Y Arts has done it again! Twenty-five of our local youth worked together to create a competition piece for this year's Junior Theater Festival and received high honors winning the award for Excellence in Ensemble Work.
This was the tenth year Y Arts has competed at the festival. In years past the team would travel to Atlanta to participate in the weekend of Arts festivities. Due to the pandemic, iTheatrics decided to host the festival in a new online platform, Broadway Unlocked. This gave our kids the opportunity to safely participate from a distance while still practicing their skills, learning from professional mentors, and boosting their confidence in a time when it seems to be needed most. The group considered not participating in the festival but Mirabile felt it was important to support the arts, especially during these times, and that includes giving support to our friends at iTheatrics. Additionally for our young performers, to have the opportunity to participate in JTF and be recognized in their talent goes a long way to maintaining their health and well-being.
The group filmed a 10-minute competition piece of “SHREK Junior.” This piece was rehearsed and performed with masks worn at all times and included only "no-touch choreography." The cast was made up of local youth with Hamilton Pierpan (Shrek) and Trey Tibbetts (Donkey) leading the group to Duloc and beyond! The cast included Abby Amaral, Imij Armstead, Paige Botts, Lindsey Clifford, Phoebe Cook, Ronan Cullina, Maeve Cullina, Allie Ferriera, Emerson Harris, Sarah Harris, Ford Harris, Sophia Mansfield, Scout Martin, Sofia Michaud, Anderson Pierpan, Hamilton Pierpan, Spencer Pottle, Jojo Shea, Finn Sullivan, Trey Tibbetts, Laura Tomasello, Anna Tomasello, Rebecca Tomasello, Jessie Ullo and Kayla Watts.
The group was judged by Steven G. Kennedy (Broadway Junior Resident Choreographer), Cindy Ripley (iTheatrics Lead Educational Consultant), and Krystina Alabado (Broadway's “Mean Girls, the Musical”). The judges were thoroughly impressed with the Y Arts piece, noting that the focus of a strong ensemble makes the group truly shine. Ripley commented that she wanted to use a clip of the piece to help show other educators and directors how successful ensemble work can be done.
“The Junior Theater Festival lets young theatre-makers and their programs experience the massive international and cultural impact of their voices, talent, and perseverance," says Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics, which presents the festival. "We show them that they are actually 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."
“Dear Evan Hansen” and “The Greatest Showman” writing duo Benj Pasek and Justin Paul headlined the virtual 2021 Junior Theater Festival with a streaming concert. The Y Arts Team also enjoyed talk backs and workshops with Kristen Chenoweth, 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”).
Following the Awards Ceremony on Sunday the Y Arts Director, Emily Mirabile, presented individual awards for the Y Arts Performers. Trey Tibbetts, Spencer Pottle and Laura Tomasello were awarded the MVP (Most Valuable Performer) Awards for the 2020/2021 Team. "Laura comes prepared to every rehearsal. She enters the room ready to tackle the task at hand and above all of that, she is a kind performer, striving to create a safe space for her fellow teammates," said Mirabile. " I watch these kids watching out for each other and cheering for each other and for me, that is above all the most important thing about our team experience."
Y Arts would like to extend sincere thanks to the American Legion Post 36 and the Water's Edge Resort for hosting the group, enabling them to participate in the virtual event in a safe space.
Y Arts plan to participate in the festival in 2022. At this time, they are unsure what this festival might look like but virtual or in person, our youth performers do not want to miss it. If you have interest in joining the team please reach out to Emily Mirabile at the Boothbay YMCA.