Tampa Bay Performing Arts Students Prepare for National 2013 Junior Theater Festival
Students from Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy (TBPAA) have been accepted into the national 2013 Junior Theater Festival happening January 18, 19 and 20 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, GA. They have been preparing with rehearsals every Monday night and are prepared to wow the judges in Atlanta. Congratulations to the following TBPAA students who make up the cast list for the 2013 Junior Theater Festival:
Madeline Rogers, age 8, Plato’s Academy, grade 3, from Trinity
Michaela Berinato, age 12, Plato’s Academy, grade 7, from Palm Harbor
Natasha Liberto, age 13, Tarpon Springs Middle, grade 8, from Palm Harbor
Dana Liberto, age 9, Cypress Woods Elementary, grade 4, from Palm Harbor
Trey Milcowitz, age 10, Cypress Woods Elementary, grade 5, from Oldsmar
Brooke Thornton, age 11, Dunedin Highland Middle, grade 6, from Palm Harbor
Noah Thornton, age 11, Safety Harbor Montessori, grade 6, from Palm Harbor
Sarah Youlio, age 10, Cypress Woods Elementary, grade 5, from Palm Harbor
Livia McKinney, age 9, Highland Lakes Elementary, grade 4, from Palm Harbor
Taylor Willis, age 10, Cypress Woods Elementary, grade 5, from Palm Harbor
Gaby Giovino, age 14, West Lake Christian, grade 8, from Tarpon Springs
Sophia Diana, age 10, Cypress Woods Elementary, grade 5, from Palm Harbor
Sophia Wicks, age 11, Plato’s Academy, grade 7, from Palm Harbor
Featuring 82 groups representing 23 states, the Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest musical theater festival dedicated to celebrating young people experiencing the transformative power of musical theater and is presented by New York’s iTheatrics and Atlanta’s Theater of the Stars and is sponsored by Music Theatre International, Disney Musicals, Playbill, PRG (Production Resource Group) and Sound Associates. The festival will bring together more than 3,500 students, teachers, and Broadway professionals to raise their voices in celebration of on-stage and backstage excellence in musical theater.
Each group attending the Junior Theater Festival performs a 15- minute selection of a musical for a panel of distinguished theater professionals. The 14 students of Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy (TBPAA), ages 8-14, will present Disney’s Mulan JR. for adjudication. The group presented the musical in its entirety on June 9, 2012 at the Catherine Hickman Theater in Gulfport, FL.
The group is active in their community and performs frequently. For the second time, TBPAA cast members were chosen to participate in Holiday Inc., an annual musical extravaganza held at Tampa’s Straz Center for the Performing Arts. Furthermore, TBPAA will present fulllength performances of two more Broadway JR. musicals this spring. (Details on these upcoming shows are in the section below titled “Upcoming Performances.”)
The 2013 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 selection from their musical, both students and teachers participate in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, gain from professional development, enjoy theatrical fellowship and attend a world-class professional production at the fabulous Fox Theatre. In true Junior Theater Festival form, student techies work side-by-side with festival staff in running all aspects of the festival experience.
Disney’s The Little Mermaid JR.: May 18, 2013, at the James B. White Theater, at 2750 Haines Bayshore Road in Clearwater. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at the box office on the day of the show or in advance at the TBPAA studio. For more information, call TBPAA at 727-784- 6598.
Disney’s Aladdin KIDS: June 1, 2013, at the Francis Wilson Theater, at 302 Seminole Street in Clearwater. Tickets are $12 and will be available through the Francis Wilson Theater box office. For more information, call the Wilson Theater box office at 727- 446-1360.
About Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy
This is TBPAA’s third time participating in the Junior Theater Festival. At the 2011 festival the group presented Disney’s Aladdin JR. for adjudication. Student Weston Wright won a Freddie G Outstanding Broadway Junior Slam Presentation. Student Gabby Giovino was selected to take part in an iTheatrics workshop of Xanadu JR. in New York City in the summer of 2011.
In 2010, Tampa Bay Children’s Theater Group students performed Disney’s Sleeping Beauty Kids. Student Mackenzie Nelson was invited to take part in an iTheatrics workshop of My Son Pinocchio JR. with Stephen Schwartz
TBPAA creates an enriching and educational experience for its students by involving parents and community volunteers in all aspects of production, including casting.To prevent TBPAA teachers and directors from being affected by any personal biases they may have for their students, a panel of 10 volunteer judges assists the directors with casting decisions. The panel uses the judging forms provided in the Music Theatre International materials and awards roles based on a point system. Directors and teachers spend 3-6 weeks teaching students how to audition, including the importance of working as a team prior to auditions. Roles are announced in the style of an awards show, with each cast member receiving an envelope with a personal card to commemorate their special part in the show.
TBPAA students are committed to giving back to their community. The group is currently working with Oak Grove Middle School to organize a special performance at the school to raise money for its library program. In addition to group appearances, many TPBAA students perform in other local productions and city- and county-related special events. Student Trey Milcowitz recently sang the national anthem at an annual event benefiting Miles for Hope, an organization that raises money to fight brain cancer, and Taylor Willis has performed at the Tarpon Springs Performing Arts Center’s community theater.
The group works hard to raise money for their own productions as well. Among the fund-raisers planned for early 2013 are a car wash and a local talent showcase scheduled for February 23, 2013.
Tampa Bay Children’s Theater is a t/b/a of the for-profit organization Nicola Productions Inc. Tampa Bay Performing Arts Academy is also a t/b/a of Nicola Production Inc.