Showcasing the Triad’s talent

Community Theatre of Greensboro has a lot to be proud of as they look back on a successful 2015, including their performances of Dracula, The Wizard of Oz and The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. And now the group is already getting a head start in the New Year by heading down to Atlanta, Georgia for the Junior Theatre Festival.

Started in 2003, the festival takes place annually during Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend and includes a series of workshops for students, performances, training under Broadway stars, a New Works showcase and an awards ceremony. The festival has even been noted for taking part in the launch of Disney’s High School Musical and NBC’s SMASH.

“The Junior Theatre Festival is an event where students from all over the country gather to celebrate musical theatre,” said Rozalynn Fulton, CTG director of education. “It’s a place to showcase your students but also have them participate in workshops with Broadway performers, directors, musical directors and choreographers.”

CTG’s Centerstage Youth Performing Group has been attending the Junior Theatre Festival since 2007, and this year, were chosen to present at the New Works showcase, in which they will perform Madagascar Jr.. Fulton said the group has been practicing since October.

“This is an amazing experience for young people,” Fulton said. “As with any outside activity, of course, there is a cost associated with this trip.”

To help offset the expenses of the group’s trip to the Junior Theatre Festival, Fulton set up an online GoFundMe campaign. As of Monday, the group had raised $745 of their $3,500 goal.

Fulton said CTG’s mission has always been to never turn a child away because of cost. “We depend on the community for support,” she said. “We are asking that you help us with our fundraising efforts for these amazing and talented students. No gift is too small.”

The group will give each donor a signed photograph as thanks for their support. “Even a gift of $10 can help,” Fulton said.

In addition to the big year the group has to look forward to, Fulton also looks back at their year of success in appreciation and pride.

“As the year comes to an end and we begin the excitement of 2016, I look back on all the wonderful things that CTG has done with children in our community,” Fulton said. “We had a successful run of The Lion King Jr, our Centerstage Youth Performing Group was selected to premier a New Works Showcase at the Junior Theatre Festival and CTG will be one of about five groups from around the country to present Mary Poppins Jr in the spring.”

Fulton noted that the production is one of the things she’s most looking forward to for 2016. “It is a true honor for the students and for CTG,” she added.

Next up for the theater is its production of Doctor Dolittle, Jr., a magical tale about a doctor who can talk to animals, which opens January 22. The show begins in a small English village and takes the audience to the far corners of the world as the doctor searches for the Great Pink Sea Snail, the oldest and wisest of Earth’s creatures.

In February, the theater will tackle The Diary of Anne Frank, a fervent newly adapted drama. The play has been adapted from the original stage play by Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett, and includes newly discovered writings from Anne Frank’s diary, as well as interwoven survivor accounts. The cast was announced in early December. !

LENISE WILLIS, a graduate from UNC Chapel Hill’s journalism school, has experience in acting and ballet, and has been covering live performances since 2010.