Granbury Theatre Academy earns junior festival award

Members of the Granbury Theatre Academy are pictured after winning a national Freddie G Excellence in Acting award recently in Sugar Land.

The Granbury Theatre Academy captured a national Freddie G Excellence in Acting award in the inaugural Junior Theater Festival, held June 25-27 in Sugar Land.

Matt Beutner, the director of the Granbury Theatre Academy, explained that the festival is an annual conference for theater schools “from all over the nation and sometimes the world.” He added that all of the schools competing “perform 15-minute versions of Broadway shows with no tech or costumes, just the kids.”

The students who performed with the Granbury Theatre Academy were:

Elliot Elaine Hayes, Evelyn Florence Woody, Mia Currie, Blaire Elizabeth Stanfield, Suellyn Hunter, Zander Kelley, Rachel Mastick, Vincenzo Rosenkranz, Michael Rosenkranz, Molly Pruetz, Grace Kell, Benjamin Rongey, Aubrey Ward, Natalie Ward, Kendrick Booth, Lily McClendon, Hannah Baker, Thomas Powderly, Ashlee Mummert, Kai Cook, Christopher Martin, Aubrey Landers, Lucas Damian Hyde, Brylea Noel Hyde, Maudie Davis, Vivian Horton, Allie McGrane, Miranda Hancock, Micah Chesney, Izzie Hope Cerbone and Sandy Strittmatter.

Both Woody and Booth were chosen as Junior Theater Festival All-Stars, an honor that goes to “particularly dynamic student performers,” according to a news release from the festival.

The Granbury group performed selections from Shrek the Musical JR. for adjudication by three judges — Khalia Davis, artistic director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre; Kikau Alvaro, a director and choreographer for Virginia Repertory Theatre; and Steven G. Kennedy, iTheatrics vice president and choreography supervisor.

“Granbury Theatre Academy brought a fresh take to Shrek the Musical JR. with their fabulous comedic timing,” Davis was quoted as saying.

“Granbury Theatre Academy’s performance was full of tight harmonies and strong choreography! Comedy is tough, and this group was really funny,” Alvaro said.

“This cast certainly let their ‘freak flag fly.’ There were so many brave choices,” Kennedy said.

Although the event was being held for the first time, a total of 2,228 participants were on hand, with 50 groups performing in person and seven others taking part online.

Several celebrities took part in events onstage at the festival, and cheered the young performers who competed. Michael James Scott, from Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway, performed the festival’s headlining concert.

In 2020, almost 15,000 people worldwide attended junior theater festivals or junior theater celebrations.

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