The students from the Wild Horse Children’s Theater won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Music at the 2018 Junior Theater Festival West, held Feb. 9-11 at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and the Convention Center Complex.
The Junior Theater Festival West brought together around 1,500 students and educators from 37 educational musical theater groups, representing 10 U.S. states and Seoul, South Korea for a weekend of theatrics, rewarding and empowering student-driven musical theater programs.
“I feel like JTF was a fun and magical experience. I got to meet people from all over the world too,” said one of the performing students, 12-year-old Laura Bennett.
The Wild Horse Children’s Theater brought 25 students, ages 5 to 16, to present selections from “Honk JR.” The production was managed by executive director Carol Scott, musical director Alan Catron and choreographer, Robin Kato-Brong. Judges for the event included Coy Middlebrook, director of ABC’s musical special ENCORE; Dean McFlicker, senior vice president and creative director of original production, live events and promotional programming, and NBC Entertainment; and Nina Meehan, founding executive artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre.
“Wild Horse Children’s Theater had wonderful singing. Their dancing was precise and interesting. The ensemble characters were clear. This group made the audience feel like we were on the farm and we so loved being there!” commented McFlicker.
At the festival, students had the challenge of performing their regular 90-minute theater production in just a 15-minute summary. Students were then provided immediate, specific and intricate feedback from the judges.
“Last year when we were there for the first time, we were around performing arts kids who did theater all the time,” said Scott. “We felt much more prepared this year. It feels amazing to know we can compete with them, a troop from our little Carson City.”
Additionally, 17-year-old Josh Mercer was awarded a Tech theater All-Stars award. He got the opportunity to work side-by-side with technology industry professionals to help run the festival’s main stage events. Students Timothy Winter and Christina Van Gell were named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, awarded to outstanding performers at the festival.
The Wild Horse Children’s Theater is currently practicing for its upcoming production of Junnie B. Jones the Musical. Curtains open April 20 and May 2, 22, 27, 28, and 29.
Wild Horse Children’s Theater is a nonprofit organization, and was formed to enhance and enrich the community through performing arts classes, high-quality live theater, outreach programs in local elementary and middle schools, and other educational programs in the theatrical arts.