Asheville Arts Center’s Academy students won big in the 2011 National Junior Theatre Festival again this year!  Their production of PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Jr took BEST OVERALL ACTING, and 14 year-old Connor Dalton took the BEST OVERALL ACTOR award!  Their production of INTO THE WOODS, Jr, took BEST OVERALL MUSIC DIRECTION, and 13 year-old Lincoln Belford took the best OVERALL ACTOR award!  It was a remarkable weekend, as the students competed against two thousand other students from around the United States and Canada.
PIRATES OF PENZANCE, Jr Director/Choreographer Ann Mahoney Kadar said, “The greatest compliment we received throughout the weekend was actually unrelated to our kids’ talent.  The festival’s team remarked on numerous occasions that the humility, and team spirit the Asheville Arts Center’s Academy display is exemplary.  So, they have the talent, but also the heart.  I could not be more proud of them!”
Asheville Arts Center’s Academy is an after-school conservatory program for young artists ages 7 to 18.  Students take a dance class, a voice class, and an acting class weekly, in a prestigious curriculum, which touches on most major forms of acting, dance, and voice technique.  Students also rehearse 4 hours each week for the Academy theatrical productions. 
In addition, cast members Ruby Neu (age 10) ,Tim Bates (age 12), Julia Williams (age 12), and Kevin Foster (age 12) were nominated for the ALL-STARS, an exclusive group of outstanding performers from the weekend’s festival!  Lincoln Belford is also a finalist in the competition to be a featured dancer on the next Choreography DVD to be filmed in New York City.
On the heels of this competition, Music Theatre International has asked the Asheville Arts Center’s Academy students to perform the WORLD PREMIERE of FINIAN’S RAINBOW, Jr.  They begin rehearsals for the production this week, and will perform it in May.  Representatives from Music Theatre International, who are working Broadway professionals, will fly down from New York City to work with the cast midway through the rehearsal process, and will attend the premiere. 
For questions or more information, please contact Ann Mahoney Kadar, Drama Department Director, at, 828-253-4000.

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