More than 6,000 students and educators gather in Atlanta, Georgia, January 13-15 for the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival. The event, which is the largest of its kind, unites young theatre lovers for a weekend of performances, workshops, and special events with Broadway guest stars.
Among the highlights of JTF 2017 will be the premiere of Disney’s Newsies: The Broadway Musical, a live film of the hit Broadway musical featuring members of the original cast. The event will be moderated by the show’s director, Jeff Calhoun, and Tony-winning choreographer Christopher Gattelli.
Disney Theatrical Group president and producer Thomas Schumacher will deliver the JTF keynote address.
In addition, JTF 2017 will honor Anastasia, Seussical, and Ragtime writers Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty with the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Legacy Award. The songwriting team will also take part in Pathways, a Q&A event in which Broadway talent talks candidly about their experiences and presents excerpts from new shows.
The festival will also host pop-up concerts featuring the works of songwriting team Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (Ever After, Junie B. Jones), songwriter and music director Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief), composer/lyricist Matthew Lee Robinson (Atlantis, Happy People), and Brad Simmons (Camp, Lysistrata Jones), who will launch his new album. Arielle Jacobs (In the Heights, Wicked) and Curt Hansen (Hairspray) will perform.
“Each year, over 36 million people attend a performance of one our educational musical adaptations, cheering on the young people onstage and backstage as the ‘show goes on’ in schools all over the world. That’s three times the number of people who attend a Broadway show each year,” said iTheatrics co-founder Timothy Allen McDonald. “Our iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival is a way to bring this massive, musical theater obsessed community together in celebration. Every member of the Broadway community who joins us at JTF tells me they have seen the future of Broadway, and it is a bright future indeed. It took us twenty years to get to this point, and I am incredibly proud of our achievements. We have introduced millions of young people to the transformative power of musical theater and created millions of new fans for musicals worldwide.”
School of Rock cast member Luca Padovan will serve as the JTF student reporter, live-updating the event via the JTF Facebook Page.
Among the musicals that will be presented during the JTF Atlanta New Works Showcase are Mary Poppins JR.; Junie B. Jones JR; 101 Dalmatians/Jungle Book; and Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon KIDS.
In addition to nurturing student performers, JTF also offers a tech track in which students interested in technical theatre train with professionals. A select group of these student technicians will be invited to work side-by-side with festival staff in running the tech for mainstage festival events. The festival will award the fourth annual Sharidan Giles Technical Theater Award Scholarship to the technical theatre student who most exemplifies commitment, curiosity, collaboration, and creativity in technical theatre.
Playbill will present The Playbill Community Service Award. All groups attending the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival 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 as well as Playbill’s educational resources—including PlaybillEDU.com, a complete guide to undergraduate music, dance, and theatre programs around the country; and PLAYBILLder.com, a DIY program maker allowing schools to personalize an authentic Playbill online.
The Junior Theater Festival is sponsored by iTheatrics, along with Music Theatre International (MTI), Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc.®.
Following JTF Atlanta, iTheatrics and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) will debut the Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF17, #JTFWest) February 10-12, in Sacramento, California.
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