Pasek & Paul, Taylor Iman Jones & More Join 20th Junior Theater Festival

Original Mean Girls Broadway cast members Krystina Alabado, Erika Henningsen, Grey Henson, Kate Rockwell, & Kyle Selig join Katy Geraghty (Into the Woods, Broadway), Taylor Iman Jones (SIX, Broadway), Daniel Yearwood (Hamilton, Broadway), Pasek & Paul (Dear Evan Hansen, The Greatest Showman), and Thomas Schumacher, president & producer, Disney Theatrical Productions at the 2023 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta happening in Atlanta, GA, January 13-15, 2023. The announcement was made by Timothy Allen McDonald, founder and CEO of iTheatrics and the Junior Theater Group, which produces the international Junior Theater Festivals.

Called a “rousing celebration of theatre” by The New York Times, for the past 20 years thousands of musical theatre students and their teachers have made the pilgrimage to this annual, epic event for young people and educators creating musical theater worldwide.

“These students and teachers are not just the future of musical theatre, they are musical theatre. Their positive impact is huge. They chart cast albums, they sell out shows. They introduce so many to musical theatre through their own productions and they continually evolve this art form through their storytelling,” says McDonald. “After 20 years of this festival, we’ve seen what prioritizing the arts can do for individuals, communities, and musical theatre itself, and we understand the importance of giving theatre kids the opportunity to be in the company of thousands of other people who care just as much about this art form as they do,” he adds.

The 2023 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta will host 125 groups from 28 states, as well as Washington DC, Canada, and Australia for an incredible weekend of fellowship, singing, dancing, acting, and learning. Sponsors are Disney Theatrical Productions, Playbill, Inc.®, iHeartRadio Broadway, and founding sponsor Music Theatre International (MTI); MTI has supported JTF since the very first festival in 2003.

Additional talent who will appear at the Atlanta festival includes director, choreographer and producer Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Broadway); actor Cori Jaskier (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, TheaterWorksUSA's Charlotte's Web); lyricist and librettist Kate Leonard (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Breathe, For You, Paige); composer and music supervisor Daniel J. Mertzlufft (Ratatouille: The TikTok Musical, Breathe); Michael Wordly (Kinky Boots, Chicago); actor Luca Padovan (Newsies, Broadway); New York Times best-selling author Jodi Picoult (Between the Lines, Off-Broadway), and Wren Rivera (Jagged Little Pill, Broadway).

At the festival, each group will perform 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical for adjudicators. In addition to mainstage performances featuring powerhouse Broadway and West End guests; the groups will enjoy a keynote address by Thomas Schumacher, president & producer, Disney Theatrical Productions; a Mean Girls panel featuring conversations with and performances by the original Broadway cast, and a New Works Showcase of performance selections from upcoming Broadway Junior® musicals presented by JTF groups.

Founded in 2006 and based in New York City, iTheatrics has established itself as the world’s leading authority on musical theater for young people. iTheatrics works with leading public and private companies around the world—including the Kennedy Center, NBC, and all the leading theatrical licensors—to make sure that young people everywhere have access to quality musical theatre programs.

Exclusive to organizations performing MTI’s 30 and 60-minute Broadway Junior® musicals and Online Editions, the Junior Theater Festivals bring together the best musical theatre professionals from Broadway and beyond with the largest audience of artists and arts supporters. Organizers will produce the in-person 2023 Junior Theater Festival West (#JTF) happening February 17-19, 2023 in Sacramento, CA. iTheatrics also produces, hosts, and supports one-day Junior Theater Celebrations and Junior Theater Festivals in the U.S., U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. In 2019, nearly 15,000 people worldwide attended a Junior Theater Festival or Junior Theater Celebration.  

Past festival attendees have included Ahrens & Flaherty, Skylar Astin, Joshua Bassett, Shoshana Bean, Sierra Boggess, Nicholas Christopher, Darren Criss, Zac Efron, Cynthia Erivo, Megan Hilty, Arielle Jacobs, Kenny Leon, Caissie Levy, Kara Lindsay, Ryan McCartan, Lindsay Mendez, Alan Menken, Pasek and Paul, Ben Platt, Olivia Rodrigo, Samsel & Anderson; Steven Schwartz, Ali Stroker, and Jeanine Tesori.