Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Will Headline Junior Theater Festival West

News   Benj Pasek and Justin Paul Will Headline Junior Theater Festival West
The first-ever event will be held February 10-12 in Sacramento, California.
Timothy Allen McDonald, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul
Timothy Allen McDonald, Benj Pasek, and Justin Paul Marcus Woollen

Oscar-nominated songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, currently represented on Broadway with the critically acclaimed new musical Dear Evan Hansen, will headline the first-ever iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival West (JTF West), February 10-12 in Sacramento, California, it was announced by Timothy Allen McDonald, founding chairman of iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group.

Other celebrity guests will include Andrew Keenan-Bolger (Tuck Everlasting, Newsies); songwriting team Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (Dear Edwina, Junie B. Jones); Shoshana Bean (Wicked, Hairspray); Kate Wetherhead (The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Legally Blonde); Ryann Redmond (If/Then, Bring It On The Musical); Luca Padovan (Newsies, School of Rock!); songwriter and music director Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief running Off-Broadway at the Lucille Lortel Theatre this March), composer/lyricist Matthew Lee Robinson (Atlantis, Happy People); Dean McFlicker, dancer, choreographer, and senior vice president and creative director of original production, live events and promotional programming at NBC Entertainment (Hairspray! Live); and composer, music director, orchestrator Deborah Wicks La Puma (Making Paradise: The West Hollywood Musical, Cornerstone Theater Company).

The 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival West is a first-time event and is produced by the Junior Theater Group in collaboration with iTheatrics and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).

Junior Theatre Festival
Junior Theatre Festival Marcus Woollen

Since 2003 iTheatrics has produced the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, the world’s largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theatre. The January 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united more than 6,000 students and educators from 115 educational musical theatre groups representing 28 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, New Zealand, South Korea and Australia. JTF Atlanta and JTF West’s title sponsors are Music Theatre International (MTI), Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc.

JTF West will bring more than 1,000 students, teachers, and Broadway professionals together to celebrate outstanding student theatre productions and the transformative power of theatre. The Junior Theater Group will produce JTF West, iTheatrics will provide educational supervision, and the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) will provide programming exclusively for Junior Thespian troupes.

Shoshana Bean (Broadway’s Wicked, Hairspray) will join Pasek and Paul to perform the songwriting team’s music during the festival’s closing concert.

Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich, Ryann Redman, Matthew Lee Robinson, Rob Rokicki, Luca Padovan, and Deborah Wicks La Puma will be featured during Pathways to Success, a Q&A event in which composers and artists talk candidly about their experiences and present works from new shows.

Producer Tom Rice will preview Speech and Debate, a film about high schoolers who are passionate about theatre, adapted from the play of the same name by Stephen Karam (The Humans).

Kate Wetherhead and Andrew Keenan-Bolger will sign copies of their book Jack & Louisa: Act 3, released by Penguin Random House January 31.

The festival will host pop-up concerts featuring Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich; Rob Rokicki; Luca Padovan, Matthew Lee Robinson, and Deborah Wicks La Puma.

Andrew Keenan-Bolger, Rob Rokicki, and Dean McFlicker will serve as adjudicators.

Events at JTF West:

Exclusive Day of Programming for Junior Thespians – During the day of Friday, February 10, JTF West will offer programming including Junior Individual Events and other Thespian activities exclusively for Troupes of Junior Thespians (middle school students) who are members of the International Thespian Society, operated by EdTA. Students will present a variety of works, such as scenes, monologues, solos, group musical numbers, and technical theatre portfolios.

Launch of JTF West – On Friday evening, February 10, the festival kicks off for all registered groups, including Junior Thespian Troupes, as well as other school and community theatre groups with elementary, middle, and high school performers.

JTF West events on Saturday and Sunday – In the spirit of collaboration, students will present 15 minutes from a musical in Music Theatre International’s Broadway Junior library of titles for adjudication by a panel of leaders in education and theatre. They will receive feedback on their connection to the material, story-telling, movement, music, acting, and ensemble work.

Students and teachers will also take part in professional development and workshops honing skills on and offstage. They will attend a full concert performed by a leading actor or actress, preview new shows, and hear the next generation of composer and artists talk candidly about their experiences.

Most importantly they will have the opportunity to connect with hundreds of fellow educators, students, and working artists who share their passion for theatre.

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About the Educational Theatre Association
The Educational Theatre Association (EdTA), is a national non-profit organization with approximately 100,000 members nationwide. EdTA’s mission is shaping lives through theatre education: honoring student achievement in theatre and enriching their theatre education experience; supporting teachers; and influencing public opinion that theatre education is essential and builds life skills. EdTA operates the International Thespian Society (ITS), an honorary organization that has inducted more than two million students since its founding in 1929.

About the International Thespian Society
The International Thespian Society (ITS) is an honorary organization for high school and middle school theatre students and is in more than 4,200 affiliated schools across America, Canada, and abroad. The mission of ITS is to honor student achievement in the theatre arts and since its founding in 1929, more than two million students have been inducted. ITS is a division of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA).

About iTheatrics
Founded in 2006 by educator and author Timothy Allen McDonald, and headquartered in New York City, iTheatrics is the world’s leading authority on musical theatre for young people.

iTheatrics develops collections of musicals for leading musical theatre licensing agencies including the Getting To Know… Collection® (R&H Theatricals); the Young Performers’ Edition of musicals (Tams-Witmark Music Library); Musicals 101 Collection (Samuel French); and the Broadway Junior Collection® and School Edition musicals (Music Theatre International and Disney Theatrical Group). Working with esteemed partners such as the President’s Committee on Arts and the Humanities, New York City’s Department of Education, The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, McGraw-Hill Education and NBC Universal, iTheatrics develops and implements dynamic programs to build cost-effective and sustainable musical theatre programs in under-served schools. iTheatrics’ annual Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest festival exclusively dedicated to celebrating young people and student-driven musical theater. Find out how you can make the world a better place - one musical at a time - at

About MTI
Music Theatre International (MTI) is one of the world's leading theatrical licensing agencies, granting theatres from around the world the rights to perform the greatest selection of musicals from Broadway and beyond. Founded in 1952 by composer Frank Loesser, and orchestrator Don Walker, MTI is a driving force in advancing musical theatre as a vibrant and engaging art form.

MTI works directly with the composers, lyricists and book writers of these musicals to provide official scripts, musical materials and dynamic theatrical resources to over 70,000 professional, community and school theatres in the US and in over 60 countries worldwide.

MTI is particularly dedicated to educational theatre, and has created special collections to meet the needs of various types of performers and audiences. MTI’s Broadway Junior™ shows are 30- and 60-minute musicals for performance by elementary and middle school-aged performers. During the past twenty years over 5,000,000 students and over 500,000 educators have been involved in at least one of the over 150,000 global productions of a Broadway Junior™ musical.

About Disney Theatrical Group
Disney Theatrical Group (DTG) operates under the direction of Thomas Schumacher and is among the world’s most successful commercial theatre enterprises, bringing live entertainment events to a global annual audience of more than 19 million people in more than 50 countries. Under the Disney Theatrical Productions banner, the group produces and licenses Broadway musicals around the world, including Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Elton John & Tim Rice’s Aida, Tarzan®, Mary Poppins, a co-production with Cameron Mackintosh, The Little Mermaid, Peter and the Starcatcher, Newsies, and Aladdin. Frozen, based on the Academy Award®-winning film, is slated to open on Broadway in 2018. Other successful stage musical ventures have included the Olivier-nominated London hit Shakespeare in Love, stage productions of Disney’s High School Musical, Der Glöckner Von Notre Dame in Berlin, and King David in concert. DTP has collaborated with the country’s leading regional theatres to develop new stage titles including The Jungle Book and The Hunchback of Notre Dame. In addition, DTG licenses musical titles for local, school and community theatre productions through Music Theatre International, including The Lion King Experience, a unique holistic arts education program wherein accredited elementary and middle schools produce condensed, age-appropriate JR. and KIDS adaptations of The Lion King.


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