WHAT IS 'JONI & THE WHALE'? Who gets to tell your story? Your family, your faith, your friends? Does the past dictate your future? Can you fight Fate? These are the questions Joni must answer, before her life gets swallowed up.
The film JONI & THE WHALE is a contemporary musical adaptation of the scriptural tale from The Book of Jonah. Our modern-day Joni is a freshman in college, trapped between the omnipresent traditions of an overbearing father and the longing to follow in her late-mother’s sorority footsteps. Yet when forced to choose, Joni runs away, determined to write her own story. Her search for freedom and independence leads Joni on a ‘Whale’ of an adventure, full of colorful college characters, mysterious mishaps, and divine self-discovery. In the end, her biblical journey reveals a simple truth: no one writes their story alone; we tell the tale together.
The piece has been developed in NYC with the best of Broadway, including: -Star of ANASTASIA, Christy Altomare -Star of DEAR EVAN HANSEN, Laura Dreyfuss -Actor in BRING IT ON and SPIDERMAN: TURN OFF THE DARK, Jason Gotay
Now, Young Actors Theatre is working closely with the lead commercial producer on this piece, Joni Film LLC, as well as exciting executive producers, Broadway star Caissie Levy (Elsa in Disney’s FROZEN) and Christy Altomare (Anastasia in ANASTASIA.)
FALL SEMESTER 2022 YAT Students have been immersed in master classes and workshops to learn how a movie musical gets made from every angle, learning: —script structure —cinematography —music and lyrics —production management —art direction —public relations and marketing —acting for the camera —and much more… Students have also been learning about the many jobs/departments that collaborate to create a new work, such as: —Executive Producer —Line Producer —1st Assistant Director —Storyboard Artist —Musical Supervisor —Film Editor —Distributor —and so many more!
SPRING SEMESTER 2023 In Spring 2023, students will put their new skills to work in making the original movie musical, JONI & THE WHALE.
Students will have the opportunity to: A) take on specific production roles, working closely with the professional team to create the behind-the-scenes magic of JONI & THE WHALE. B) audition and start rehearsals for the many characters that make up the on-screen world of the Southern college town in, JONI & THE WHALE. C) work closely with YAT alums and the Tallahassee community who will also be involved.
MAY/JUNE 2023 Finally, in May/June 2023, we will rehearse and film the piece all across Tallahassee! Students, alums, and community members will work on set, behind the scenes, and star on camera to make this full length feature film.