Mesa and Mountain Ridge Middle Schools Win National Theatre Awards
Students from Mesa Middle School’s Mesa Theatre in Castle Rock and Mountain Ridge Middle School's Headstrong Theatre in Highlands Ranch recently brought home national theatre awards from the 2018 Junior Theater Festival West. The Festival was held in February at the Sacramento Memorial Auditorium and the Sacramento Convention Center Complex in California.
Mesa Theatre won a Freddie G Inspiration Award awarded to an individual or a group who touched the hearts of the adjudicators in an inspirational way. Mountain Ridge Middle School won a Freddie G award for Excellence in Acting, while former Mountain Ridge students Gracyn Trautmann and Zoe Howell, both of whom returned to student-direct the production, additionally won a Freddie G award for Outstanding Student Direction & Choreography.
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 theatre programs.
Three Mesa students presented selections from Seussical JR and 30 Mountain Ridge Middle students presented selections from Bugsy Malone JR for iTheatrics senior educational consultant Cindy Ripley, Disney Theatrical Group dramaturg and literary manager Ken Cerniglia, and choreographer and dancer Kelby McIntyre-Martinez, who serves as the assistant Dean of Arts Education and Community Engagement in the College of Fine Arts at the University of Utah.
Cerniglia said, “Mesa Theatre was represented by three young women taking the stage and owning it! I was impressed and very moved by their bravery, commitment, and talent. These kids can do anything!”
He added, “Mountain Ridge Middle School captured the style of the period with specific character work. This group has a deep bench of impressive talent! They made me smile the whole time.”
Top of page: Mesa Middle School educator Andy Jaramillo, with Mesa Middle students Abigail Pattani, Natalee Evans, and Carriann Biery, along with Cindy Ripley, senior educational consultant for iTheatrics.
Above left: Coy Middlebrook (director of ABC's Musical Special ENCORE), Mountain Ridge Middle School educator Laurilea McDaniel, Mountain Ridge Middle School student Zane Zakroff, and Performer Danny Gardner (Dames at Sea on Broadway).
Above right: Dancer Kelby McIntyre Martinez, student-directors Zoe Howell and Gracyn Trautmann, and Dean McFlicker, Senior Vice President and Creative Director of Original Production, Live Events and Promotional Programming, NBC Entertainment.
Photo Credit: James Barker Photography.
Mountain Ridge Middle School's Headstrong Theatre students, Logan Leal and Ariel Bailey, and Mesa Theatre students Carriann Biery, Natalee Evans and Abigail Pattani 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.
Mesa Middle School is an International Baccalaureate MYP school that works to create a world of exploration for its students so that they may discover new ideas, express themselves, and be accepted by others. The Mesa Middle School Drama program’s mission is to provide a creative outlet where students, teachers, and families can work and communicate. Mesa Middle School Drama sees theater as a great way for people of all ages to learn new things about themselves and the world around them. Students studying at Mesa Theatre are taught to believe that they can succeed at anything when they work as a team. The program works to illuminate the paths of its students: galvanizing, supporting, and challenging them as they ignite a connection between their passion and the arts. Inherent in all Mesa Theatre does is the belief that students who commit to their journey as lifelong learners will understand not only why their voice matters, but also how their words and actions – when cast in empathy – can change the world.
Mountain Ridge Middle School's Headstrong Theatre is dedicated to making the arts accessible and relevant to all students while fostering excellence in the pursuit of their individual creative endeavors. The group has enjoyed success at the 2017 Junior Theater Festival, JuniorThesCon in Denver, Colorado, and the Middle School National Theatre Celebration hosted by EdTA. At the 2017 iTheatrics Junior Theater Festival West, Mountain Ridge Middle School student Gabe Legg won a Freddie G Excellent Individual Performance by a Male award. Additionally, instructor Laurilea McDaniel was selected for the eighth annual “The Freddie G Fellowship.” Each year, Freddie G Fellows receive an all-expense-paid trip to New York City, complete with professional development, Broadway performances and unforgettable celebrations. In addition to the New York experience, each of the teachers’ organizations receive $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna Gershon to enhance their arts program and further the collaborative and inclusive spirit of producing a musical. The Freddie G Fellowship is underwritten by Music Theatre International Chairman and Broadway Junior founder Freddie Gershon, and his wife, Myrna.