Carson City students
Wild Horse Children's Theater
WIN NATIONAL AWARD AT
JUNIOR THEATER FESTIVAL
Students from Wild Horse Children's Theater in Carson City won a Freddie G Award for
Excellence in Music at the 2018 Junior Theater Festival West, which was held this weekend at
the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and the Convention Center Complex.
Additionally, student Josh Mercer was named to Tech Theater All‐Stars. Each group attending
the festival was allowed to nominate two students who took part in technical theatre
workshops designed to help develop their talents. From these, a select group of Tech All‐Stars
were selected to work side‐by‐side with industry professionals on helping to run festival main
JTF West brought together 1,500 students and educators from 37 educational musical theater
groups representing 10 U.S. states and Seoul, South Korea in an incredible weekend of
theatrical fellowship rewarding and empowering student‐driven musical theater programs.
The 25 Wild Horse Children's Theater students, ages 5 to 16, presented selections from "Honk
JR." for Coy Middlebrook (director of ABC's Musical Special ENCORE), Dean McFlicker, Senior
Vice President and Creative Director of Original Production, Live Events and Promotional
Programming, NBC Entertainment, and Nina Meehan, founding executive artistic director of
Bay Area Children’s Theatre. Coy Middlebrook said, “Wild Horse Children’s Theater has an
incredible opening number, creating the farm as our main setting.” Dean McFlicker said, “Wild
Horse Children’s Theater had wonderful singing. Their dancing was precise and interesting. The
ensemble characters were clear. This group made the audience feel like we were on the farm
and we so loved being there!” Nina Meehan said, “I loved the farm‐tastic dancing and singing,
and all the characters of this exuberant and charming Honk! JR.”
Wild Horse Children's Theater’s Tony Gurrieri, Christina Van Greel, Cassidy Buchan and Serena
Dantzler 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 1,500 people at the festival, 200 were invited to
audition for iTheatrics resident choreographer Steven G. Kennedy and 58 made it to the
callback. 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.
Wild Horse Children's Theater students Timothy Winter and Christina Van Geel 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 1,500 festival
attendees. Bradon Holub and Greta Pugh performed in the Broadway Slam performance.
Wild Horse Children’s Theater is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization and was formed to enhance
and enrich the community through performing arts classes, high‐quality live theater, outreach
programs in local elementary and middle schools, and other educational programs in the
theatrical arts. Its mission is to train and educate today’s youth through theater arts to achieve
high artistic and personal goals, and to inspire them to become exemplary artists, patrons and
citizens of tomorrow.
WHCT has a “no child turned away” policy and usually has 80‐100 young people, ages 5‐18,
audition for its productions. Wild Horse Children's Theater also has a scholarship program for
families in economic need so that every child can take part in the arts.
Wild Horse Children’s Theater traveled to the 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival West and
student Alexa Haight won a Freddie G Excellent Individual Performance by a Female award.
They also had one student, Serene Dantzler, travel to NYC to participate in the choreography
About JTF West
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 West is a leading festival celebrating young people and the
transformative power of musical theater. Title sponsors are Music Theatre International (MTI),
Disney Theatrical Group, Playbill, Inc.®, and the Educational Theatre Association.
Megan Hilty (“Smash!”, Wicked); Jeff Calhoun (Newsies, Bonnie & Clyde on Broadway);
Sacramento’s own Jenifer Foote (Broadway’s Gypsy of the Year, Hello Dolly! on Broadway); Curt
Hansen (Kinky Boots national tour, Hairspray on Broadway); Elyssa Samsel & Kate Anderson
(Olaf’s Frozen Adventure; Between the Lines, Kansas City Rep); Coy Middlebrook (director of
ABC's Musical Special ENCORE), New York Times Bestselling Author Jodi Picoult (Between the
Lines, “Off the Page”), and YouTube sensation Tyler Mount were some of the celebrities onhand
to cheer on the young performers.
JTF West 2018 events included adjudications, workshops for students and teachers in all areas
of musical theater education, a New Works Showcase, special performan
ces and panels featuring Broadway professionals, and a performance by Megan Hilty.
During adjudication, students presented 15 minutes from a MTI Broadway Junior™ musical in a
process that is decidedly celebratory, supportive and informative. Groups performed for a
distinguished panel of theater professionals, who offered constructive feedback. The young
performers also learned from and cheered on other students’ presentations from the audience.
Immediately following their adjudication, each group took part in a private discussion led by
education specialists who encouraged the students to process their experience, identifying
both negative and positive aspects, and celebrated their achievements.
JTF West debuted in 2017 as a West Coast alternative to the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta
which launched in 2003. The 2018 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta took place this past January
and united 6,500+ students and educators from 119 educational musical theater groups
representing 26 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, New Zealand, and Canada.
In addition, the Junior Theater Group also produces Junior Theater Celebrations, which provide
one‐day Junior Theater Festival experiences across the U.S. as well as in the United Kingdom,
New Zealand, and Australia. Worldwide, 14,500 people participate in a Junior Theater Festival
event each year.