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Thunder Bay to Broadway and back again
Robert McKenzie
/ Categories: Arts, Paramount Live

Thunder Bay to Broadway and back again

local student works on a new show - Beetlejuice JR

NEW YORK, NEW YORK,  THUNDER BAY, ONTARIO  ~~~~~  July 20, 022  (LSNews) Jessica Smith is a student of Paramount Live who has just returned from New York after acting in a workshop production of the Broadway musical Beetlejuice JR.

“When first arriving at iTheatrics, I was extremely nervous as I didn’t know anyone there. But, by the end of the first day, I was friends with multiple individuals, had the privilege of getting cast as one of the leads (Delia), and I went out for dinner with my new peers,” said Smith. “Because of the outstanding direction of Candi and Lawrence Badanai at Paramount Live, I was well prepared to take on my first musical theatre challenge in New York City” said Jessica Smith describing her experience.

Students join iTheatrics every summer for the chance to workshop a brand-new adaptation of a musical in New York City.  Each summer, it’s a different lineup of titles that are workshopped to begin their journey of potentially becoming shows to be staged at schools across the world.

“From the intense choreo, to singing every single piece of a song, not just the melody, I was gaining so much knowledge about what it really takes to present a professional musical. iTheatrics’ outstanding staff and Guest Choreographer/Director Richard Frazier in the state-of-an-art facility made this an experience of a lifetime” said Smith.

Paramount Live has a strong connection with New York City as their creative leadership team trains extensively by participating in programs offered there. Artistic Director Candi Badanai and Producing Director Lawrence Badanai have worked a few years on becoming iTheatrics certified directors. The mission of iTheatrics is to ensure young people everywhere have access to quality musical theatre programs in their communities. They do this by legally adapting Broadway musicals for performance by elementary, middle, and high school students and creating intuitive teaching resources. This is why the iTheatrics programs were brought into the teaching style of Paramount Live a few years ago to ensure the best possible theatre teaching can be provided in Thunder Bay.

“To all my friends back home at Paramount Live, audition. I promise you will not regret what lies within the gem that this has been. To my wonderful cast members from all over the USA, in a short week, we went from friends to being family” said Jessica Smith with appreciation about her experience this summer at iTheatrics in New York.

Directors Candi and Lawrence Badanai are thrilled to have students from Paramount Live now participating and having the honour to go to New York and work on these shows. “We are extremely proud to see Jessica’s performance this past week and she represented the outstanding talent that we have not only in Thunder Bay, but for all of Canada (as she was the only Canadian selected).”

A new season of fall Paramount Live shows is in the planning stages and one day, they too hope to produce Beetlejuice JR here in Thunder Bay.

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