Junior Theater Festival

Auditions for the 2018 ESRT Travel Team are being held from now until July 4, 2017! For details and an audition form, click here.

In January, the 2017 ESRT Travel Team traveled to Atlanta, Georgia, to attend Junior Theater Festival (JTF), the world’s largest celebration of musical theater for kids. For the first time, ESRT brought two 15-minute show selections for adjudication - "Singin in the Rain, Jr." and "Bugsy Malone, Jr.” - and for the second year in a row, our team was tapped to perform for all attendees in the New Works Showcase, a sneak peek at shows coming soon to the Broadway Junior Collection. Our team's New Works performance included selections from the soon-to-be released new musical "Junie B. Jones, Jr."

Additional Highlights Included:

  • Our Eastern Shore Rep Kids group received the Freddie G Award for Excellence in Dance for their performance of "Bugsy Malone, Jr.”
  • The older group won Junior Theater Festival's 2017 Outstanding Production for their performance of "Singin in the Rain, Jr."
  • ESRT was a top five finalist for the 2017 Playbill Community Service Award.
  • ESRT team members Charles Carey, Liam Searcy, Chloe Theriot, and Victoria Whatley were also recognized as All-Stars for their outstanding individual performances.
  • Seven team members auditioned and are finalists for the Broadway Junior Choreography DVD collection. If selected, they will travel to New York City later this year for filming.

In his weekly blog, Filichia Features, former New York-based theater critic, author, and historian Peter Filichia included ESRT in his “A to Z” roundup of JTF Atlanta 2017, stating “E is for Eastern Shores (sic) Repertory Theatre, which not only brought its Fairhope, Alabama teen students to do Singin’ in the Rain JR. but also its younger kids to do Bugsy Malone JR. The commonality? Each had terrific leads in slick productions.”

Held over Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend, JTF 2017 attracted 111 groups with a total attendance of 5,832 people. Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with iTheatrics, Junior Theater Festival Atlanta is the world’s largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater.

This year’s title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc. Celebrity guests included Disney Theatrical President Thomas Schumacher; Broadway director, choreographer, producer and dancer Jeff Calhoun (Bonnie & Clyde, Newsies); Broadway choreographer, director and performer Christopher Gattelli (South Pacific, Newsies); composer Zina Goldrich and lyricist Marcy Heisler (Junie B. Jones, Dear Edwina); Arielle Jacobs (Wicked, Disney’s Aladdin in Sydney), Curt Hansen (Broadway’s Hairspray!, Wicked national tour), Luca Padovan (Broadway’s School of Rock, Broadway’s Newsies), and New York Times best-selling authors Jodi Picoult (Small Great Things) and Mary Pope Osborne (The Magic Treehouse Series).

Prior Year JTF Highlights:

  • 2016
    • Freddie G Award for Excellence in Dance
    • All-Stars: Lily Kate Gwin and Liam Searcy 
    • Six ESRT team members auditioned at JTF and were selected for the Broadway Junior Choreography DVD collection.
  • 2015
    • Freddie G Award for Excellence in Acting
    • Freddie G Award for Teachers and Directors: Erin Langley
    • All-Stars: Sammi Messina and Liam Searcy