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Local students win big at Junior Theater Festival Atlanta

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Students representing Florida Rep Education, Creative Theater Workshop and Melody Lane Performing Arts Center in Fort Myers won national awards and earned other recognition at the 2022 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta. The weekend dedicated to rewarding and celebrating student-driven musical theater programs happened online and in person in Atlanta Jan. 14-16.

Florida Rep Education won the Freddie G Outstanding Production award. As a production recipient,. the group performed for all festival attendees during the closing ceremonies.

Melody Lane Performing Arts Center won a Freddie G award for Excellence in Acting. Members presented selections from “The Big One-Oh! JR.” during the weekend’s New Works showcase.

At the festival, each group performed 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudicators.

Florida Rep Education presented “Legally Blonde The Musical JR.” to producer and librettist Daniel Stoddart (“Dot and the Kangaroo: An Aussie Musical Adventure”) and Theatre Macon Artistic Director Richard Frazier.

Mr. Stoddart said the performance “was by far my favorite performance I have ever seen at JTF. The professionalism of the young performers could easily have been mistaken for something on Broadway. Not only was their performance outstanding, but the young performers were humble and grateful to receive feedback on their hard work.”

Mr. Frazier described the performance as “perfection!”

Creative Theater Workshop presented “Disney’s Aladdin JR.” for music director and iTheatrics master teacher Derek Bowley and Michael J. Bobbitt, executive director of the Massachusetts Cultural Council.

Melody Lane Performing Arts Center presented “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast JR.” to composer and lyricist Rob Rokicki (“The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical”) and choreographer and educator Shay Rodgers.

Mr. Rokicki credited the ensemble with “fantastic physical comedy and strong commitment to their characters. You can tell how well Melody Lane trained these talented young people of all ages to work together to create great storytelling. The actors made some fantastic smart choices that showed they developed poise and confidence from the program.”

More recognition

Florida Rep Education students Isabel Isenhower and Aiden Johnson, Creative Theater Workshop student Mia Henley, and Melody Lane Performing Arts Center students Athena Belis and Elijah Grant made it to the callback for future video shoots for “how-to” choreography videos.

Florida Rep Education students Macy Magas and Kristen Noble, Creative Theater Workshop students Mia Henley and Emma Kane, and Melody Lane Performing Arts Center students Elijah Grant and River Reed were distinguished as All-Stars, an outstanding group of young performers at the festival.

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