Jenny Morris and Megan Leben “take center stage” at the International Thespian Festival
(Megan Leben and Jenny Morris wear their Memphis t-shirts at the International Thespian Festival.)
This summer, Georgia Military College (GMC) Prep School’s Theatre and Dance Director, Jenny Morris, along with GMC Prep School graduate, Megan Leben, showcased their theatrical skills on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival. The festival was held on June 18-24 at the University of Nebraska and brings together thousands of middle and high school thespians to celebrate student achievement in the performing arts. 11 shows were selected for performance at the festival, but only 5 of those would be seen on the main stage. Morris and the Georgia Thespians All-State Cast and Crew were invited to perform at the International Thespian Festival. Morris served as the Director & Assistant Choreographer for their musical performance titled Memphis.
“The basic premise of that story is there is a white radio announcer during the 1950-60’s and he loves soul music,” said Jenny Morris. “He falls in love with a black, soul singer which at that time was taboo in Tennessee. The final song celebrates the theme of “never letting anyone steal your rock and roll.” I love working on the All-State Show because I have the opportunity to work with the best of the best and they are fantastic!”
Morris and her All-State cast performed Memphis earlier in the year at the Georgia Thespians Conference in February. 31 cast members and nine technicians from across the state were selected to perform at the conference. GMC Prep School graduate, Megan Leben, was one of those cast members chosen to perform. She’s the only student to represent GMC at the state conference and international festival. The cast rehearsed for nearly a year before their big debut at the International Thespian Festival. Between the state conference and international festival, the cast has performed for nearly 8,000 people.
“There’s nothing like finishing a show and hearing a roar so loud you can feel it in your chest,” said Megan Leben. “Moments like that are why I love performing so much. Days after we performed we had people coming up to us saying how incredible our performance was and how moving our story was. Memphis is very relevant to today, so to be able to impact so many people in two and a half hours was really rewarding.”
(Megan stands in the middle with her cast mates.)
Morris says the first time she met Megan she instantly recognized her talent as an impressive dancer. She says it’s been a joy working with her on Memphis and as her instructor at GMC. Leben expresses the same sentiment.
“Megan has a great work ethic and she represents herself, her parents, and GMC well,” said Morris. “I am very proud of her and I love watching her grow as a performer. She did a fantastic job!”
“I love having Jenny as my director,” said Leben. “She is amazing and has an incredible vision. She doesn’t let us come short of that vision. She pushed us to be our very best.”
(Megan "takes center stage" at the International Thespian Festival.)
For Morris’ next project, she will be performing in the role of Cassie and choreographing “A Chorus Line” at the Plaza Arts Center in Eatonton presented by The Putnam Alliance for the Performing Arts at the end of July.
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