The Junior Theater Festival, which will be held in Atlanta, GA, Jan. 17-19, gathers theatre lovers from around the country to take part in the three-day event that celebrates musical theatre and the numerous Broadway Junior and Kids Collection titles available for school-age performers. JTF brings 4,500 students and teachers representing 93 groups from 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Founded in 2003, the Junior Theater Festival is the largest of its kind in the world and attracts students and instructors from across the U.S. who gather to participate in workshops and lectures, as well as perform highlights from their respective productions.
As previously reported, Playbill.com will be reporting live from JTF.
In addition to Pasek and Paul, Blickenstaff ( The Little Mermaid), Brown ( Mary Poppins) and Keenan-Bolger ( Newsies), the weekend will feature Andy Jones ( Cinderella), Merle Dandridge ( Tarzan, Aida), Josh Strickland ( Tarzan), Alton Fitzgerald White ( The Lion King), Jenifer Foote ( Follies), Henry Hodges ( Beauty and the Beast), Carrie Manolakos ( Mamma Mia!), Jacob Brent ( Cats), as well as cast members from Pasek and Paul's James and the Giant Peach, including Mike Spee, Julie Briskman, Richard Gray, Diana Huey, Kendra Kassebaum, Greg McCormick Allen, Jayne Muirhead and Heath Saunders.
Pasek and Paul will offer a discussion and concert featuring a performance with the cast of James and the Giant Peach; while JTF will also present Broadway and Beyond: An Evening with the Stars of Disney on Broadway!, featuring Blickenstaff, Brown, Dandridge, Strickland and White singing songs from the Disney Broadway catalogue. The live stream schedule follows:
Disney Musicals New Works Showcase
Jan. 18, 8 PM EST
"Exciting performances from participating groups highlight brand new titles for The MTI Broadway Junior Collection:
· Uptown Music Theater (New Orleans, LA) - 101 Dalmatians Kids
· Harris County Carver ( Hamilton, GA) – Shrek Jr.
· Gwendolyn Brooks Middle (Oak Park, IL) – Legally Blonde Jr.
· Roy Waldron Elementary (LaVergne, TN) Magic Tree House: The Knight At Dawn Kids
· Broadway at the Rose (Omaha, NE) – Mary Poppins"
Pathways To Success
Jan. 19, 9:15 AM EST
"Andy Jones (Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella) and tap dancer Evan Ruggiero ('American Idol,' 'The Ellen Show') discuss their journey from students interested in careers in theatre to professional performers."
Pasek and Paul Performance
Jan. 19, 2:00 PM EST
"The Tony-nominated composing duo, Benj Pasek and Justin Paul ( Edges, A Christmas Story, Dogfight, James and the Giant Peach, "Smash") perform songs from their catalogue, and discuss their journey from college roommates to a hit songwriting team."
"We are delighted to be sharing the festival with everyone who has access to log on to the live video streams," MTI CEO Freddie Gershon said in a statement. "I find it particularly refreshing and rewarding that the festival grows and reaches more people every year."
Gershon conceived the junior musical in 1994 with nearly 300,000 performances since its inception. Beginning in 2010, the festival has paid tribute to his leadership and dedication by renaming its student awards for excellence in theatre "The Freddie G's." He received a Tony Honor for Excellence in 2012.
To view segments online, go to mtishowspace.com/jtf2014 to view the live feed.