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Woodford Theatre Young Artists awarded high honors at Junior Theater Festival

The Woodford Theatre Young Artists (WTYA) returned home Monday with high honors from the Junior Theater Festival (JTF) in Atlanta. The festival was attended by over 6,500 people from 133 groups representing five countries including the U.S.

Woodford Theatre Education Director and The Girl Project co-founder, Vanessa Becker Weig, was one of five Freddie G. Fellowship recipients. This coveted honor was created by Music Theatre International (MTI) CEO and Tony Honors for Excellence recipient Freddie Gershon. It welcomes a select group of theatre instructors to be part of an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for the opportunity to work one-on-one with industry professionals in a weekend of seminars, master classes, and Broadway shows. Freddie G. Alumni are part of an elite network of theatre educators and serve as ambassadors for MTI and iTheatrics events. In addition, each of the participating teachers receives $5,000 to enhance their arts program.

Woodford County High School senior, WTYA student, Woodford Theatre 2018-2019 Box Office and Marketing Intern, Kennedy Johnson, came home with the Outstanding Female Performer Award for her performance as Rafiki in the group’s cut of “The Lion King, Jr.,” which they performed at the festival. Kennedy and Nate Krohmer were both chosen as JTF All Stars.

Overall, the group received high accolades from adjudicators Kelby McIntyre-Martinez and Stuart Hendricks, who called their performance “captivating.” McIntyre-Martinez and Hendricks admired WTYA’s stellar vocals and storytelling and awarded the group the Excellence in Dance Award. Jackson Becker, Hannah Browning, Nate Krohmer, and Bella Mancuso made the final round of the Choreography DVD callbacks. If selected, they will be invited to NYC this summer to film choreography DVDs for future iTheatrics Jr. productions including “Matilda, Jr.” and “Newsies, Jr.”

This is just the start of a busy spring for the Young Artists, as their regular training starts back up this weekend and they prepare for their 2019 Showcase. The 2019 WTYA Showcase runs April 12-14 and is open to the public. Tickets will be on sale soon. If you are or have a middle or high school student interested in WTYA, auditions for the class of 2019-2020 will be held over the summer, dates TBA.

The JTF brings together student musical theater troupes from all over the world for a weekend of musical theater. Each troupe performs 15 minutes from a Broadway Junior show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts. The weekend also features professional development for teachers, workshops for students and parents, a New Works Showcase featuring new musical adaptations soon to be released and concludes with a grand finale concert headlined by Broadway’s best. Learn more: http://juniortheaterfestival.com

The WTYA are a selected ensemble of musical theatre students exposed to professional and intensive training, performance opportunities and growth experiences designed to strengthen their talents and prepare them for pursuing musical theatre or theatre in college and professionally. WTYA train weekly with acting, vocal, dance, and design professionals, as well as master classes with renowned guest artists. Learn more:www.woodfordtheatre.com.

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