Contest announced in May 2021 and winners were announced June 1, 2021...

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TO RAISE AWARENESS OF SOCIAL BULLYING!

contestants Lip-synched to the cast recording of Broadway world award-wiNning musical "IT's easy!"

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WHAT IS SOCIAL BULLYING?

 

It's the kind of bullying that involves hurting someone's reputation or relationships - on purpose. It's also called "Covert Bullying" because it's often done behind the victim's back, such as spreading rumors, lies, gossip and graffiti to embarrass and harm someone's reputation. The public humiliation caused by Social Bullying can be done in person or virtually, too, by mimicking someone unkindly, not allowing a victim to be part of the group, telling friends not to talk to them, purposely telling other kids the victim is not good enough to join. It's a fact... "social pain" tends to produce the most severe stress and the strongest emotional reaction. Social Bullying accounts for at least 18% of all bullying cases.

ABOUT THE BATTLE SONG: "ONCE FRIENDS"

The musical number "ONCE FRIENDS" that is selected for you to lip sync is from the 8x Broadway World Award-winning show, "IT'S EASY! The Friend Strong Musical" co-written by January Akselrad & Jennifer Young, with music & lyrics by January Akselrad. "Once Friends" is a duet sung by former best friends in middle school. STACEY is working through a lot of hurt because her best friend, MONICA, has just dumped her for the girls that bully her. Monica is trying to figure out who she is and where she belongs. She just cast aside her best friend of forever, STACEY, to become one of the “cool” kids on the Cheer Squad. As long as she can remember, Monica and Stacey have been inseparable. But as bullying increased towards Stacey, Monica found herself also a target. Monica jumped at the opportunity to “get with” the popular girls and now bullies Stacey too under peer pressure. Truth is, Monica will never fit in with the cool kids and will never find a better friend than Stacey.

Play or Download "Once Friends" here...

Or listen on Youtube. Lyrics written in video description, too!

WE REMAIN FOREVER GRATEFUL TO THE MUSIC AND BROADWAY VOLUNTEERS WHO TOOK TIME OUT TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE...

FINALIST JUDGES

In Alphabetical Order

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JANUARY AKSELRAD

Composer/Playwright/Educator  

January Akselrad has written over 100 curriculum and values-based plays and musicals. Co-written with Jennifer Young, January is the composer of the musical, “It’s Easy!” (including "Once Friends") and was the director of the professional production in 2017 which garnered eight Broadway World Awards.  Her other musical works include the award-winning, Lost in the Library and Matzah & Miracles, a Passover Musical as well as the teaching primer, Classroom Teacher as Theater Director.  Believing that what children learn through theater they never forget, January focuses on using drama as a tool to reach the experiential learner and to create theater pieces that teach required curriculum in an entertaining way. Over the years, January has used her creativity as a writer and performer to produce fundraising and awareness-raising events for philanthropic entities. She divides her time between Hudson Valley New York and Southern California and is currently pursuing a Masters in Education.

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JENNIFER GAMBATESE

Broadway Actor

JENN GAMBATESE was most recently starring on Broadway as “Miranda Hillard” in Mrs. Doubtfire.  She also starred on Broadway in School of Rock, Is He Dead?, Tarzan, All Shook Up, Hairspray, A Year With Frog & Toad, and Footloose.  She has traveled the country by bubble as “Glinda” in Wicked and lived her best Rodgers & Hammerstein life as "Maria" in The Sound of Music and "Carrie Pipperidge" in Carousel, both at The Lyric Opera of Chicago.  On television she has guest starred on Law & Order SVU and The Good Wife, appeared at many of the finest Off Broadway and Regional theaters, sung with some of the country's greatest symphony orchestras, and taught wonderful students all over the world!

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GWEN LASTER

Violinist/Composer/Educator

Gwen Laster is an internationally acclaimed musician. A recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts, Jubilation foundation, Puffin foundation, Arts Mid Hudson, Lila Wallace and the Cognac Hennessey 1st place Jazz Search. Her influences come from the Motor City's music culture, her parents love of jazz, blues, soul and classical music and her progressive music teachers from Detroit's public schools. Laster relocated to NYC after earning two music degrees from the UMich School of Music. Her collaborations  with internationally-known artists include Anthony Braxton, Nona Hendryx, Aretha Franklin, Wadada Leo Smith, William Parker, Danny Elfman, Sun Ra Arkestra, Tyler the Creator, Gladys Knight, Emeline Michel, Andrea Bocelli, David Foster, Alicia Keys, Rhianna, Shaggy, Andrew Lamb, Natalie Cole, Solange, Mark Anthony, J Lo and Shakira at President Obama’s Inaugural Neighborhood Ball. Her original music projects include- Blue Lotus/New Muse4tet/string quartet, Gameboard/global fusion and  her educational program Creative Strings Improvisers Ensemble.  gwenlaster.com

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BT McNICHOLL

Director/Producer/Writer 

BT has been a member of the creative team for 12 Broadway plays and musicals, including the Tony-winning hits SPAMALOT, CABARET and BILLY ELLIOT, as the Associate Director for luminaries James Lapine, Jerry Zaks, Stephen Daldry, David Hare, Sam Mendes, Rob Marshall and the legendary Mike Nichols. International credits include staging the European premiere of THE PRODUCERS for Mel Brooks, a new play at London's Menier Chocolate Factory, and winning the 2003 Helpmann Award (Australia's Tony Award) for Best DIrection.  Regional credits in the U.S. include hit productions for the Goodspeed Opera House (2004 Best Musical), Walnut Street Theatre, Ogunquit Playhouse (2014 Moss Hart Award) and the Maltz Jupiter Theatre. He is a BMI-Award winning lyricist whose musical THE IT GIRL was presented Off-Broadway and has a cast album published by Samuel French. His other musicals have toured the U.S. and played Madison Square Garden. In family entertainment, he directed WINNIE THE POOH for Disney/Feld (7 year international tour) and won 3 international awards for his shows presented at Busch Gardens and its sister venues. He was a Development Consultant for MGM's theatrical division and spent three years with the Shubert Organization.  He is currently Producing Artistic Director at the Tony-winning La Mirada Theatre in Los Angeles.

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EUAN MORTON

Broadway Actor

Euan Morton is Hamilton’s reigning King George III and he doesn't find it hard to do at all, despite being originally from Scotland! Euan was nominated for a slew of awards for his acclaimed 2003 portrayal of Boy George in both the West End and Broadway productions of Taboo, including Tony and Olivier Award nominations. He also starred on Broadway in Sondheim on Sondheim, and Cyrano de Bergerac alongside Jennifer Garner and Kevin Klein. Euan also spent a year in the heels of Hedwig in the national touring hit, Hedwig and the Angry Inch. His regional productions include Parade in Washington DC, Chess for Signature Theatre, and Brundibar for Berkeley Repertory Theatre. As well as singing concerts across the US and Europe, Euan is also thrilled to be gainfully employed in the world of video game and audiobook recording, including his voicing of the Sith Inquisitor in Star Wars – Knights of the Old Republic. Euan loves to connect with his fans for masterclasses, coachings, and self-confidence building of all stripes!

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LILI THOMAS

Broadway Actor

When Broadway shut down in March, Lili was last seen at The Tony Kiser Theatre in We’re Gonna Die (2ST). Other Off-Broadway credits include Only Human and The Hello Girls (Prospect Theater/Original Cast Album/Kennedy Center/Symphony Space). Select Regional: Lincoln Center, Kennedy Center, Milwaukee Rep, The Rev Theatre (formerly: FLMTF/MGR). Some of her favorite roles include Mimi (Rent), Fastrada (Pippin), Sheila (A Chorus Line), Marcy Park (Spelling Bee), Tuptim (The King & I), and The Woman (Blues In The Night). She is a proud member of Actors Equity and is represented by DGRW. Lili is also an active voice teacher and owner of www.suburbanbroadway.com - "bringing Broadway to the ‘burbs”. IG: lilithomas22

JUNIOR JUDGES

Junior Judges are all Official or Super Ambassadors of the Be A Friend Project. Five were cast members of the 2017 8x Broadway World Award-winning "IT'S EASY! The Friend Strong Musical" including the actors who performed "Once Friends" as STACEY and MONICA on stage or on the recorded track you will use for your lip sync video!

Aidan Duver
Aidan Duver

2017 Professional Cast "Jed" Recording artist on vocal reference tracks

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Kylie Hogan
Kylie Hogan

2017 Professional Cast "Taylor" Recording artist on vocal reference tracks

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Maggie Lockwood
Maggie Lockwood

2017 Professional Cast "Monica"

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Ziaire Mickell
Ziaire Mickell

BAFP Super Ambassador Conceptualized "Once Friends" Lip Sync Battle!

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Lauren Salomon
Lauren Salomon

2017 Professional Cast "Swing" Sings the part of "Monica" on Vocal Reference Track

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Brielle Withers
Brielle Withers

2017 Professional Cast "Stacey" Sings the part of "Stacey" on Vocal Reference Track

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