This time of year is typically the countdown for the Southeast edition of the iTheatrics’ Junior Theatre Festival, the biggest youth theatre conference in the world and held right here in Atlanta. While for obvious reasons it will be online this year, the event nevertheless kicks off tonight and runs through January 17.
With appearances an almost overwhelming number of big stars from across the Broadway and musical theatre landscape, this year’s virtual JTF includes discussion panels, adjudicated student performances from theatre groups around the world, celebrity performances, and workshops in a packed “online extravaganza.”
From the iTheatrics team
“The Junior Theater Festival lets young theatre-makers and their programs experience the massive international and cultural impact of their voices, talent, and perseverance. We show them that they are part of a huge international network of students and artists who care as much about musical theatre as they do. They recognize their own possibilities by connecting to the stories and talents of the artists onstage… or running events backstage. And we bring in theatre’s best and brightest— who all see a little part of themselves in these kids— to celebrate and elevate these young artists through the life-changing potential of the arts.”-Timothy Allen McDonald, iTheatrics founder and CEO.
JTF 2021 in a nutshell
During adjudication, each group will join an adjudication pod to enjoy, support, and learn from each other’s pre-recorded 10-minute performance of a Broadway Junior® or Online Edition musical, and performing groups will receive live feedback on their performance by a talented pool of adjudicators.
“Media Musicals” featuring Kristin Chenoweth (Descendants, Wicked); Tim Federle (showrunner of High School Musical: the Musical: the Series); TikTok sensations Dan Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical concert), Katherine Lynn-Rose (Avatar: The Last Airbender), and Blake Rouse (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical concert). Along with JTF OE Executive Producer Timothy Allen McDonald, they will speak to how they have created their own paths to success.
“History Has Its Eyes On You,” featuring Taylor Iman Jones (Groundhog Day, Broadway), Kikau Alvaro (Big River), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, Broadway), Rozalynn “Roz” Fulton, executive director at Community Theatre of Greensboro, and Jiana J. Odland, iTheatrics educational associate. They will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the theatre.
“Direct From Broadway,” featuring Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, Broadway), Brittney Mack (SIX, Broadway), Toby Marlow & Lucy Moss (SIX co-creators/writers), Isaac Powell (West Side Story, Once On This Island), Ryan McCartan (Wicked, Broadway; Frozen, Broadway), Luca Padovan (School of Rock, Broadway), and Isabella Russo (School of Rock, Broadway). They will talk about their experiences as Broadway performers.
During workshops there will be three tracks for student performers, teachers, and technical theater students. Workshops are taught by Broadway professionals and master teachers from across the country, and are uniquely designed for JTF online participants.
Oscar-, Grammy-, Tony-, and Golden Globe award–winning songwriters Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, La La Land) will perform the headlining concert featuring a guest appearance by Emmy- Grammy- and Tony Award-winner Cynthia Erivo (Harriet, The Color Purple).
For more information and to follow along with the weekend’s excitement, visit JuniorTheaterFestival.com and JTF’s social media sites.
Photo credits: Marcus Woollen for JTF Atlanta