Cameron Mackintosh, Lindsay Mendez, and More Will Appear At Junior Theater Festivals In Atlanta And Sacramento
Disney Theatrical Productions President & Producer Thomas Schumacher, Frozen songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez & Robert Lopez, Caissie Levy (Frozen on Broadway), legendary Broadway and West End producer (and Chairman of Music Theatre International) Sir Cameron Mackintosh, songwriting team Pasek & Paul, Taylor Iman Jones (Head Over Heels), Ryan McCarten (Heathers The Musical), Billy Jenkins ("The Crown," "Holmes & Watson"), Luca Padovan (School of Rock), and Isabella Russo (School of Rock) are some of the stars confirmed for the 2019 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta (#JTF), happening January 18-20, 2019 at The Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta.
Lindsay Mendez (Carousel, Dogfight) and Thomas Schumacher will appear at 2019 Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF), February 9-11, 2019 at the Sacramento Convention Center in Sacramento, CA.
The announcement was made today by Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics, and the Junior Theater Group, which produces the festivals. A "rousing celebration of theatre" (The New York Times), the Junior Theater Festivals recognize and empower the international global movement of young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater worldwide. Title sponsors of both Junior Theater Festivals are Music Theatre International (MTI), Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc.
"I like to think of musicals as an arts education superfood. When young people present a musical, they experience all the arts - music, language, dance, the visual arts, and the digital arts - in one bite-sized treat." says McDonald. "Putting on a musical is a worthwhile endeavor by itself, but what makes musical theatre unique is the spectacular side effects. Students learn to collaborate, be in the moment (and not on their screens), and develop a sense of community that deepens their empathy for others. These are life skills that just might save the world. Our Junior Theater Festivals are a way for students to share their passion for musical theater with thousands of others. Their passion is contagious, inspiring some of Broadway's most celebrated writers, producers, performers, and technicians year after year. I always leave each festival knowing the future is bright in the hands of these young people," McDonald added.
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 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, which launched in 2003, will unite 6,600 attendees from 133 groups representing 28 states, Australia, China, New Zealand, and the U.K. The 2019 Junior Theater Festival West, now in its third year, will include 2,000 attendees from 44 groups representing 15 states and South Korea. In addition, iTheatrics produces and hosts one-day Junior Theater Celebrations following the festival format in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In 2018, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.
Headlining concerts will be performed by Oscar-, Grammy-, Tony-, and Golden Globe award-winning songwriters Benj Pasek & Justin Paul at JTF ATL and Tony-award winner Lindsay Mendez at JTF West.
During the festivals' New Works Showcase, select groups perform songs from new or updated musicals that will soon be made available as Broadway Junior musicals for licensing by MTI, including:
Oliver JR. presented by British Theatre Academy (London, U.K.) during JTF Atlanta and Wildfish Theatre Company (Houston, TX) during JTF West.
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer JR. presented by University School of Nashville (Nashville, TN) at JTF Atlanta and Bay Area Children's Theatre (Oakland, CA) at JTF West.
Sister Act JR. presented by Community Theatre of Greensboro (Greensboro, NC) and Adelaide Youth Theatre (South Australia) at JTF Atlanta, and Spark of Creation (South San Francisco, CA) at JTF West.
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.
At JTF Atlanta and JTF West, eight (total) exceptional educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country will be selected for the ninth 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 and hosted by MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon and Myrna Gershon and is a thank-you for all that teachers do to introduce the next generation to Broadway and musical theater.
Playbill will present The Playbill Community Service Award. All groups attending the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festivals are encouraged to document their organization's community service projects. Up to five finalists will be highlighted on Playbill.com, where the public will vote on its favorite. The winning organization will receive $1,000 to support continued charitable efforts along with a free custom Playbill from PLAYBILLder.com, an online program creation tool that allows schools and community organizations to personalize and print an authentic Broadway-quality Playbill for their production or event.
There will be a tech track in which students interested in technical theater train with professionals and hone their skills. A select group of these student technicians will be invited to work side-by-side with festival staff in running the tech for main stage festival events, and the festival will award the seventh annual Sharidan Giles Technical Theater Award Scholarship.
Past festival attendees have included Ben Platt, Darren Criss, Megan Hilty, Zac Efron, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Nicholas Christopher, Ariel Jacobs, Ahrens and Flaherty, Pasek and Paul, Kara Lindsay, Alan Menken, Jeanine Tesori, Kenny Leon, and Seth Rudetsky.
Based in New York City, for the last decade iTheatrics has established itself as the world's leading authority on musical theater for young people. The company works with leading public and private companies around the world - including the White House, the Kennedy Center, NBC and all the leading theatrical licensors - to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theater programs.