iTheatrics, the company behind the Junior Theater Festival and adapting musicals for young performers for Music Theatre International's Broadway Junior series, is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a special EP releasing digitally March 15. Get a first listen to Taylor Iman Jones (SIX: The Musical) and Daniel Yearwood (Hamilton) duetting on "Alone in the Universe" from Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty's Seussical above. Stream the full EP on Spotify here.
The EP features Broadway favorites taking on classic songs from musicals in the Broadway Junior catalog, with new arrangements from Daniel Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical) and orchestrations from Conor Keelen. Along with Jones and Yearwood's take on the Seussical track, the EP features Katy Geraghty (Into the Woods), Jones, and Wren Rivera (Jagged Little Pill) singing "Luck Be a Lady" from Guys and Dolls (music and lyrics by Frank Loesser); and Krystina Alabado (Mean Girls) covering "Tomorrow" from Annie (music by Charles Strouse and lyrics by Martin Charnin).
“My dream cast performed my dream concert of songs that made us all fall in love with musical theatre in the first place," says Mertzlufft. “It was such a joy re-imagining these tunes. Who knew we would need 'Tomorrow' as if it were from Funny Girl, or a queer pop 'Luck Be a Lady,' but I couldn't be happier that audiences not only indulged in my whims, but demanded more, which inspired these recordings."
All three tracks originated as live performances at the finale concert of this year's Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, which played to an audience of 7,000. The March 15 release coincides with the opening of priority registration for 2024's Junior Theater Festivals in Atlanta, running January 12–14; and Sacramento, running February 9–11. To register, visit JuniorTheaterFestival.com beginning at 10 AM ET.
"For the past two decades, our JTF students have given us countless new ways of experiencing and understanding the shows we love," says iTheatrics Founding Chairman and Junior Theater Festival Founding Executive Producer Timothy Allen McDonald. "They’ve also shown us how they shape and sustain stories that matter to them. There was such a tremendous and visceral response from them over these three performances in particular that we knew we had to head to the studio."
The EP is produced by McDonald and Mertzlufft and co-produced by Keelan. Mixing is by Dan Rudin.
iTheatrics' Junior Theater Festivals bring youth groups from around the world together for a weekend-long celebration of everything youth theatre. The 2023 flagship festival in Atlanta, one of five JTF events held worldwide, saw 125 youth theatre groups from 28 states (along with Washington, D.C.; Canada; and Australia) in attendance. Youth theatre companies are invited to bring 15-minute staged selections from titles in musical licensor Music Theatre International's Broadway Junior collection for adjudication, after which students attend interactive workshops. Students interested in technical theatre can participate in the tech track, which includes the opportunity to work alongside industry professionals backstage for the festival's mainstage events.
Educators, whether bringing a group of students or attending individually, have access to professional development workshops along with the chance of being selected for the Freddie G Fellowship. Named for MTI Co-Chairman Freddie Gershon, the fellowship is bestowed annually on eight exceptional educators and includes an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City for professional development with Broadway greats and a $5,000 grant for the educator's theatre program.
Title sponsors of the Junior Theater Festivals include Disney Theatrical Productions, Playbill, iHeartRadio Broadway, and founding sponsor Music Theatre International.