Local students win national awards

Students representing The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati in Cincinnati won a Freddie G Excellence in Ensemble Work award and earned other recognition at the 2023 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta.

Students Shawn Bilyeu, Mackenzie Cook, and Alex Talbot made it to the call-back to a yet-to-be announced special project promoting musical theater in schools.

Students Stella D’Ascenzo and Kavan Vadivelu were named to the festival All-Stars, a select group of outstanding performers.

The monumental weekend dedicated to rewarding and celebrating excellent student-driven musical theater programs happened Jan. 13-15 at the Cobb Convention Center in Atlanta. At the festival, each group performed 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudicators.

The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati presented Junie B. Jones The Musical JR. to Broadway composer and lyricist Rob Rokicki (The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical); Khalia Davis, multidisciplinary artist and artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre; and actor Evan Ruggiero (Drama Desk Nominated Actor, “Beast” in Olney Theatre Center’s Beauty and The Beast).

“The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati’s energy and precision was impeccable,” said Davis. “Every single child gave face and focus, kept up consistent energy, and told such a strong story. It is abundantly clear their instructors are instilling in them the important fundamentals of performing musical theater.”

Called a “rousing celebration of theatre” by the New York Times, the Junior Theater Festival applauds and empowers young people and educators creating student-driven musical theater around the globe.

The 2023 JTF Atlanta featured 125 groups from 28 states, as well as Washington D.C,, Canada and Australia participating in the festival.

2022 marked the Children’s Theatre’s first time at JTF Atlanta where students Claire Jeffreys and Avery Silvestain were distinguished as All-Stars. The Children’s Theatre of Cincinnati works to educate, entertain and engage audiences of all ages through professional theatrical productions and arts education programming.

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