February 17 - 19, 2023 


Sacramento Convention Center

1400 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814


Shows being considered:

Madagascar JR, Beauty and the Beast JR, Newsies JR etc.


Current 6th - 9th graders who have participated in one or more shows/classes at PAA

What is JTF?

The Junior Theater Festival (JTF) is the world’s biggest and best celebration of young people performing musical theater! JTF brings together student musical theater troupes from all over the world for a weekend of musical theater mayhem and madness. Each troupe performs fifteen minutes from a Broadway Junior®️ show for adjudication by a panel of musical theater experts. The weekend also features workshops for students and parents, a New Works Showcase featuring new musical adaptations soon to be released and concludes with a grand finale concert headlined by Broadway’s best! JTF gives everyone who attends the opportunity to experience the transformative power of musical theater through watching performances, attending workshops and making connections with other musical theater groups from around the world. PAA will be taking 20 - 30 current 6th - 9th graders for this inaugural trip!

Want to learn more about JTF?



includes meals, costume pieces, 40 hours of artistic instruction & festival fees



Includes meals, t shirt, and festival fees


$1,100/student - includes meals, costume pieces, 40 hours of artistic instruction & festival fees*

$415/chaperone - includes meals, t shirt, and festival fees*

*does not include hotel or transportation costs


  • June 15: registration will open on PAA website
  • October 1: Student Registration Deadline 
    • First payment due upon registration. Monthly installments for student and chaperone(s) participating to be completed by October 1st.
  • October 8: Placement auditions
  • December - February: rehearsals (exact schedule TBD)
  • Friday, February 17th, 2023 - Monday, February 20th, 2023: JTF FESTIVAL!


Melanie Kirkpatrick

Melanie Kirkpatrick

Artistic Director

Madeline Shaffer

Madeline Shaffer

Resident Dance Director

Katie Ried

Katie Ried

Resident Acting Director

Frequently Asked Questions

When and where is the Junior Theater Festival?

Dates: February 17 - 19, 2023 

Location: Sacramento Convention Center - 1400 J St, Sacramento, CA 95814

Shows being considered: Madagascar JR, Beauty and the Beast JR, Newsies JR etc.

Directors: Artistic Director Melanie Kirkaptrick, Resident Dance Director Madeline Shaffer, Resident Music Director Katie Reid. 


Who can participate?

JTF festival is open to: current 6th - 9th graders who have participated in one or more shows/classes at PAA


When would the rehearsal take place?

September 1: Student Registration Deadline

October 8: Placement auditions

December - February: approx. 40 hours of rehearsal/training (exact schedule TBD)

*Maximum of 3 absences for rehearsals. Conflicts must be communicated in writing asap.


Cost and payment schedule

PAA requires that every child has a chaperone. There can be 1 chaperone per 3 students.

  • $1,100/student - includes meals, costume pieces, 40 hours of artistic instruction & festival fees*
  • $415/chaperone - includes meals, t shirt, and festival fees*

*does not include hotel or transportation costs

*Festival fees cover entry to all JTF 2023 activities including Adjudication, New Works Showcase, Concerts, Workshops for kids, staff and parents, the Disney Dance Party for Kids and Pop Up Concert for Parents, JTF T-Shirt and Playbill. 


Chaperone/Family Participation:

  • Anyone who purchases a wristband is welcome to attend all festival activities. No one will be admitted into ANY part of the festival without a wristband (including adjudication, concerts, workshops).
  • Parents ARE able to chaperone their child and NOT attend the festival activities.


What 's the timeline?

  • June 15: registration will open on PAA website
  • October 1: Student Registration Deadline 
    • First payment due upon registration. Monthly installments for student and chaperone(s) participating to be completed by October 1st
  • October 8: Placement auditions
  • December - February: rehearsals (exact schedule TBD)
  • Friday, February 17th, 2023 - Monday, February 20th, 2023: JTF FESTIVAL!



Please contact Melanie Kirkpatrick, Artistic Director, for more information! melanie@paacolorado.org


  1. Festival Hotel for 3 nights

    PAA will reserve rooms with either the Hyatt Regency (1209 L Street. Sacramento, CA) or the Sheraton Grand Sacramento Hotel (1230 J St, Sacramento, CA). Exact prices TBD

    You are not required to stay at the hotel. You can do Airbnb, another hotel, stay with friends or family in the area, etc... If you do decide to go with our hotel, we encourage families to share rooms to cut down on costs.


    Flights and ground transportation

    Round trip flight or driving to Sacramento, CA is each person’s responsibility. All students, parents, and chaperones are responsible for booking their own flights or using their miles and arriving in Sacramento by Friday, February 17th. It’s fun for the families to travel together and shared ground transportation is cost effective to and from the airport.

    Meals and snacks

    PAA will work with families to provide meals for the weekend. We will provide healthy breakfasts, lunches, dinner and snacks for students and chaperones. Allergies and dietary needs will be discussed ahead of time and honored.


  2. What is the JTF schedule?



    Festival Kick-Off 8:00 AM 

    Adjudications 8:45 AM 

    Lunch (on your own) 1:15 PM 

    All-Festival Music Workshop 3:00 PM 

    Student and Teacher Workshops 4:00 PM 

    Dinner (on your own) 5:45 PM 

    New Works Showcase 8:00 PM 



    Choreography Video Callbacks 8:00 AM 

    JTF All-Stars Workshop 8:00 AM

    Growin’ Up Broadway: LIVE! 9:30 AM 

    Student and Teacher Workshops 11:00 AM 

    Tech Olympics 11:00 AM

    Lunch (on your own) 12:45 PM 

    There’s A Place For Us 2:30 PM 

    Freddie G Awards Ceremony 3:30 PM 

    Dinner (on your own) 5:00 PM 

    JTF Headliner Concert 8:00 PM

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John Boggs

John Boggs is a pianist, composer and vocalist based currently in Thornton, Colorado. He holds a DMA in Composition from the University of Colorado Boulder, a M.M. in Composition from the University of Michigan and a B.F.A. from Bard College. Previous piano instructors include German Diez and MaryAnn Griebling. He taught students of all ages and experience during his undergraduate and graduate studies.

At Bard College he studied voice with tenor Rufus Müller. He has sung such roles as Jamie in The Last Five Years, The Lecturer in Reefer Madness, and El Gallo in The Fantasticks. He teaches repertoire in the genres of musical theater, art song, pop and opera. He currently is a Choral Pro for both the Ars Nova singers and the St. John’s Episcopal Compline Choir. In 2016, John co-founded Renaissance and Contemporary a cappella group, Solis, to promote new works from local and national composers.

His music direction includes Pippin and Rocky Horror Picture Show with the Bard Musical Theater Company. In 2017 he music directed Centerstage Theater Company’s production of Godspell, and most recently their 2021 production of Theory of Relativity.

He has had composition premiers by such groups as the American Symphony Orchestra, University of Michigan’s Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Choir, DaCapo Chamber Players, Ars Nova Singers, the Columbine Chorale, 303 Children’s Choir (now Vocal Coalition), the Chamber Music Society of Ohio, and new music ensemble Contemporaneous. He is the co-founder/co-writer as well as the keyboardist and vocalist for experimental rock band Fifth Veil, and is delving into the world of film and interactive game scoring.

He also has experience teaching students with developmental disabilities. He provided accompaniment for Tapestry Theater’s productions of Elf, School House Rocks and Shrek Jr. He was previously employed with Imagine’s CORE day program, where he instructed group music classes using midi over wifi to create the feeling of being in a band and orchestra.



Amy Arpan

Amy Arpan has worked professionally as an actress, show host, variety artist, improviser, fight choreographer, clown, and director for 22 years.

She is represented by Radical Artists Agency, and you may have seen her competing in the ‘Dish Network Challenge’ and zooming along on an electric scooter in the ‘Colorado Lottery’ Commercials.

Past local credits include Ella Enchanted at the Arvada Center; Mrs. Soames in Our Town at Miners Alley; the Conductor and Engineer in The Polar Express; Madame Volange in Les Liaisons Dangereuses at Miners Alley; Characters in Crisis for the Colorado Police Departments; and directing Fright Fest and the Summer Illusion Shows at Elitch Gardens. She is also a local weekly Trivia and Bingo Host.

Favorite out of State Credits and Clients
include: Nickelodean, Royal Caribbean,
Disney Cruise Lines, & Cedar Fair Theme Parks , Shakespeare Carolina, ChickSpeare, The Children’s Theatre of Charlotte,.

In addition to Clowning around with her Ringling Brother’s Circus School training, she is also fond of Juggling, Improv-ing, Performing Magic, Balloon Twisting, Lip Print Reading, Stilt Walking, Mascot work, Puppeteering, Show Hosting, and Character Roaming. She has been the owner and principal performer for Amy Arpan’s Illusions And Confusions since its founding in 1998.

Katie Reid

Resident Acting Director

Katie is thrilled to be returning to her beautiful home state of Colorado after 15 years away performing and teaching professionally in NYC and Chicago. Katie holds a BFA in Musical Theater from The University of Oklahoma. In Chicago, Katie taught and directed in several performing arts programs, directing/music directing over 20 shows with ages K - 12, including multiple pilot productions with MTI and Disney theatricals. She also worked in events and development at American Theater Company and as Production Manager for the award-winning program, BRAVO Performing Arts, in Oak Park. Theater credits include the National Tours of South Pacific (Nellie Forbush), 'S Wonderful (Jane), and Annie (Ronnie Boylan). Regional theater: Nunsense (Sister Robert Ann), Last Five Years (Cathy), Marvelous Wonderettes (Missy), Princess and the Pea (Queen u/s), Land of Forgotten Toys (Queen), Full Monty (Pam), Ordinary Days (Claire), Broadway: The Big Band Years (featured singer), Sweeney Todd, and The Who's Tommy. She is excited to be a part of the PAA staff!



Kathryn Dudley

Kathryn Dudley is a dancer, instructor, choreographer, and stage manager based in Denver. She attained her Bachelor of Arts in both Dance and Theatre from Gustavus Adolphus College where she received the Distinguished Dance Student Award and graduated with honors. Originally from Minnesota, Kathryn has worked with various theatres around the Twin Cities such as Children’s Theatre Company, SteppingStone Theatre for Youth Development, and Daytripper’s Dinner Theatre. Some of Kathryn’s favorite performances were with ...and Company, of which she is a founding member. Along with the 4 other founding members, Kathryn choreographed, directed, produced, and performed in 2 shows for the MN Fringe Festival. Her work has also been featured in shows by Minneapolis Ballet Dancers, Zenon’s Zone Program, Sarah Hauss, and COHORTS. Kathryn is a company member, resident choreographer, and production manager for 21/40 Productions where she enjoys exploring every facet of the performing arts. As an educator, Kathryn is passionate about sharing dance with people from all walks of life and lives by Alvin Ailey’s famous words: "Dance is for Everybody”.

Jennifer Lillibridge

Jennifer Lillibridge came to Colorado from Los Angeles where she earned her BA in Theater Arts and Directing at Occidental College. For several years after college she was a proud member of Actors Equity and worked throughout the Greater Los Angeles area as an equity production stage manager and scenic artist for several prominent theater companies. Since moving to Colorado, Jennifer has been at D’Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School as their theater program’s director and costume designer. She and her husband Adam, enjoy creating stories and having wild adventures with their daughter Juniper and two dogs.

Jennifer Maggi

Jennifer Maggi grew up dancing in Orange County, California at the Pacific School of Ballet from the age of 5 to 18. Throughout her years there, she trained in Ballet, Pointe, Jazz, Lyrical/Contemporary, and Tap. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from California State University, Fullerton with an emphasis in Ballet and Modern. While completing her degree, Jennifer performed and choreographed for numerous professional dance shows and showcases as well as participated in the Limon Dance Intensive under Collin Connor. After graduating, Jennifer returned to Cal State Fullerton to choreograph the BFA Musical Theatre main stage productions of Andrew Lippa’s Wild Party, and Cry Baby. In 2014, Jennifer was cast as a performer at the Disneyland Resort in Anaheim, California where she danced and portrayed famous Disney characters in the Pixar Play Parade, Paint the Night Parade, The Frightfully Fun Parade, and The Christmas Fantasy Parade. She moved to Denver in May 2019 and is so excited to join the team at PAA and share her passion for dance with her students.

Jana Wesson

Jana Wesson is thrilled to be back at PAA! As a former alumni, Jana is excited to be continuing with PAA as a staff of the outreach program. Since her last show in 2013 Jana has gone on to do community theatre at the Pace Center and Wesley Players Theatre Company, starring in shows such as Singin’ In The RainMary Poppins, The Music Man and many more!

McKensey Struzik

McKensey graduated from Point Park University’s Conservatory of Performing Arts with a BA in Acting and a Minor in Musical Theatre in 2016.  Since, she has taught children’s theatre at various studios in Virginia as well as in Colorado.  She has taught dance, private voice and group acting classes as well as choreographed, music directed many productions.  She has tap danced for 17 years and had the opportunity to study under tap dancers such as Savion Glover, Chloe Arnold, Maude Arnold, and Jason Janas.  She is thrilled to teach tap with PAA this year and can’t wait to get started.

Aria Faddis

Aria Faddis grew up in Boise, Idaho, and moved to Colorado in 2017. She began dancing at age twelve and has since discovered how much she loves to share her love of dance with children. Aria has a BFA in Dance with an emphasis in teaching from the University of Montana and spent one season dancing with Off Center Dance Company in Boise before relocating to Colorado.  Aria currently teaches at studios across the Denver Metro area as well as working as a choreographer for D'Evelyn Jr./Sr. High School. When she is not dancing, Aria is visiting as many National Parks as possible and enjoying exploring all Colorado has to offer.

Darin Drown

Darin Drown is in his 18th year teaching choir at Grandview High school in Aurora, CO in the Cherry Creek School District, and 30th year of teaching.  His choirs have consistently received the highest ratings at festivals around the United States and have been featured performers at the Colorado Music Educator’s convention several times.  In addition, Darin directed the 120-man Sound of the Rockies barbershop chorus to 7 medalist performances in international competition in the Barbershop Harmony Society, reaching as high as 3rd place.  Darin has traveled all over the world coaching men’s and women’s acapella quartets and choruses.  He also sings in Storm Front, the 2010 International Champion barbershop quartet.  He has been named Teacher of the Year in two different schools over his career, as well as a District Teacher of the Year.  He took over directing responsibilities for the Velvet Hills Show Chorus in Colorado Springs for the past three years.

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Marie Snyder is so excited to be returning to PAA! She has been teaching musical theatre and dance for over 8 years at studios in New York City and across the country. She shares her passion for creativity and self-expression in the classroom and on the stage. Rachel has performed internationally as a vocalist with Aida Cruise Lines and regionally in roles such as Sherrie in Rock of Ages and Maggie in 42nd St. She continues her lifelong training in dance, acting, and theatre in New York, and loves to pass on her knowledge to the next generation of young artists.

Andrew McGlothen

Andrew McGlothen is thrilled to be back for his 2nd summer with PAA. Originally from Texas, Andrew has been fabricator, scenic painter, director and actor for over a decade. He’s had the privilege to work for companies like the Arvada Center for Arts and Humanities, Rocky Mountain Theatre for Kids, Denver Comic Con, Visionbox Studio and many others. If you need something designed or created, he’s your guy. When not working in theatre Andrew is a Graphic Designer and coffee snob. He’d like to thank his husband and dogs for the support and PAA for the opportunity!”


Steph Holmbo

Steph Holmbo is an actress, dancer, singer, poet, creatoe. Steph received her BFA from New York University's Atlantic Theatre Company and worked off-broadway with the dance company Mitra Dance Collective for 3 years. Since moving to Denver she has performed at several theaters including Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, Miners Alley Playhouse, Town Hall Arts Center, and originated roles in two world premiere musicals with Mitch Samu. In 2020, Steph wrote and performed in her one-woman show and again, creating a story around how we listen in a world where everyone is talking. Steph is passionate about storytelling, justice, and finding hope in especially difficult situations. www.stephholmbo.com

Melanie Ware

Melanie has been with PAA as their Properties Master for six years and teaching classes for five. Melanie received her BA in Theatre from the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs in May of 2016. Between Acting, Directing and Properties Design she has roughly 12 years of theatrical experience. Favorite PAA design credits include: You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown!, Tarzan, Mary Poppins and The Addams Family.




Stephanie Hesse

Stephanie is thrilled to join PAA, and is very proud of this group of talented kids!  With a BA in both Theatre and Dance from Colorado Mesa University,  Stephanie has performed with Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Ensemble, Avatar Movement Dance Company, and in several musicals in the Denver area including 9 to 5, 42nd Street, Crazy For You, and West Side Story. Choreography credits include: A Gentleman’s Guide To Love And Murder, Hello Dolly!, She Loves Me, 13: The Musical, and Disney’s Mary Poppins Jr.

Melanie Kirkpatrick

Artistic Director

Melanie has worked with PAA in various capacities since 2015 and served as producer and director for the Wesley Players since 2013. She has a Bachelors in Theatre from Willamette University in Salem, Ore., and also studied at the American Conservatory Theatre in San Francisco. With a strong background in theatre education, administration and corporate event production, Melanie is thrilled to join the team at PAA. Thank you to the amazing Board, staff, parent and student community.




Madeline Shaffer

Resident Dance Director

Madeline Shaffer grew up teaching and performing with her local studio in southern Illinois. She went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in Dance from Jacksonville University and then began working in NYC. While there, she choreographed the Off Broadway production of By Jupiter, worked for 2 years with the cult classic production of 420: The Musical, performed in a national tour, choreographed and directed a new musical, performed in front of the UN, and worked with several high schools and children’s programs choreographing shows and teaching classes. These high school programs include Stagedoor Manor where she has spent her summers choreographing for the past 6 years. While there she was able to work directly with the writer of Evil Dead the Musical to develop the World Premiere of a high school version for that show.  She has choreographed over 30 musical theatre productions and has over 10 years of teaching experience. She moved to Denver in September of 2019 and she is overjoyed to be the new Director of Dance for PAA.