iTheatrics, the theatrical organization who helped create Tams-Witmark’s Young Performers’ Editions (YPEs), recently received the Standing Ovation Award from the Educational Theatre Association. The award was developed to recognize a corporation or organization that makes significant contributions to theatre education on the national level through its philanthropy and/or programming and activities.
Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) Executive Director Julie Cohen Theobald presented the award to iTheatrics founder Timothy Allen McDonald. Cohen Theobald praised iTheatrics for its involvement in developing theater programs in underserved schools, calling it “a company who supports and gives back to the field of theatre education.”Under McDonald’s leadership, iTheatrics works to ensure kids everywhere experience the transformative power of musical theatre. They do this by:
- Adapting Broadway musicals for performance by elementary, middle and high school students.
- Building intuitive teaching resources that guarantee educators have a successful experience producing one of our shows.
- Creating study guides and innovative educational programs for Broadway shows.
- Creating new musicals for family audiences.
- Constantly researching and developing the absolute best practices that allow educators to create successful, cost-effective and sustainable musical theater programs.
Since 2006, iTheatrics has worked with clients like Tams-Witmark in adapting shows for schools and camps, and creating and designing theater resources for teachers. So far, they have helped Tams-Witmark create YPEs of ANYTHING GOES, BYE BYE BIRDIE, CRAZY FOR YOU and THE WIZARD OF OZ. (Upcoming projects include a Young Performers’ Edition of 42ND STREET and a High School Edition of A CHORUS LINE.)
We start on paper by abridging a musical for a shorter running time, making the score fit young voices, and ensuring the content is age appropriate. Next, the musical enters the workshop phase where the fun really begins! A draft is tested in the Junior Theater Academy, a workshop environment where we figure out the best ways to direct the show with young performers. In rehearsals, we get the opportunity to cater the show specifically to kids’ needs, in real time.
Each rehearsal process culminates in a staged-reading performance for the show’s authors and owners, as well as the performers’ families and teachers. After the final reading, we regroup with the show’s authors and continue to tinker away in search of the perfect adaptation and score. Then we start getting the show ready for licensing by creating the set of resources included in all of our adaptations, including rehearsal and performance CDs and choreography DVDs.
Each title goes through several rounds of editing to make sure the show is perfect in every page. The show is then made available to license! From start to finish, it takes us about two-and-a-half years to adapt a show and get it into the hands of kids and teachers. It’s a whole lot of work, but we know that when a script finally reaches the hands of a student, it’s worth it.
In addition to creating Young Performers’ Editions of great musicals, iTheatrics also helps promote musicals in many other ways: They produce the annual Junior Theater Festival in Atlanta, Georgia and Sacramento, California. They conduct weekend-long Junior Teaching Intensives in New York and other cities. They host Broadway Junior Celebrations, in which school groups perform selections from their productions, and students and teachers participate in interactive workshops. Their Make A Musical initiative has helped create hundreds of new musical theater programs throughout the country, and their Turnaround Arts program uses the arts to increase student engagement and improve the cultural climate in the country’s highest poverty schools.
Tams-Witmark is thrilled to partner with iTheatrics, and we applaud them for this well-deserved honor. Congratulations, iTheatrics!