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Local Students to Pilot Disney’s Newsies JR.

Young Performers from the Moreton Bay Region Will Collaborate with New York City Theatre Professionals on New Student Edition of Classic Musical

A cast of 40 young Australians will take part in an exciting week-long pilot of Newsies JR., a new student version of the 2012 Tony-winning Disney Theatrical Productions Broadway production. The select group of 4 students from the Moreton Bay Region – Ashley Prosser, Matthew Bapty, Alex Kuchmenko and Alice Simpson from ROAR Academy, Redcliffe - will participate in an intensive workshop on Monday 23rd – Friday 27th October 2017, the week leading up to the second annual Junior Theatre Celebration Australia (JTCOz) event, which will be held at the Civic Theatre, Newcastle on Saturday 28th October, 2017.

They will be accompanied by their Principal, Madeleine Johns, who was offered the opportunity to observe the week-long workshop by OzTheatrics and who is thrilled to be able to watch and learn from industry professionals and bring those skills back to our region to enhance learning in the performing arts.

Newsies JR. is a 60-minute version of the stage musical, which in turn was based on the 1992 musical film “Newsies,” inspired by the Newsboys Strike of 1899 in New York City. The musical features music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Jack Feldman and a book by Harvey Fierstein. Newsies JR. is a new version adapted for student performers and will be performed by educational musical theatre programs in the future through Music Theatre International. Now in its second year, the 2017 Junior Theatre Celebration Australia (JTCOz) provides an opportunity for young Australians ages eight to 18 years to celebrate their love of musicals and experience the transformative power of theatre. The event is produced by OzTheatrics and the AMICI Trust, in collaboration with international partner iTheatrics and sponsor Music Theatre International (Australasia).

The Newsies JR. pilot offers young people who love musicals the opportunity to be part of a process that mirrors the demands of developing a musical in the professional theatre world. Rehearsals are fast-paced and intense. The workshop culminates in a staged presentation of the show. Throughout the week, dialogue, music and choreography are work-shopped and tested to ensure the musical adaptation is suitable to be performed by student musical theatre performers. Students get to perform with peers who care just as much about the arts as they do. Because the young thespians are performing a musical that is actively being developed, the production will focus on storytelling and not production values. The pilot program is coordinated by Aussie based organisation OzTheatrics, and will be directed by Timothy Allen McDonald, musical theatre author (Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach, Between the Lines) and founding chairman of iTheatrics New York; Marty Johnson, iTheatrics Director of Education and Resident Director, New York; and Steven G. Kennedy, iTheatrics Resident Choreographer, New York.

iTheatrics is the leading international authority on musical theatre for young people, headquartered in New York City. Timothy Allen McDonald founded iTheatrics in 2001 as a way of making theatre more accessible for young people and, in turn, leads a dynamic and talented group of artists and educators who are indeed changing the world through the transformative power of musical theatre.

The Junior Theatre Celebration Australia (JTCOz) draws groups representing primary and secondary public and private schools, along with private acting academies from all over Australia.

A host of national and international musical theatre celebrities will travel to Newcastle for the event and to be part of the Newsies JR. premiere.

At the 2017 Junior Theatre Celebration, Australia youth theatre groups will perform a 10-minute extract of their Broadway JR™ production for adjudication by industry professionals, take part in triple-threat workshops, and will be honoured in a culminating awards and closing ceremony.


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