Alright, young theater geeks — imagine working closely for a week with Broadway professionals to create a choreography DVD that will be seen and possibly performed by thousands of theater troops around the world. That’s exactly what several talented theater students have been doing in New York City at the 52nd Street Project. These performers were selected from over 1500 theater students at the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta and Junior Theater Festival West to participate in the choreo DVD tapings. These DVDs are included in kits sent to children’s theater directors to help them with choreography ideas. This is especially beneficial to troops who can’t afford to hire a professional choreographer.
Speakeysie followed 2 students, Jonathan Marciniak and Alec Wilson of Play on Players Children’s Theatre (Gainesville, Georgia), as they took an incredible journey from Georgia to NYC to be a part of iTheatrics‘ choreo DVD work for Samuel French, Inc.’s Chicago (High School Edition) & Tams-Witmark’s Nice Work If You Can Get It – Young Performers’ Edition.
This is a whirlwind process. The young performers only had 4 days to learn the 5 numbers they showcased for parents on Tuesday, June 26th, and then had another 5 to learn before taping on Thursday and Friday, June 27th and 28th.
We were extremely impressed with the work these kids did over such a short period of time. In addition to Alec and Jonathan, we also talked with two other performers, Alina Jenning and David Midkiff of Plaza Theatre Academy (Cleburne, Texas). David played the part of Billy Flynn and Alina played Roxie Hart in Chicago. They worked together flawlessly in the number “Both Reached for the Gun”, where Billy is manipulating Roxie as if she is a ventriloquist’s dummy.
Alina said the part was quite challenging, “It took me awhile because I’m not singing the words, it’s Billy that’s singing the whole time. I have to mouth it perfectly so it will seem like the words are coming out of my mouth.” In addition to Plaza Academy, Alina attends school at the Fort Worth Academy of Fine Arts.
David didn’t know the part of Billy Flynn or all the intricate lyrics he would need to learn before they began rehearsals. David participated in choreo DVD work in 2017 and returned this year to work on Footloose and Sister Act Junior. He was asked on Friday to join the cast of Chicago and Nice Work if You Can Get It. This super talented young man picked up the role and delivered it with expert execution. David is homeschooled and attends Plaza Theatre Academy for his theater training.
Jonathan played the part of the speakeasy manager in Nice Work if You Can Get It. He really enjoyed the process, had fun working with an ensemble, made new friends, and learned new skills. Jonathan attended Artios Academy in Sugar Hill, GA and was nominated best actor for a Shuler Hensley Georgia High School Musical Theatre Award for his work as Quasimodo in Hunchback of Notre Dame.
Alec was thrilled to be in the ensemble as this was his first year attending Junior Theater Festival. He said, “My favorite part of the experience is the number ‘Lady Be Good’ because it’s so upbeat. My rule of thumb is, if it’s hard, it’s so much more fun.” He enjoyed the challenge and had a wonderful time. Alec attends North Hall High School where he’s a member of the Hollow Horse Players troop 6025.
If you’re interested in making your dream come true, troops in your area are currently auditioning to take a 15 minute cut of a show to Junior Theater Festival Atlanta (January 18-20, 2019) or Junior Theater Festival West (February 8-10, 2019). You may just be the next star of a choreo DVD for 2019.
–Jody Key — firstname.lastname@example.org — 470-330-1499
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