Y-Arts students win national award at 2020 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 8:15am

    Students from Boothbay Region YMCA Y-Arts won a national Freddie G Excellence in Ensemble Work award and earned other recognition at the 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, which happened Jan. 17-19 at The Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta. The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united 7,000 students and educators from 128 educational musical theater groups representing 31 states, as well as Australia, New Zealand, and the U.K.

    The Y-Arts students presented selections from Schoolhouse Rock Live! JR. during adjudication for choreographer Shay Rodgers, who created and managed the Academy at Houston's Theatre Under the Stars for over a decade, and Julia Magnasco, education director at First Stage and an adjunct staff member at the UW-Milwaukee.

    Said Magnasco, "The Boothbay Region YMCA cast maintained amazing energy throughout their entire piece. They did a great job embracing the delightfully fun mood and tone of this story - I felt like I was watching the old cartoon specials! These young actors showed us incredible commitment. I was fully captivated the entire time they were performing."

    Y-Arts’ Harrison Pierpan and Emerson Harris were named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, made up of outstanding performers attending the festival. The All-Stars performed a song during the closing ceremony for all 6,600 festival attendees.

    Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with iTheatrics, a leading educational theater company that creates innovative experiences and products for the public and private sector, the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta is the world’s largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater. This year’s title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc®. The year marks the 15th Junior Theater Festival Atlanta. The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta was founded in 2003. In 2010 the festival became an annual event.

    Y-Arts’ success at JTF

    Boothbay Region YMCA has enjoyed tremendous success at the Junior Theater Festival in the past.

    At the 2018 JTF Atlanta, Y-Arts students Rick Hilscher and Jackie McLoon won a Freddie G award for Outstanding Student Direction and Choreography. At the 2017 Junior Theater Festival, Y-Arts won a Freddie G Award for Outstanding Ensemble and students Jackie McLoon, Rick Hilcscher and Noelle Timberlake won a Freddie G Group Award for Outstanding Student Director and Choreographer. In addition, students Emerson Harris and Kayleigh Tolley made it to the call-back for future shoots for “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be released musicals.

    In 2016 students from Boothbay Region Y-Arts won a Freddie G Excellence in Acting award and student Genevieve Taylor received a Freddie G Outstanding Student Director and Choreographer award.

    In 2012 the students won a Freddie G Outstanding Achievement in Acting Group Award.

    In 2011 Junior Theater Festival, students from Boothbay Region YMCA earned a Freddie G Outstanding Production award and performed at the closing ceremonies for all attendees.

    In 2010 Junior Theater Festival, Boothbay Region YMCA group again won a Freddie G Outstanding Production award, the students were also selected to be one of four educational theater groups from across the country to perform in the DisneyMusicals.com New Works Showcase, presenting Disney's Aladdin KIDS. Four Boothbay students – Nate Friant, Kate Friant, Rick Hilscher and Sophia Thayer – were cast in the national choreography videos for Fame JR.! Boothbay Region YMCA attended the Junior Theater Festival for the first time in January 2009 and earned two major awards: an Outstanding Production award and also an Outstanding Individual: Male award for student Roosevelt Bishop.

    About the 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta

    The 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta is a monumental weekend of theatrical fellowship rewarding and empowering student-driven musical theater programs. President & Producer of Disney Theatrical Productions Thomas Schumacher; Caissie Levy (Frozen on Broadway); Andrew Pirozzi (Frozen on Broadway); Rob McClure (Mrs. Doubtfire on Broadway); Michael James Scott (Aladdin on Broadway); McKenzie Kurtz (Footloose at The Muny); Ryan McCartan (Wicked on Broadway); Jason Gotay (Bring It On on Broadway); Nicholas Christopher (Hamilton on Broadway); Jennifer Locke (Hamilton national tour); High School Musical: The Musical: The Series on Disney + creator/Executive Producer Tim Federle, and show stars Olivia Rodrigo, and Joshua Bassett; Luca Padovan and Isabella Russo (School of Rock); Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Between The Lines); Rob Rokicki (The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical); and Lotte Wakeham (Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical) were some of the celebrities at the festival cheering on the students.

    In addition to presenting selections from shows for adjudication, participants took part in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gained from professional development, watched outstanding performances by fellow students and Broadway stars and enjoyed theatrical fellowship. 

    Caissie Levy (Frozen on Broadway) performed the festival’s headlining concert.

    Disney Theatrical Productions President & Producer Thomas Schumacher offered the festival keynote in collaboration with Andrew Pirozzi, Michael James Scott, McKenzie Kurtz, and Ryan McCartan.

    During the festivals’ New Works Showcase, select groups performed songs from new or updated musicals: Roald Dahl’s Matilda JR. (Inspiration Stage, Sugar Land, TX); Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! JR. (Ohlook Performing Arts Center, Grapevine, TX); The Drowsy Chaperone JR. (Plaza Academy, Cleburne, TX); Disney’s Newsies JR. (Red Phoenix Theatre Company and Play On Players, Gainesville, GA), and Disney’s Moana JR. (BRAVO!, Oak Park, IL). These titles will soon be made available as Broadway Junior musicals for licensing by MTI.

    Based in New York City, for the last decade iTheatrics has established itself as the world’s leading authority on musical theater for young people. The company works with leading public and private companies around the world — including the White House, the Kennedy Center, NBC and all the leading theatrical licensors — to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theater programs.