australian idol Paulini alumni will join the biggest national celebration of youth and musical theater in Newcastle this month.
The performer who rose to fame in 2003 as a contestant on the reality show’s inaugural season, placing fourth, is set to appear alongside special guests Daniel J. Mertzlufft and Sofia Nolan for the annual Festival of Drama junior (JTF) at the Civic Theater on October 28 and 29.
With support from Music Theater International Australasia (MTIA), the City of Newcastle and Travel Gang, the event brings together students, teachers and industry professionals to recognize outstanding student music productions.
Composer Mertzlufft (Ratatouille, the Tik Tok musical) will be on hand to start a game of Dot and the JR Kangaroo. – a Broadway Junior musical based on the beloved Australian children’s book.
Along with collaborators, book author Daniel Stoddart and lyricist Kate Leonard, will also provide an interactive presentation on the process of adapting and developing the new musical.
Paulini is expected to delight audiences with a magical performance for all attendees on October 29 as well.
Mertzlufft, Leonard, Paulini and Broadway JR. Nolan, a graduate, will speak candidly about his experiences as professionals during the festival’s “Pathways” Q&A session.
The New Works Showcase event features special student performances from the new Broadway JR. musical comedies, Disney’s Finding Nemo JR., Godspell JR. and Dot and the JR Kangaroo.
Other selected students from JTF Australia will also present Beetlejuice JR. and 9 to 5 days., which are being developed for elementary and middle school artists.
Australian Theater Personalities David Rogers-Smith (Les Miserables, The Phantom of the Opera), Nina Meehan (Founding Director of Bay Area Children’s Theatre, CA), Olivia Charalambous (Puffs, Spring Awakening), along with iTheatrics’ Marty Johnson and MTI COO John Prignano, will join Mertzlufft as referees in JTF Australia’s first in-person event since the COVID lockdowns.
“The growth and evolution of Broadway Junior here in Australia and New Zealand has been one of the most rewarding parts of my career,” said Stuart Hendricks, Managing Director of Musical Theater International Australasia.
“I can’t wait to introduce you Dot and the JR Kangaroo. and other fantastic musicals from Broadway Junior to our global theater community.
Stoddart, who currently presents Boys jersey to Newcastle audiences at the Civic Theatre, said Junior Theater Festival Australia 2022 was its seventh edition – and fifth in person.
“From the beginning, we have worked with New York-based iTheatrics to ensure that this event highlights the importance of young people having access to quality musical theater programming,” he said. Explain.
“Our JTF family continues to grow and inspire us.
“At the festival and in their communities, these teachers and students encourage each other to find increasingly creative ways to bring their musicals to the stage and create stronger programs.”
“MTI created the Broadway Junior Musicals in 1996, and over the past 25+ years, thousands of educators, performers and audience members have experienced the joy of these shows,” added the President and CEO of Music Theater International, Drew Cohen.