At KidsAlive! we believe wholeheartedly that Music Theater is a powerful medium to build strong young people who can think on their feet, look outside themselves, work enthusiastically toward a common goal, and lead others toward positive change.  We have seen this happen time and time again in every single production, and we know our families and our audiences see it too. Today, we'd like to draw attention to a unique opportunity for our youth, that has even farther reaching effects than any of the production opportunities or classes that we can provide here in Oklahoma City.

 

We are talking about the iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival (JTF) which has been a cornerstone of the KidsAlive! program from the very beginning. We firmly believe in the iTheatrics method and their approach to musical theatre, and base much of our teaching methods and interactions with our students on ideas and techniques we have learned and continue to learn from the iTheatrics team.  

What is JTF? Simply put, it is the world’s largest celebration of all things musical theatre - a 3 day extravaganza of young people, educators, Broadway professionals and movers and shakers in the Music Theater industry coming together to celebrate the power of music theatre. Youth theater groups from around the world attend and present a 15 minute cut of an MTI Junior production for adjudication.  There are workshops for students and teachers, motivational performances by Broadway performers, composers, and others in the industry who all believe in the strength of youth performers. Currently, iTheatrics hosts two festivals here in the U.S. The original celebration is held in Atlanta in January and boasts upwards of 5,000 music theater enthusiasts in attendance. JTF West features a slightly more intimate atmosphere and takes place in Sacramento, CA in February.  In February 2020, KidsAlive! will be once again attending JTF West in Sacramento along with 2,000 of our best theater friends from around the country.

We can honestly say that KidsAlive! would not be what it is today without the support and opportunities provided by iTheatrics, MTI, and the many folks involved with the Junior Theater Festival.  JTF is not a "contest" and the primary benefits from the festival are those connections that we make with like minded, caring and supportive theater folks. Yet, from the beginning KidsAlive! has been blessed with recognition for excellence in dance, music and ensemble performances.  In 2017 our very own Shawna Linck was awarded the Freddie G Spirit award, the highest honor for any educator at the Festival, and spent a week the following summer in New York with 7 other exceptional educators from around the US and Australia, working directly with Broadway professionals such as Tony award winning Jeff Calhoun, and Christopher Gatelli. The financial and emotional support of MTI's CEO Freddie Gershon through this program has been instrumental in strengthening the programming of KidsAlive!  In 2018, our cast of "James and the Giant Peach" was awarded our first Outstanding Performance, the highest award given to any group at the festival, and we had our first opportunity to perform on the mainstage of the festival. 2019 was a stellar year for us, as we were proud to have the ability to take TWO different casts to JTF West, including our Junie B Jones cast who totally rocked their adjudication with some of the youngest performers at the festival, and our Kaleidoscope cast of Lion King, Jr. , which had the distinction of being the only cast featuring partnered performers with special needs in all the named roles.  Both casts received awards for outstanding individual performances - a first for KidsAlive!, and the Kaleidoscope cast earned our second "Outstanding Performance." In addition, we have had students selected every year to attend the Choreography DVD filming in New York, and this year, 2 of our students, Crayton and Carter Haney, were invited to attend JTF Europe as part of the iTheatrics cast.

This year is a landmark year for us at the Festival, and something we have worked toward from the very beginning.  We are absolutely elated that KidsAlive! has been chosen to showcase a new work at the Festival: Elephant and Piggy's, We're in a Play, Jr.  Those of you who have attended JTF in the past have sat in awe right beside us as we have watched some of the most phenomenal youth theater groups in the country take the stage at the festival in stunning costumes, with incredible staging and choreography, presenting numbers from the newest JR. versions developed by iTheatrics and MTI. This year... WE are one of those groups!  

We deliberately chose to go back to taking one strong, multi-age group this year to showcase how we at KidsAlive! work best, with young people of all ages sharing their strengths and experience to create something beautiful.  We need a mix of about 35 committed young performers from ages 8 to 18 to make this happen. Our cut for adjudication will be Mulan, Jr. and we need fathers, mothers, sons AND daughters (as well as a crazy dragon), and we expect our Elephant and Piggy music to be swing style with lots of partnering opportunities.

 

Rehearsals begin after Newsies is complete, and we will be rehearsing Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm until we leave for JTF in February. There will be no rehearsal December 20 through January 6. 

 

One of the most exciting points in this whole experience is that members of the iTheatrics team will be joining us right here in Oklahoma City in January, to work directly with our students as we prepare for the New Works Showcase. We LOVE the educators from iTheatrics and cannot wait for your students to have a chance to work closely with them in this adventure. A few rehearsals may need to be added to accommodate their visit.  

 

We leave for Sacramento on Thursday evening (after school) February 6 and will return late Monday, February 10.

 

Attending JTF is costly, but we feel the benefits to our students are worth the expense involved.  Some of our young people have come up with some very innovative ways of earning money for the trip, and have managed to earn most, if not all, of their fees on their own, so it can be done!  The cool part is that although you need to pay for the costs involved in the trip: food, airfare, lodging, meals etc., your kids will receive hours and hours of music theater instruction with no additional cost to you!  Our team has spent the last couple of weeks making travel and hotel arrangements and working out details for food, etc. to get your cost as low as possible. Many of our students travel without a parent, however we will be in need of up to 15 adult sponsors, depending on our final troupe size.

 

 

Rehearsal Schedule

Rehearsals begin after Newsies is complete, and we will be rehearsing Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6 to 9 pm until we leave for There will be no rehearsal December 20 through January 6.

iTheatrics will be coming to OKC to see our progress on our Elephant and Piggie's We're in a Play, Jr. in January.

 

Travel Schedule

We will leave for Sacramento on Thursday, February 6 and return February 10. 

 

Cost

 

Attending JTF is costly, but we feel the benefits to our students are worth the expense involved.  Some of our young people have come up with some very innovative ways of earning money for the trip, and have managed to earn most, if not all, of their fees on their own, so it can be done!  The cool part is that although you need to pay for the costs involved in the trip: food, airfare, lodging, meals etc., your kids will receive hours and hours of music theater instruction with no additional cost to you!  Our team has spent the last couple of weeks making travel and hotel arrangements and working out details for food, etc. to get your cost as low as possible. Many of our students travel without a parent, however we will be in need of up to 15 adult sponsors, depending on our final troupe size.

 

Students - $1300 includes

  • Airfare on SW Airlines (we all travel together) 

  • JTF Registration, 

  • Transportation to/from the airport in Sacramento

  • 4 nights at the Hyatt Regency in Sacramento (3 students and 1 adult sponsor per room - up to 5 king rooms will be available at an additional cost - 2 per room)

  • Group supplies, snacks, water bottles, etc.

  • Troupe Apparel (t-shirts, jackets, pants, string bags) you provide jazz shoes

  • Meals 

  • Costuming for showcase performance

 

Adult Sponsors - $1200

includes all of the above except troop apparel and costumes

 

We have worked out the following payment schedule to make this as easy as possible for our families:

 

September 15 - $300

  • Covers Airfare deposit and JTF registration

October 1 - $200

November 1 - $200

December 1 - $200

January 1 - $200

February 1 - $200

 

Adults will need to pay $300 September 15, followed by 4 - $200 payments, with the final February payment being $100

 

Auditions

 

September 6, 6:30 - 8:30pm at the KidsAlive! Studio

 

Auditions will be conducted KidsAlive! style meaning there is nothing to prepare in advance. We will be looking for students that are quick learners, want to participate and collaborate, are good movers and singers, and strong members of an ensemble performance. Auditions will be a major factor in our casting decision but we will also take into consideration our previous experiences with students during past rehearsals and performances.

If you have any questions about this opportunity, please contact Shawna directly at (405) 413-8254 or email her at shawna@kidsaliveokc.org.   We want to provide this opportunity for as many students as possible.

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KidsAlive! 600 N. High Ave. Oklahoma City, OK 73117
Email: kidsaliveokc@gmail.com
Phone: (405) 698-2048‬