Big Stars Shine at the 2024 Junior Theater Festival West

The theater world celebrated a new batch of rising stars as Big Star Performing Arts Studio students made their mark at the 2024 Junior Theater Festival West (JTF West).

Held from February 9-11 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center in Sacramento, California, this event brought together young talent from across the globe to showcase their abilities in student-driven musical theater.

The Big Star Performing Arts Studio students participated and received prestigious accolades for their outstanding performances. Among their achievements, they were honored with the Freddie G Award for Excellence in Acting. Students Peyton Stachelski and Elizabeth Conlon were recognized as Performance All-Stars.

This title includes participating in a special All-Star workshop and the Freddie G Awards Ceremony. Meanwhile, Brynn Saxon and Delaney Mosley reached the call backstage for a special project aimed at promoting musical theater in schools.

During the festival, each participating group presented 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior® musical to a panel of adjudicators. Big Star Performing Arts Studio selected Disney’s “Beauty and the Beast JR.” for their performance, impressing the judges with their talent and dedication.

Big Star Performing Arts Studio at JTF West, Photo by Marcus Woollen

Dean McFlicker, former SVP of NBC Entertainment Marketing and an original “Newsies” cast member praised the group for their acting skills, especially highlighting Nathan Daymond’s “commanding and fantastic” voice. McKenna Michael Bisaha, a performer and educator known for her work in “Frozen Live! at the Hyperion” and “Barry,” commended the group for their vocal prowess and ability to convey the story’s heart and soul.

The 2024 JTF West was celebrated as a “rousing celebration of theater” by The New York Times. It featured groups from five countries, including the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and South Korea.

Nearly 2,000 students, parents, directors, and supporters from 14 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., traveled to Sacramento for the festival, which was sponsored by Disney Theatrical Productions, Playbill, Inc.®, RPM, and Music Theatre International (MTI), the latter being a founding sponsor since the festival’s inception in 2003.

In anticipation of summer, the Big Star Performing Arts Studio is also gearing up to prepare its students for upcoming auditions. On May 18, they will host Audition Workshops for the Summerstock performances of “Beauty & the Beast” and “Chicago.” These workshops boost aspiring performers’ confidence, improve their acting skills, and offer practical audition experience. See the Summerstock flyer HERE.

Whether through accolades at national festivals or through dedicated preparation for future performances, Big Star Performing Arts Studio is committed to nurturing the talents of young performers. The studio upholds its mission of creating confident, compassionate, and thoughtful individuals through the performing arts by providing growth, recognition, and learning opportunities.

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