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iTheatrics and Educational Theatre Foundation Partner for JTF Secret Santa

The 2021 Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza will feature Brittney Mack, Ryan McCartan, Krystina Alabado, Luca Padovan, Isabella Russo, and Taylor Iman Jones.

iTheatrics and Educational Theatre Foundation Partner for JTF Secret Santa

iTheatrics and the Educational Theatre Foundation have partnered to launch JTF Secret Santa. Now through January 3, 2021, those who love theatre may make a tax-deductible donation to ETF's Jumpstart Theatre to allow a JumpStart-affiliated-student or teacher to attend the 2021 Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza! on the individual track. The Secret Santa donations may be made www.edtf.org/donate. Just designate JumpStart Theatre-gifts are tax-deductible and may be made in honor or in memory of someone. Each $150 sends another student or teacher to the JTF Extravaganza!

The Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza! takes place January 15-17, 2021. The virtual event will gather participants worldwide to sing, dance, act, and learn. The announcement was made today by Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group, which produces the international Junior Theater Festivals.

Brittney Mack (Six the Musical, Broadway), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, Broadway; American Psycho, Broadway); Ryan McCartan (Wicked, Broadway; Frozen, Broadway), Luca Padovan (School of Rock, Broadway), Isabella Russo (School of Rock, Broadway), andTaylor Iman Jones(Head Over Heels) are confirmed to appear as part in the virtual weekend; additional artists will also be announced.

The Secret Santa program will allow a theatre kid or theater teacher who would not otherwise attend to be part of this year's "rousing celebration of theatre" (The New York Times). "A sort of pop-up musical theater megachurch" (Broadway Briefing),the Junior Theater Festivals recognize and empower the international global movement of young people and educators creating student-driven musical theatre worldwide. The 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta this past January united 7,000 students and educators from 128 educational musical theater groups representing 31 states, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

"I can't tell you how many times a Broadway star, a parent, a teacher, a producer has turned to me at the festival and said 'I wish I had this when I was a kid.' Presenting the festival virtually allows students and teachers who may not be able to attend the festival in person the opportunity to join in the celebration. I consider our Jumpstart students and their teachers to be front-line warriors. These are schools that prior to Jumpstart did not have a theatre program and throughout the pandemic they are continuing to make theatre any way they can-it's exhausting, both physically and emotionally. We want to give these warriors something to look forward to in January," he adds.

ETF, in collaboration with iTheatrics and Music Theatre International (MTI), created JumpStart Theatre, a scalable pilot program which builds sustainable musical theatre programs in middle schools where there previously were none. The pilot launched in Cincinnati in 2015, and as of 2019, JumpStart Theatre is being implemented in Cincinnati, OH; San Diego, CA; St. Louis, MO; Atlanta, GA; and Frostburg, MD. A three-year study carried out by the Centers for Research on Creativity (CROC), concluded that JumpStart Theatre draws at-risk students with an interest in creative expression and gives them an opportunity to cultivate and demonstrate creativity that might otherwise go undeveloped.

The 2021 JTF Online Extravaganza! marks the first time in the festival's history that students and adult participants may register as individuals. The deadline for individual registrations is 11:59pm ET on January 4, 20201. (Group registrations are closed.) More information is here: https://juniortheaterfestival.com/. Festival organizers are working with participants who request accommodations.

iTheatrics plans in-person festivals for the 2021 Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF) happening May 7, 8, and 9, 2021 in Sacramento, CA, and the first-ever JTF Texas in Sugarland, TX, June 25, 26, and 27, 2021.

During the 2021 JTF Online Extravaganza! each group will pre-record and submit 10 minutes of a Broadway Junior® or Online Edition musical for adjudication. Groups and individuals will join an adjudication pod to enjoy, support, and learn from each other's performances, and performing groups will receive live feedback on their performance by a talented pool of adjudicators. The festival's "mainstage events" will include the premiere of virtual sneak peek productions of Jason Robert Brown's13JR.andDisney'sThe Descendants, performed remotely by a cast of students from all over the world. There will be a headlining concert, and conversations and performances with professionals from across the theatrical industry highlighting their unique journeys and remarkable accomplishments.

In addition to the mainstage activities, Saturday and Sunday workshops are broken into three tracks for student performers, teachers, and technical theater students. Workshops are taught by Broadway professionals and master teachers from across the country and are uniquely designed for JTF online participants.

All the young people will enjoy an Online JTF Dance Party-Palooza led by student performers, and grown-ups will gather at cocktail-style events with talent, special guests, and representatives.

Finally, the Freddie G Awards Ceremony will celebrate the weekend's achievements with performances of upcoming shows soon to be released for Broadway Junior®, and presenting performance awards, technical awards, teacher awards, and so much more.

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. 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. When the pandemic hit, iTheatrics responded by creating online adaptations of musicals specifically designed to fit onto a computer screen and be performed remotely by actors.

Exclusive to organizations performing MTI's 30 and 60-minute Broadway Junior® musicals and Online Editions, the Junior Theater Festivals bring together the best musical theatre professionals from Broadway and beyond with the largest audience of artists and arts supporters. In addition to its Junior Theater Festivals in the U.S., iTheatrics produces, hosts, and supports one-day Junior Theater Celebrations and Junior Theater Festivals in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In 2020, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.

Past festival attendees have included Ahrens and Flaherty, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Nicholas Christopher, Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Arielle Jacobs, Kenny Leon, Caissie Levy, Kara Lindsay, Lindsay Mendez, Alan Menken, Pasek and Paul, Ben Platt, and Jeanine Tesori.

The Educational Theatre Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Educational Theatre Association, which is the home of the International Thespian Society. ETF provides essential financial support to enhance excellence in theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every child, putting them on a more positive life path. ETF is focused on three areas: creating sustainable musical theatre programs where there previously were none through JumpStart Theatre; awarding need-based grants to schools through the Thespian Relief Fund; and fostering racial equity in school theatre through the Pathway program. In 2018 alone, ETF awarded more than $650,000 in grants, directly impacting high school theatre programs in 50 cities and enabling the development of musical theatre programs in diverse middle schools in six states. For more information, visit https://educationaltheatrefoundation.org/.


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