Poison Apple garners awards at junior theater festival

Poison Apple Productions, the theater company that provides performing arts experiences to youth and young adults, has earned five awards from the Junior Theater Festival, said Gina Roth, managing director and secretary of the company’s board of directors.

The Poison Apple Production’s cast of “Children of Eden” have earned honors at the Junior Theater Festival.

The awards are the New Works Showcase for the West Coast premiere of “The Children of Eden” at the Sacramento Junior Theater Festival West; Excellence in Ensemble Work to the Poison Apple Players, ages 10 to 14, for “Elf the Musical,” that played November 2017 at Lesher Center for the Arts, Walnut Creek; Excellence in Ensemble Work for Poison Apple Teens, those 11 to 18, for “Singin’ in the Rain” that ran Jan. 25-28 at the Lesher Center for the Arts; Outstanding Male Actor, to Nicholas Roth for his portrayal of “Buddy the Elf” in “Elf”: and Outstanding Male Actor, to Dawson McDonald for his portrayal of “Cosmo Brown” in “Singin’ in the Rain.”

All are junior versions of the musicals.

This isn’t the first time Poison Apple Productions has been honored at the festival. Last Yyear, Poison Apple Teens were recognized as an Outstanding Production for their work on “Fiddler on the Roof Jr.,” Roth said.

This year, 38 troupes from three continents, for more than 5,000 participants, entered the festival, Roth said.

Roth called the Junior Theater Festival (JTF) “the world’s biggest and best celebration of young people performing musical theater.

“JTF brings together student musical theater troupes from all over the world for a weekend of musical theater, mayhem and madness,” she said. “Each troupe performs 15 minutes from a Broadway Junior show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts.”

The festival offers professional development for teachers, workshops for students and parents, a New Works Showcase for new musical adaptations that would be released soon, and it concludes with a “grand finale” concert with Broadway headliners, she said.

Sponsors of the festival are Playbill, Disney Musicals and Music Theatre International.

Poison Apple Productions, a nonprofit organization, is 18 years old and produces more than 21 shows each year. More than 1,000 youth are impacted, whether on stage, in classes or as part of the audience, Roth said.

“Our mission is to promote increased participation and understanding of live theater by providing affordable performing arts education and enrichment experiences to youth and young adulst as well as affordable access to live theatre entertainment for members of the community, incoluding children, families, senior citizens and disabled persons,” Roth said.

“We are strongly committed to achieving these aims in a positive, supportive, respectful and safe environment that encourages learning, creativity and artistic self-expression for all participants, regardless of age, ability, gender, ethnic or social background.”

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