Junior Theatre Festival: A Parent's Perspective by Liz Myrick

JTF: A Parents Perspective

Lace up your running shoes and get ready for an amazing weekend.  No, I mean really lace up your running shoes if you are planning on attending JTF.   This is an action packed, non-stop weekend that will be sure to light a fire in your performer.  We made new friends, saw amazing performances, and the kids were trained by some of the best in the business. 

Our kids, along with about 5,800 others, embarked on a weekend of celebrating the transformative power of musical theatre.  Day one started with a tour of the facility and an introduction of things to come.  This was a pretty low-key day, as we were in preparation for our performance day.  Saturday started with a bang. We had breakfast followed by rehearsal, followed by adjudication, followed by workshops, followed by... I can’t even remember.  Remember those running shoes I told you about? Imagine a conference center full of children moving about like schools of fish. You feel like you have been transported into a glorious musical theatre alternate reality. 

iTheatrics (they turn full length musicals into JR versions) really knows how to put on a conference. You know any festival sponsored by Playbill, Disney Musicals, and Music Theatre International will be top notch.  We saw appearances from Tony award winners, Ahrens-and-Flaherty and author Mary Pope Osborn. We watched performances by Marcy Heisler and Zina Goldrich (Taylor the Latte Boy).  Our weekend concluded with the movie premiere of the filmed version of the Broadway musical Newsies with appearances by the original stage director, Jeff Calhoun and choreographer, Christopher Gattelli.  We had the honor of seeing snippets of new works including, Magic Tree House: Pirates Past Noon Jr., Junie B. Jones Jr., Disney’s Mary Poppins Jr., and revamped shows such as, Disney’s 101 Dalmatians KIDS, and Jungle Book KIDS

Some of the moments that stick out to me, were during our adjudication.  Our kids performed their hearts out.  They overcame adversity, they took care of each other as performers, and they connected on a very deep level.  They learned many valuable performance lessons and discovered that being in the ensemble is a great place to be.  Even though we were competing it didn’t feel like we were.  It was nice to see kids connect with other theatre groups from across the country.  Through watching others perform, it made our kids want to be better at their craft.  Click Here to check out one of our favorite performances from a group from North Carolina. 

My child was asking to go back next year before we made it to our driveway.  She loved making new friends and seeing what possibilities lie ahead.  I strongly encourage you to attend this wonderful conference.  Be ready to work hard, play hard and make new friends.  I can’t imagine a more action packed conference for your performer to learn about, experience, and be immersed in the joys of theatre.  

Liz Myrick has been a part of Stage Door Productions for the past two seasons. You have seen her work on sets and costumes alike in Shrek Jr. and MTH: A Ghost Tale for Mr. Dickens. Liz attended JTF 17 with her daughter Vivie Myrick!

Click Here for more information on attending JTF18 with Stage Door Productions.