A recent trip to Sacramento proved to be a great one for theater students representing The Riviera Ridge School in Santa Barbara.
After they got there and performed, they won a Freddie G Excellence in Ensemble Work award and earned other recognition at the 2023 Junior Theater Festival West.
The festival, which celebrates student-driven musical theater programs, took place Feb. 17-19 at the SAFE Credit Union Convention Center and the UC Davis Health Pavilion in Sacramento.
In addition to the ensemble recognition, Riviera Ridge student Tabitha Weller made it to the callback for a yet-to-be-announced video project, which will promote musicals in schools. Also, students Isabella Stovall and Naomi Boles were named Junior Theater Festival All-Stars.
At the festival, each group performed 15 minutes of a Broadway Junior musical for adjudicators, according to a news release.
The Riviera Ridge School students performed selections from Disney’s “The Little Mermaid Jr.” for the judges — Broadway actor Bob Lenzi; Cindy Ripley, senior education consultant at iTheatrics, and Kelby McIntyre-Martinez, associate dean for arts education and community engagement at the College of Fine Arts, University of Utah.
“This beautiful ensemble understood the message of the show,” Ms. Ripley said about Riviera Ridge students’ interpretation of “The Little Mermaid Jr.”
Added Ms. McIntyre-Martinez, “There were so many magical moments in Riviera Ridge School’s storytelling, including how they united their cast to create Ursula’s tentacles and the boat. Their characters were fantastic, and I admired this program’s ability to allow each young person a chance to shine.”
Mr. Lenzi agreed. “Riviera Ridge School’s ensemble supported the storytelling in such a compelling way. For example, the boat they created in ‘Under The Sea,’ really filled in the emotional and physical life of the scene. The students’ joy and commitment to working together shines through their performances.”