Kristen Chenoweth, Cynthia Erivo, Toby Marlow, and Lucy Moss Join 2021 Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza!

Speakeysie News Desk — January 10, 2021

Cynthia Erivo performing at JTF Atlanta 2019
Photo: Marcus Woollen for JTF Atlanta

NEW YORK —Cynthia Erivo (HarrietThe Color Purple, Broadway), Kristen Chenoweth (Descendants; Wicked, Broadway), and Toby Marlow Lucy Moss (SIX co-creators) have joined the talent appearing at the 2021 Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza! (JTF OE). The announcement was made today by Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group, which produces the Junior Theater Festivals. The Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza! takes place January 15-17, 2021. Sponsors are Music Theatre International (MTI), Disney Theatrical Productions, Playbill, Inc.®, and iHeartRadio Broadway.

The 2021 JTF Online Extravaganza! marks the first time in the festival’s history that students and adult participants may register as individuals. The deadline for individual registrations is 11:59pm ET on January 4, 2021. (Group registrations are closed.) More information is here:

The Junior Theater Festivals recognize and empower the international global movement of young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater worldwide.

“The Junior Theater Festival lets young theatre-makers and their programs experience the massive international and cultural impact of their voices, talent, and perseverance. We show them that they are 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,” says McDonald.

Timothy Allen McDonald, Benj Pasek, Cynthia Erivo, Justin Paul at JTF Atlanta 2019
Photo: James Barker Photography

JTF OE includes the following events:

Oscar-, Grammy-, Tony-, and Golden Globe award–winning songwriters Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan HansenLa La Land) will perform the headlining concert featuring a guest appearance by Cynthia Erivo.

For the “Media Musicals” panel, Kristen Chenoweth (DescendantsWicked); Tim Federle (showrunner of High School Musical: the Musical: the Series); TikTok sensations Dan Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical concert), Katherine Lynn-Rose (Avatar: The Last Airbender), and Blake Rouse (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical concert), will join JTF OE Executive Producer Timothy Allen McDonald to speak to how they have created their own paths to success. 

During the History Has Its Eyes On You” panel, Taylor Iman Jones (Groundhog Day, Broadway), Kikau Alvaro (Big River), Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, Broadway), Rozalynn “Roz” Fulton, executive director at Community Theatre of Greensboro, and Jiana J. Odland, iTheatrics educational associate, will discuss diversity, equity, and inclusion in the theatre.

In “Direct From Broadway” Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls, Broadway), Brittney Mack (SIX, Broadway), Toby Marlow Lucy Moss (SIX co-creators/writers), Isaac Powell (West Side Story, Once On This Island), Ryan McCartan (Wicked, Broadway; Frozen, Broadway), Luca Padovan (School of Rock, Broadway), and Isabella Russo (School of Rock, Broadway) will talk about their experiences as Broadway performers.

In the “Friday Night Welcome” two casts of student performers from around the world will offer special presentations of Disney’s The Descendants and 13 JR.

During adjudication, each group will join an adjudication pod to enjoy, support, and learn from each other’s pre-recorded 10-minute performance of a Broadway Junior® or Online Edition musical, and performing groups will receive live feedback on their performance by a talented pool of adjudicators.

During workshops there will be three tracks for student performers, teachers, and technical theater students. Workshops are taught by Broadway professionals and master teachers from across the country, and are uniquely designed for JTF online participants.

Finally, the Freddie G Awards Ceremony will celebrate the weekend’s achievements with performances of upcoming shows soon to be released for Broadway Junior® by The British Theatre Academy (London); The Lighthouse Theater Company (Albertville, AL); The PACT Company (Mobile, AL); Spark of Creation Studios (South San Francisco), and Encore Theatrical Company (Morristown, TN). During the event, JTF OE will present performance awards, technical awards, and teacher awards. 

Other guests confirmed for the 2021 Junior Theater Festival Online Extravaganza! include Brion Watson (Hamilton Puerto Rico, national tour); Jennifer Locke (Hamilton national tour); New York Times Bestselling author Jodi Picoult(Between The Lines); Jeff Calhoun (Newsies,Between The Lines); Rob Rokicki (The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical); and Nina Meehan, founder and executive artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre.

Called a “rousing celebration of theatre” by The New York Times and “a sort of pop-up musical theater megachurch” (Broadway Briefing), the 2020 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta this past January 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. 

iTheatrics plans in-person festivals for the 2021 Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF) happening May 7, 8, and 9, 2021 in Sacramento, CA, and the first-ever JTF Texas in Sugar Land, TX, June 25, 26, and 27, 2021.

Based in New York City, for the last decade iTheatrics has established itself as the world’s leading authority on musical theater for young people. iTheatrics works with leading public and private companies around the world—including the Kennedy Center, NBC, and all the leading theatrical licensors—to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theatre programs. When the pandemic hit, iTheatrics responded by creating online adaptations of musicals specifically designed to fit onto a computer screen and be performed remotely by actors. 

Exclusive to organizations performing MTI’s 30 and 60-minute Broadway Junior® musicals and Online Editions, the Junior Theater Festivals bring together the best musical theatre professionals from Broadway and beyond with the largest audience of artists and arts supporters. In addition to its Junior Theater Festivals in the U.S., iTheatrics produces, hosts, and supports one-day Junior Theater Celebrations and Junior Theater Festivals in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In 2020, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.  

Past festival attendees have included Ahrens and Flaherty, Skylar Astin, Shoshana Bean, Nicholas Christopher, Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Arielle Jacobs, Kenny Leon, Caissie Levy, Kara Lindsay, Lindsay Mendez, Alan Menken, Pasek and Paul, Ben Platt, and Jeanine Tesori.

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