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Ft. Wright Dance Company, CCM Prep Win National Theater Honors

Students from Moss Dance and Performing Arts Academy and Cincinnati’s CCM Preparatory Department at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory Preparatory Department Junior Musical Theater Intensive Program won a national award and earned other recognition at the 2018 Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta earlier this month.

The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united more than 6,000 students and educators from 130 educational musical theater groups representing 30 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada.

CCM Preparatory Department won a Freddie G award for Excellence in Dance. Moss Dance and Performing Arts Academy in Ft. Wright earned high praise.

The 28 Moss Dance and Performing Arts Academy students, ages 10-16, presented selections from Into the Woods JR. for Ernie Nolan, executive artistic director of Nashville Children’s Theatre, and Disney Theatrical Group teaching artist Lauren Chapman.

“Moss Dance & Performing Arts Academy tackled very difficult material beautifully. This cast has such spirit and energy.” Added Chapman, “From the leading players to the committed ensemble, this production was full of heart and charm! Well done all,” Nolan said.

The 22 CCM Preparatory Department (at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory Preparatory Department Junior Musical Theater Intensive Program) students, ages 9-14, presented selections from Into the Woods JR. for director, choreographer, and performer Jacob Brent (appeared in Broadway, London, and DVD productions of Cats and Starlight Express, directed premiere of Avenue Q School Edition) and Mary-Catherine Chambliss, program director of Manhattan Youth at The Anderson School in New York City and assistant choreographer for instructional choreography DVDs with MTI.

“The CCM Preparatory Department students did a beautiful job building the relationships of the variety of characters.” Added Brent, “Their vocal quality and sound were amazing," said Chambliss. "From the moment they started, I knew we were in for a treat.”

CCM Preparatory Department’s Morgan Robbins and Ben Crane were two of 240 students who made it to the call-back for future Broadway Junior shoots for “how-to” choreography videos for soon-to-be released Broadway Junior musicals.  

The shoots will be taped in New York City this summer. The Broadway Junior scouts were on the lookout for outstanding students, out of 6,000 people at the festival, 805 were invited to audition for iTheatrics resident choreographer Steven G. Kennedy. The final cast will be determined later this year. These videos will be used in tens of thousands of schools across the country and internationally.

Moss Dance and Performing Arts Academy’s Colin Denehy and Shealey Hannigan and CCM Preparatory Department’s Alex Lopez and Natalie Bennings were named to the Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, made up of outstanding performers attending the festival. The All-Stars performed a song during the closing ceremony for all 6,000 festival attendees.

Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with iTheatrics, a leading educational theater company that creates innovative experiences and products for the public and private sector, the 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. The Junior Theater Festival was founded in 2003. In 2010 the festival became an annual event.

-Staff report

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