Oscar-, Grammy-, and Tony-winning Dear Evan Hansen songwriting team Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, Carousel Tony winner Lindsay Mendez, Frozen star Caissie Levy, and Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera producer Sir Cameron Mackintosh, and Disney Theatrical Group President Thomas Schumacher are among the Broadway favorites announced to appear at iTheatrics' 2019 Junior Theater Festivals in Atlanta and Sacramento.
Pasek and Paul will headline a concert at the Atlanta festival (January 18–20), while Lindsay Mendez will be on hand for a concert at Junior Theater Festival West in Sacramento February 8–10.
Other celebrity guests appearing at Junior Theater Festival Atlanta at Cobb Gallery Centre include Oscar-winning Frozen songwriters Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson Lopez, Heathers The Musical and Wicked star Ryan McCarten, Head Over Heels' Taylor Iman Jones, The Crown's Billy Jenkins, and School of Rock's Luca Padovan and Isabella Russo. Mendez and Schumacher will be on hand at Junior Theater Festival West at Sacramento Convention Center.
The brainchild of the world's leading authority on musical theatre for young people, iTheatrics, the Junior Theater Festivals celebrate musical theatre and musical theatre education with a weekend of events and performances that bring Broadway and West End professionals together with educators and young students. Youth theatre companies can bring 15-minute staged selections from titles in musical licensor Music Theatre International's Broadway Junior collection for adjudication, after which students can attend interactive workshops. Students interested in technical theatre can participate in the tech track, which includes the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals backstage for the festival's mainstage events.
A New Works Showcase at both festivals will offer selections from new and updated musicals soon to be available from MTI's Broadway Junior series. The 2019 lineup is slated to include Oliver! JR., Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer JR., and Sister Act JR.
Educators, whether bringing a group of students or attending individually, have access to professional development workshops. Educators travelling with groups have the chance of being selected for the Freddie G Fellowship. Named for MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon, the fellowship is bestowed on eight exceptional educators annually and includes an all-expenses-paid trip to NYC for professional development with Broadway greats and a $5,000 grant for the educator's theatre program.
Playbill will be on hand at JTF in Atlanta to present The Playbill Community Service Award. All groups attending the Junior Theater Festivals are encouraged to submit videos documenting their organization's community service projects. Up to five finalists will be highlighted on Playbill.com, where the public can vote on their favorite beginning January 11. The winning organization will receive a $1,000 grant to support continued charitable efforts along with a free custom Playbill from PLAYBILLder.com, our online program creation tool that allows schools and community organizations to personalize and print an authentic Broadway-quality Playbill for their production or event.
The Atlanta festival, which has been held annually since 2003, will host more than 6,000 attendees from 133 groups in 2019, with 28 states, Australia, China, New Zealand, and the UK all represented. JTF West, now in its third year, expects 2,000 attendees from 44 groups in 2019, representing 15 states and South Korea.
Title sponsors of both festivals are Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill.