Students from several Cobb County groups won national awards and earned recognition at the 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, which took place Jan. 17-19 at the Cobb Galleria Centre.
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.
Marietta Middle School, From the Top Theatrics and the Marietta Sixth Grade Academy, all of Marietta, won a Freddie G Excellence in Dance award.
Act3 Arts Academy of Marietta won a Freddie G Excellence in Dance award and Riley Taylor won a Freddie G Outstanding Student Direction & Choreography award.
Marietta Middle School students presented selections from “Once on this Island JR.” for Francine Espiritu, associate choreographer for the First National Tour of “The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical;” and Ernie Nolan, executive artistic director of the Nashville Children’s Theatre.
Students from St. Joseph Catholic School in Marietta presented selections from Disney’s “Aladdin JR.” and Marietta Sixth Grade Academy presented selections from “Annie JR.” for Mindy Loughhead Ganz, theatre, arts and vocal music teacher at the McAuliffe International School; and Mary-Catherine Chambliss, program director of Manhattan Youth at The Anderson School in New York City and assistant choreographer for instructional choreography DVDs with MTI.
From the Top Theatrics presented selections from Disney’s “Frozen JR.” and Pride Productions of Marietta presented selections from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid JR.” for director, choreographer, producer and dancer Jeff Calhoun (Newsies on Broadway); and Nina Meehan, founder and executive artistic director of the Bay Area Children’s Theatre.
British Academy of Performing Arts (BAPA) in Marietta presented selections from “Seussical JR.” and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy of Acworth presented selections from “Madagascar, A Musical Adventure JR.” for Paul Brewster McGinley, managing director for Trusty Sidekick Theater Company and a Disney Theatrical Group teaching artist; and Carol Worcel, director, choreographer and performer (National Broadway Tour of 42nd Street).
Act3 Arts Academy presented selections from “Godspell JR.” for Rob Rokicki, composer (The Lightning Thief The Percy Jackson Musical); and Amanda Flynn, performer (Wicked LA Company), vocal coach and owner of the Amanda Flynn Voice Studio.
Marietta Middle School’s Destyn Hines, Brooke Kelly, Amber Ryan, and Elijah Johnson; Pride Productions’ Palyce Berrian, Ruby Calamia, Meghan Gray, Caitlyn Primous, Dargan Cole, and Arjaye Johnson; and From the Top Theatrics’ Annelyssa Destin and Samarah Destin all made it to the 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, 150 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.
Marietta Middle School’s Grant Martin and Elijah Johnson; St. Joseph Catholic School’s Ana Alessandrini and Rita Starks; Pride Productions’ Arjaye Johnson and Ruby Calamia; British Academy of Performing Arts’ Grace Young and Jayla Lopez; From the Top Theatrics’ Michael Motsek and Hannah Nothdurft; Act3 Arts Academy’s Matt Alea and Jackie Taylor; Marietta Sixth Grade Academy’s Charlotte Common and Danika Kern; and Cornerstone Preparatory Academy’s Adam Whitney and Symone Gaskin were all 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.