WARRENSBURG — Students from Center Stage Academy of the Performing Arts won a national Freddie G. Excellence in Dance award and earned additional recognition at the 15th annual Junior Theater Festival Atlanta running Jan. 17 through 19 at The Cobb Galleria Centre in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united 7,000 students and educators from 128 educational musical theater groups representing 31 states, as well as Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.

Center Stage Academy students presented selections from "Junie B. Jones The Musical JR." during adjudication for performer, teacher and choral director David Rogers-Smith and Rosemary Newcott, the Sally G. Tomlinson Director of Theatre for Youth and Families at Atlanta's Alliance Theatre.

"Jenna Ladd offered us a strong performance as Junie, and she was backed up beautifully by Center Stage Academy's incredibly energized ensemble,” Newcott said. “This cast really captured the dilemmas of 'acceptance' and the need for individuality particularly in school environments. They had great focus work and clear characterizations."

"Center Stage Academy showcased excellent ensemble work. I found their energy and precision of steps to be excellent,” Rogers-Smith said.

Center Stage Academy’s Cayden Shelly and Annie Bryson 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 6,600 festival attendees.

Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with iTheatrics, the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta is the world’s largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater.

Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group and Playbill, Inc were this year's title sponsors.

The Junior Theater Festival Atlanta was founded in 2003. In 2010 the festival became an annual event.

At the 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, Center Stage Academy's Maggie Likcani received a Freddie G Award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Female.

At the 2018 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, Center Stage Academy won a Freddie G award for Excellence in Acting.

Also in 2018, Jahnaya Thomas won a Freddie G award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Female and Ben Renfrow won a Freddie G award for Excellent Individual Performance by a Male.

During the festival, in addition to presenting selections from shows for adjudication, participants took part in interactive workshops led by Broadway and West End professionals, theatrical fellowship and professional development as well as watched performances by fellow students and Broadway stars.

Caissie Levy, from "Frozen, on Broadway," performed the festival’s headlining concert.

Disney Theatrical Productions President and Producer Thomas Schumacher offered the festival keynote in collaboration with Andrew Pirozzi, Michael James Scott, McKenzie Kurtz and Ryan McCartan.

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