High School Students Take Center Stage

High School Students Take Center Stage

School may be out for summer, but theatre education rarely takes a break - as proven at both the recent International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska and the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York, NY. High School performers took center stage at both venues, showcasing their craft and talents, participating in immersive masterclasses - and reminding everyone of the importance and power of Educational Theatre. 

International Thespian Festival

Each year thousands of student thespians bring their passion and promise to the International Thespian Festival. The 2017 Festival occurred June 19 - June 24, organized by our friends at the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) and hosted by the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. Students and educators participated in a weeklong, all-theatre encompassing experience: from acting, singing and dancing - to writing, technical training, and performances. Culminating in an unforgettable week filled with new knowledge, new memories, and new lifelong thespian friends. 

2017 Thespian Festival Opening Number - Honoring MTI Authors Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty 

Why do you tell the story? Kicking off the festival this year was an opening number in homage to the Tony Award-Winning creative team of Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty. These MTI Authors have inspired students and adults alike in a joint career spanning nearly 30 years. Together, they have created such perennial classics as Ragtime, Once On this Island and Seussicaland their most recent collaboration, the stage version of their hit film Anastasia, is currently wowing audiences on Broadway at the Broadhurst Theatre eight times a week. We hope Ahrens and Flaherty never stop telling the story. 

Other shows featured throughout the week included: Sweeney Todd,  the upcoming West Side Story School Edition, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, 1776Peter and the Starcatcher, Madagascar, Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Disney's Beauty and the Beast

National High School Musical Theatre Awards

Affectionately referred to as The Jimmy Awards - in honor of the celebrated Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander - the National High School Musical Theatre Awards celebrate high school performers from across the United States.

The 9th Annual Jimmy Awards were presented on June 26, 2017 at the Minskoff Theatre, hosted by Tony Award-winning Dear Evan Hansen actor Ben Platt.

The talented actors and actresses arrived at this jam-packed week already winners, having regionally secured their Best Acting Performance titles. The week leading up to the grand prize award ceremony provided the students with masterclasses instructed by industry professionals - honing their award winning performances into a show-stopping showcase. The 74 nominated students from 37 regional programs were then narrowed down to 8 finalists, gunning for the Best Acting Grand Prize.   

Broadway's Biggest Night - For Teenagers. - The New York Times

After an incredible night of medleys showing off their award winning performances, two spectacular students were awarded the Grand Prize. Sofia Deler was awarded Best Actress for her performance as Woman #1 in Jason Robert Brown's Songs for a New World followed by her solo song "She Used to Be Mine" from Broadway's Waitress. Tony Moreno won Best Actor for his portrayal of Don Quixote in Man of La Mancha and his solo, "Disappear" from The Burnt Part Boys

This ceremony marks the first time in Jimmy Award history where both recipients of the grand prize were from the same regional competion, The Applause Awards in Orlando, FL. 

Congratulations to both winners and all the nominees! 

Host Ben Platt (center) with Tony Moreno and Sofia Deler at The Jimmy Awards (Photo © Henry McGee).