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Graves Central Elementary Drama Players earn notice for Atlanta show

Graves County Central Elementary School presented Annie Jr. in the district’s Performing Arts Center in April 2011. It’s a condensed version of the legendary Broadway play Annie, which, in turn, is based on the 1930s comic strip and radio show Little Orphan Annie. Teachers Patsy Riley and Amy Murphey took eight students from that cast to the 2012 Junior Theater Festival the weekend of Jan. 13-15 in Atlanta, Ga.

Central won the festival’s top team “Spirit Award,” despite the fact that its eight performers constituted one of the smallest groups in attendance.  The next smallest group was in excess of 30 members.

More than 3,000 students from across the country competed and participated in theater workshops with Broadway producers, writers and actors.

 “The students presented an adjudicated performance of Annie scenes and songs and participated in many other events such as impromptu performances and drama workshops,” Riley explained.

“It was an outstanding trip and a tremendous opportunity for our students,” Murphey added.

An article from Broadwayworld.com praises the young actors, saying: “Students from Central Drama Players in Mayfield, Kentucky, won the Freddie G Broadway Junior Spirit Award, the festival’s top award given to the group that most embodies the spirit of educational musical theatre.” (From http://broadwayworld.com/article/2012-Junior-Theater-Festival-Winners-Schools-Announced-20120116).

A co-founder of the festival wrote to the Central group sponsors in an email: “You won the Spirit Award because of two equally important factors: the attitude and approach of your kids exemplify in what we are trying to accomplish with the festival and your personal initiative and commitment is a shining example of what we need more of in America’s schools if we are to succeed in planting and maintaining viable musical theater programs at the elementary and middle school ages.”

A bonus with the award is an all-expenses-paid trip for a representative of the school to New York this summer to train with Broadway directors.

Learn more at JTF@theatrics.com.

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