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Murfreesboro Drama Students to Attend 2016 Junior Theater Festival

Bradley Academy Musical Theatre from Murfreesboro and Roy Waldron Elementary Drama from LaVergne have been accepted into the national 2016 Junior Theater Festival (#JTF16) taking place Jan. 15–17 in Atlanta.

Furthermore, both of the groups, along with University School of Nashville, have been selected to perform selections from Disney’s Peter Pan Jr. for all 5,000 festival attendees at the New Works Showcase, which previews new musicals available for licensing.

Created by New York’s iTheatrics and produced by the Junior Theater group, the Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest musical theater festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater. Featuring 115 groups representing 28 states, the District of Columbia, South Korea and Australia, t he 2016 festival will bring together more than 5,000 students, teachers, and Broadway professionals to raise their voices in celebration of onstage and backstage excellence in musical theater.

Each group attending the Junior Theater Festival performs a 15-minute segment of a musical for a panel of distinguished theater professionals. The 29 students representing Bradley Academy Musical Theatre will present an interpretation of Disney’s The Lion King Jr. for adjudication; the cast of 39 students from Roy Waldron Elementary Drama will perform Disney’s Cinderella Kids.

The 2016 Junior Theater Festival offers an enthusiastic environment for students and teachers to interact with thousands of others who share their passion for musical theater. In addition to presenting a 15-minute segment from their respective musicals, both students and teachers participate in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gain from professional development, enjoy theatrical fellowship and take part in performances by professionals. In true Junior Theater Festival form, student techies work side-by-side with festival staff in running all aspects of the festival experience.

The first Junior Theater Festival was held in January of 2003. Starting in 2010, the festival became an annual event.

At the 2015 Junior Theater Festival, Bradley Academy Musical Theatre student Kamyah Collins earned a Freddie G Excellent Individual Performance by a Female; Bradley Academy Musical Theatre student Uriel Vazquez received the Freddie G Inspiration Award, given to a student who touched the hearts of the adjudicators in a special way; Roy Waldron Drama student Jorge Rivero received a Freddie G Award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Male.

Additionally at the 2015 festival, Bradley Academy Musical Theatre’s Allison Isom was one of seven teachers selected for the Freddie G Fellowship, which awarded teachers an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City this past summer to collaborate with each other and work one on one with Broadway greats. The event is sponsored by MTI’s Freddie (“G”) Gershon and his wife, Myrna Gershon, and is a thank-you for all that teachers do to introduce the next generation to Broadway and musical theater.

At the 2013 festival, Roy Waldron Drama won the Junior Theater Festival’s top award: the Freddie G Broadway Junior Spirit Award, given annually to the group that most embodies the spirit of educational musical theater. Since Roy Waldron Elementary won the award, Joanne O’Kain, director of drama at Roy Waldron Elementary, was invited to the “The Freddie G Broadway Experience.”

This year, the students traveling on behalf of Bradley Academy Musical Theatre are: Jazymone Barrow, Makamae Bautista, Wodi Bird, Cindy Chavez, Jerome Cheers, James Dunston, Olivia Eubanks, Gabriella French-Hawk, Sandra Garcia, Jada Gatewood, Maggie Gooch, Ilana Gunther, Isabel Gunther, Nevaeh Keith, Zakiyah Lamb, Dina Martinez, Jorie Miller, Markayla Parham, Ethan Parker, Kayla Ramsey, Olivia Rapier, Soma Rudgley, Kylie Spence, Seth Szwec, Persephone Thomas, Kendric Trice and Maria Warrick

And with Roy Waldron Elementary Drama: Cameron Balbalosa, Ryan Balbalosa, Dayanna Bradley, Skylar Bullington, Josie Bullock, Piper Burgess, Makieya Bush, Bricey Caudill, Andre Cotton, Jada Donkin, Isabella Fortesque, Kelinna Freeman, Lee’yia Grays, Devon Greenwood, Gwyneth Herod, Adajha Jackson, Natalia Jobe, Zaniyah Lancaster, Alexia Malave, James Malone, Samantha Marquez, Reagan Mattingly, Amari McKinnie, Dylan McQuiston, Caraline Miles, Layla Montgomery, Kira Norton, Nathalie Orellana, Joseph Pendergrast, Carley Perry, Jennifer Remy, Jeremy Sarkodie, Sydne Snelling, Uriel Solis, Claire Surles, Cullen Surles, Angel Tapia and Ireland Trotter.

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The Murfreesboro Pulse, Middle Tennessee's Source for Art, Entertainment and Culture News. murfreesboropulse@yahoo.com

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