Students in From The Top Theatrics in Hiram and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy in Acworth were among those who won awards and accolades at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta in January.

The local students joined students from Alpharetta, Marietta, Cumming, Jonesboro and other parts of Georgia at the Cobb Galleria Centre in the Cumberland area of Cobb County, a news release stated.

The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united more than 6,600 students and educators from 133 educational musical theater groups representing 28 states, Australia, China, New Zealand, and the U.K.

From The Top Theatrics won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Music and student Joshua Lewis received a Freddie G Award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Male.

From the Top Theatrics presented “Shrek the Musical JR.” and performed for Kelby McIntyre-Martinez, a choreographer, dancer, and assistant dean of Arts Education and Community Engagement in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah, and Stuart Hendricks, managing director of Music Theatre International Australasia.

McIntyre-Martinez said, “From the Top Theatrics is a powerhouse of talent. This group embodies teamwork, talent, and creativity.

“Their voices were impeccable, Joshua Lewis was amazing as the Donkey, and every student contributed greatly to this wonderful performance. In fact, they all felt like a real family.”

Cornerstone Preparatory Academy presented Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s “Mary Poppins JR.” for Scott Anderson Morris, an Australian dancer and choreographer who has served as assistant dance captain on shows including Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “The Wizard of Oz” and “My Fair Lady” directed by Julie Andrews; and Shay Rodgers, a choreographer who created and managed the Academy at Houston’s Theatre Under the Stars for over a decade and who currently teaches at Wildfish Theatre and Houston High School for Theatre.

Rodgers said of Cornerstone Preparatory Academy, “The joy Cornerstone Preparatory Academy brought to the stage was contagious.

“The entire group was committed to every scene and Grace Chapman as Mary Poppins was the perfect leader.”

The 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta was an event designed to reward and empower student-driven musical theater programs.

Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with educational theater company iTheatrics, the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta is the world’s largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater.

In addition to being judged on performances of selections from shows, participants took part in interactive workshops led by Broadway and British professionals, gained from professional development, watched outstanding performances by fellow students and Broadway stars and enjoyed theatrical fellowship.

From The Top Theatrics’ Samarah Destin earned a call back for future Broadway Junior shoots for “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals. The shoots will be taped in New York City this summer.

The Broadway Junior scouts were on the lookout for outstanding students, 181 of whom made it to the final call back for iTheatrics resident choreographer Steven G. Kennedy. The final cast will be determined later this year. These videos will be used in tens of thousands of schools across the country and internationally.

From The Top Theatrics’ Hermione Bugni and Joshua Lewis, and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy’s Adam Whitney and Grace Chapman, 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 the 6,600 festival attendees.

This year’s title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group and Playbill Inc. The Junior Theater Festival was founded in 2003 and became an annual event in 2010.


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