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Lanai students win national awards at Junior Theater Festival West

HONOLULU (KHON2) - Lanai Academy of Performing Arts in Lanai City won national awards and earned the festival's top recognition at the 2019 Junior Theater Festival West,  at the Sacramento Convention Center and the Wells Fargo Pavilion in Sacramento.  The Junior Theater Festival West united more than 2,000 students and educators from 44 educational musical theater groups representing 15 states and South Korea.

Lanai Academy of Performing Arts's educator Matt Glickstein was awarded The Broadway Junior Spirit award, one of the highest honors an individual can receive at the Junior Theater Festival. It is given to a person who has shown that a musical is much more than just a performance - it is an opportunity to make a positive, life-long impact on a young person's life.

He will receive an all-expense paid trip to New York City, complete with professional development, Broadway performances and unforgettable celebrations as well as $5,000 from Freddie and Myrna Gershon to enhance the Lanai Academy of Performing Arts arts program. 

Lanai Academy of Performing Arts also won a Freddie G Award for Excellence in Acting.

The Lanai Academy of Performing Arts students presented selections from Shrek The Musical JR. for Broadway actress Jenifer Foote (Tootsie, Hello Dolly!), composer, music director and orchestrator, Deborah Wicks La Puma (Elephant and Piggie's: We Are In A Play, Frida Libre). 

Lanai Academy of Performing Arts students Adam Purdy and Alekah Pascua 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 2,000 festival attendees.

Produced by the Junior Theater Group in partnership with iTheatrics, a leading educational theater company that creates innovative experiences and products for the public and private sector, the Junior Theater Festival West and its sister festival, the Junior Theater Festival Atlanta, are the world's largest festival celebrating young people and the transformative power of musical theater. This year's title sponsors were Music Theatre International, Disney Theatrical Group, and Playbill, Inc®. The 2019 Junior Theater Festival Atlanta united 6,600+ students and educators from 133 educational musical theater groups representing 28 states, Australia, China, New Zealand, and the U.K.  The Junior Theater Festival was founded in 2003. In 2010 the festival became an annual event. In 2017 iTheatrics launched the inaugural Junior Theater Festival West.

The Lanai Academy of Performing Arts (also known as LAPA), is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located on the island of Lanai, with a population of only 3,000 people.  LAPA was founded by Matt Glickstein in 2013.  As the only after school performing arts program on Lanai, LAPA's primary focus and long term goal is to create contributing members of society that have self-confidence and know how to work together.

LAPA brought a diverse group of 19 students to the Junior Theater Festival to perform Shrek the Musical JR., with ages ranging from 8-18 years old.  Many of these children had never left Hawaii, and -according to the group's educators -- were all extremely excited to be attending! The group was the first group of students from Hawaii to ever attend a Junior Theater Festival.

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