre Festival will be held at Out Front Theatre. "In The Middle of the Ocean" will perform on July 30 at 8 p.m. "Cakewalk" will perform on July 31 at 8 p.m. "Mother of God" will perform on August 1 at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for all three shows online. Tickets are only $15.

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From This Author Justin Cole Adams

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