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Springfield Middle School students perform in Atlanta theater festival

February 13, 2012
  • Springfield Middle School students participating in the Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta include, front row, from left, Morgan Boerum, Quincy Knable, Kate Wade, Maria Startzman and Wendy Smith. Back row, Kyle Jacobus, Zach Elgin-Miller, Julia Smoot, Jennifer Yaraghi, Gabby Schiandicola, Madison Riley, Megan Budnicki, Sammie Raidt, Chesney Sydnor, Makenzie Brown, Bailey Cavin, Brandon Racine and Bryse Showe.
Submitted photo

ATLANTA — Springfield Middle School students participated in the Junior Theater Festival held Jan.13-16 in Atlanta.

The group performed a variety of songs and scenes from its upcoming performance of Disney’s “Mulan Jr.”

The performances were adjudicated by Steven G. Kennedy, a performer and choreographer of many Broadway, Off-Broadway and touring productions who acted in “The Gambler” alongside Kenny Rogers. 

Scott Lupi, an advertising and marketing director at DR Theatrical who represents many Broadway and Off-Broadway productions, was the second adjudicator.

The adjudicators said they were impressed by the group’s tableaus, choreography, diction in dialogue, tonality and dynamics during ensemble singing. 

Megan Budnicki did a great job of captivating the audience while moving the judges to tears during “Reflection,” while Julia Smoot could be heard in the back of the room while performing the role of the “Matchmaker.” Jennifer Yaraghi touched the judges’ hearts with her portrayal of Grandma Fa.

The students attended a number of workshops on dance, acting and singing, and watched other students perform snippets from musicals.

Brandon Racine and Yaraghi were chosen to participate in the all-star performance of “You Can’t Stop the Beat” from “Hairspray.”

Kyle Jacobus performed “To Life” from “Fiddler on the Roof” during the Broadway Junior Slam. Smoot was onstage during “Maybell’s Dream” from “Fame” as a girls’ feature during the slam.

Ten young women from Springfield Middle were selected to participate in an “Annie” tribute.

Thomas Meehan (book), Charles Strouse (music) and Martin Charnin (lyrics) were all present to celebrate the 35th anniversary of the musical “Annie.”

Budnicki (featured in the small ensemble), Wendy Smith, Knable, Yaraghi, Kate Wade, Smoot (group one leader), Sammie Raidt, Gabby Schianodicola, Bailey Cavin and Makenzie Brown belted out “Tomorrow” while wearing “Annie” T-shirts and red, curly-haired wigs.

Smoot was the recipient of the 2012 award for student choreographer.

The festival ended with a performance of “Annie” at the Fox Theater, starring Sally Struthers as Miss Hannigan.

“Annie” tribute participants were Budnicki, Smoot, Raidt, Yaraghi, Knable, Smith, Wade, Schianodicola, Cavin and Brown.

Junior Theater Festival participants were Morgan Boerum, Brown, Budnicki, Cavin, Zach Elgin-Miller, Jacobus, Knable, Racine, Raidt, Madison Riley, Schianodicola, Bryse Showe, Smith, Smoot, Maria Startzman, Chesney Sydnor, Wade and Yaraghi.

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