Dear Evan Hansen and The Greatest Showman writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul will headline the virtual 2021 Junior Theater Festival with a streaming concert. The weekend-long festival celebrating all things youth theatre is set for January 15–17, with registration open to individuals through January 4 at JuniorTheaterFestival.com.
Also on hand to make appearances at the 2021 festival will be Isaac Powell (West Side Story, Once On This Island), Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief), Tim Federle (High School Musical: The Musical: The Series), Brion Watson (Hamilton), Jennifer Locke (Hamilton), Jodi Picoult (Between the Lines), Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Between the Lines), Dan Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical), Blake Rouse (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical), Katherine Lynn-Rose (Avatar: The Last Airbender), and Nina Meehan (Bay Area Children's Theatre).
They join a previously announced roster of guests that include Brittney Mack (Six), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls), Ryan McCartan (Wicked, Frozen), Luca Padovan (School of Rock), Isabella Russo (School of Rock), and Taylor Iman Jones (Head Over Heels). Additional guests will be announced in the coming days.
Watch Brittney Mack's message to 2021 JTF attendees:
Playbill will be on hand to host the second annual JTF Theatre Trivia Showdown, with two student representatives from each attending group selected to participate and the entire festival invited to watch and play along on social media.
iTheatrics, the world's leading authority on musical theatre for young people and the force behind the Junior Theater Festival, has partnered with the Educational Theater Foundation to let "Secret Santas" send kids to this year's festival, which has shifted online for the first time in response to the current health crisis. Through January 3, each donation of $150 made to ETF's Jumpstart Theatre campaign will send one student or teacher to the JTF extravaganza at no charge to them. If you'd like to participate, you can donate at EDTF.org, designating JumpStart Theatre.
Created for organizations performing Music Theatre International's 30- and 60-minute Broadway Junior musicals and Online Editions, Junior Theater Festivals bring students and teachers together with Broadway professionals for a weekend of performances and workshops. Past 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, Ben Platt, and Jeanine Tesori.
Though the January festival has moved online due to health restrictions, in-person festivals are currently planned for Sacramento, California, in May and Sugarland, Texas, in June. Festival sponsors for JTF include Playbill, Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Productions, and iHeartRadio Broadway.