Local students win national awards at 2014 Junior Theater Festival



FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — Local drama students from Riverwatch Middle School in Suwanee, Cumming’s Lakeside Middle School and Ghostlight Performing Arts Company won national awards at the 2014 Junior Theater Festival.

The festival, which took place Jan. 17-19 at the Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, featured other local winners including Dahlonega’s Holly Performance Academy, Dawson County Arts Council, Gainesville’s North Hall Community Theatre and Duluth’s Play on Players.

The Riverwatch drama students presented selections from “Seussical Jr.” and won a Freddie G Excellence in Dance group award, while students Katie Crabtree, Cara Flower and Danielle Heslin earned a Freddie G Outstanding Student Direction and Choreography award.

Miriam Reynolds was also one of eight educators from schools and performing arts centers around the country who were selected for the fifth annual “The Freddie G Broadway Experience.”

"The judges loved how we told our story and how well we worked together as one to bring it to life," Reynolds said.

Lakeside students presented selections from “My Son Pinocchio Jr.” and won a Freddie G Outstanding Production award.

Lakeside student Kristen Hall won a Freddie G Excellent Individual Performance by a Female award, while Joseph Signa earned a Freddie G Award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Male.

As one of just nine schools from across the country to win a Freddie G Outstanding Production award, the students performed a selection from their production for the attendees at the Junior Theater Festival closing ceremonies.

“Our Lakeside kids earned a huge trophy,” said Traci Davison, Lakeside’s chorus and drama director, “but more importantly, they were performing, acting, singing, dancing and doing what they love on a huge stage in front of their peers and Broadway stars.

“It was an amazing opportunity, and tears of joy were shed by both students and chaperones when we found out we were chosen. I am very proud of these kids,” Davison said.

The 21 Ghostlight Performing Arts Company students, ages 9-17, presented selections from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.,” winning the Freddie G Excellence in Acting group award.

Created by New York’s iTheatrics and produced by the Junior Theater group, the Junior Theater Festival is the world’s largest musical theater festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater.

This year, 4,500 students and teachers representing 93 groups from 26 states and the District of Columbia participated in the festival.

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