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Greater Austin High School Musical Theater Awards Set for the Long Center, 4/17

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Greater Austin High School Musical Theater Awards Set for the Long Center, 4/17

It will be a night of firsts for performing arts in Austin, Texas! The First Annual Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards (GAHSMTA) will be held at the Long Center, April 17 at 7:30pm. Not only will it be the first large scale project fully produced in-house by Austin's iconic performing arts venue on Lady Bird Lake, but also it will be the first time the Long Center has partnered with ZACH Theatre and The University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts.

The historic nature of the evening isn't the only thing that will make this night special. More than 400 students from 19 local high schools will perform live on stage in Michael & Susan Dell Hall. The production will consist of 13 large-scale musical numbers, and $10,000 in scholarships will be awarded. Each participating school will receive a check for $500 as an investment in next year's crop of productions.

The event will acknowledge outstanding student achievements in 15 categories, ranging from set design and musical direction to acting and production.

"The high school musical is a great American institution, and being a part of it can change a young person's life," said Jamie Grant, Long Center Executive Director and CEO. "We wanted to produce an evening to reflect the transformative power of that. This will be a night to remember! We are proud of everything the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards represents: collaboration, creativity, determination and the concept that dreaming big and working hard really do pay off."

The production represents several unique logistical challenges for the Long Center. Each of the schools nominated in the category of Best Production will perform a full number from their nominated show. That means 8 separate casts need rehearsal space, dressing rooms and support areas for their time on stage. Every available space in the Long Center will be buzzing with activity for the entire day.

GAHSMTA also includes a collaborative component among students from different schools, pooling local talent on a series of additional numbers. The jam-packed event will include a medley showcasing lead actors and actresses; an opening number introducing all nominees for lead, supporting and featured performer categories; a finale including a male and female from each participating school and a select ensemble (chosen through auditions) opening each act with show stopping numbers.

"It has taken a lot of very detailed planning to put this project together," said Ginger Morris, Producing Director/Choreographer. "From backstage traffic flow and volunteer placement to the design of the awards themselves and the choreography of each number. There are countless moving parts and hundreds of people directly involved. It's going to be a fabulous and busy night both on and off stage."

The evening will begin with red carpet arrivals at 6:00 pm, and media sponsor KXAN will be on hand to record and edit the show for rebroadcast at a later date, to be announced.

"ZACH Theatre couldn't be more excited to be a part of this landmark event," said Nat Miller, Education Director for ZACH Theatre, a pivotal GAHSMTA partner. "We are not only putting a spotlight on the best of high school theatre programs in Austin, but also on the value of arts education in our schools."

The University of Texas College of Fine Arts rounds out the powerhouse partnership for the event. Fine Arts Dean Doug Dempster emphasizes the importance of supporting the students. "In honoring these performers and their schools, we are making a statement that we believe in the young artists in our region and the ability of theatre to change people's lives," Dempster said. "What an incredible way to celebrate the amazing work that area high schools do to bring musical theatre into the lives of students and audiences."

Award winners will be met by reporters and photographers immediately after their win in the GAHSMTA Press Zone. This studio will be created especially for capturing recipients' reactions after winning during backstage interviews.

GAHSMTA is the inaugural production for the Long Center's new eyeGO to the Arts program. Through eyeGO, $5 tickets to ALL Long Center Presents productions will be made available to high school students. With arts funding continually being cut in schools, the eyeGO to the Arts program is dedicated to making the arts accessible and affordable for high school students. Seldom do teenagers choose to attend live performances, stating barriers of cost and formality. Less expensive than a movie, eyeGO to the Arts empowers youth to consider live performances as a viable entertainment option. By making the performing arts financially available, all high school students have the opportunity to experience, by choice, the powerful and positive influence of live performance.

eyeGO tickets are available only by calling 512.474.LONG (5664) or by visiting the Long Center's 3M Box Office located at 701 West Riverside Drive at South First Street.

Adult tickets may be purchased for $20 and are available by phone, at the 3M Box Office and online at TheLongCenter.org.

Schools involved include Anderson High School (Austin ISD), Bastrop High School (Bastrop ISD), Cedar Park High School (Leander ISD), Cedar Ridge High School (Round Rock ISD), Del Valle High School (Del Valle ISD), Dripping Springs High School (Dripping Springs ISD), Hendrickson High School (Pflugerville ISD), James Bowie High School (Austin ISD), John B. Connally High School (Austin ISD), LBJ High School/LASA (Austin ISD), Leander High School (Leander ISD), Marble Falls High School (Marble Falls ISD), McCallum Fine Arts Academy (Austin ISD), Round Rock High School (Round Rock ISD), Rouse High School (Leadner ISD), St. Andrew's Episcopal School (Austin), St. Stephen's Episcopal School (Austin), Vandegrift High School (Leader ISD), and Westlake High School (Austin ISD).

Awards shows like the GAHSMTA garner awareness and support from fans and the public, as well as school administrators and supervisors. Programs like these remind communities that art is important in schools. The awards create a sense of pride among students, showing them firsthand the rewards reaped from hard work, practice and commitment. Often ceremonies like the GAHSMTA boost morale, and can have lasting effects in other areas, from self-confidence to improved attendance rates and higher grades. Additionally, in 2015, Austin will be eligible to participate in the National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) event in New York, pushing the city once again into the national spotlight as it competes against peers from California to Maine. To receive an NHSMTA is the ultimate triumph in a student's high school career; few third-party awards honor students' time and talents for anything, let alone performances like AIDA, Urinetown and Little Shop of Horrors.

Though the NHSMTA is only in its fifth year, other schools and similar programs involved have expanded and increased the theater arts training and requirements in their schools. The presence of art in schools is slowly waning, as budget cuts often eliminate programs like musical theater first.

In 2013, the Greater Austin High School Musical Theater Awards was created to recognize students on a local level. Ultimately, the goal of GAHSMTA is to have students recognized at the national level starting in 2015.

The Greater Austin High School Musical Theater Awards are open to all public and private high schools in Travis, Bastrop, Blanco, Burnet, Caldwell, Hays and Williamson Counties. Only one musical and one cast per school are eligible to compete, and the performance must have taken place between Thursday, September 19, 2013 and Sunday, March 2, 2014. There is no cost to participate in the competition.

For more information visit www.thelongcenter.org/greater-austin-high-school-musical-theatre-awards/schools/,

The Nominations:

Best Production

1. Cedar Park High School Guys and Dolls

2. St. Stephen's Episcopal School Little Women

3. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

4. Hendrickson High School Monty Python's Spamalot

5. Leander High School The Music Man

6. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

7. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

8. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

Best Direction

1. Cedar Park High School Guys and Dolls

2. Anderson High School Little Women

3. St. Stephen's Episcopal School Little Women

4. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

5. Leander High School The Music Man

6. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

7. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

8. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

Best Choreography

1. Rouse High School Hairspray

2. St. Stephen's Episcopal School Little Women

3. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

4. Hendrickson High School Monty Python's Spamalot

5. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

6. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

7. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

8. Marble Falls High School Tarzan The Stage Musical

Best Musical Direction

1. McCallum Fine Arts Academy Bonnie & Clyde

2. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

3. Hendrickson High School Monty Python's Spamalot

4. Leander High School The Music Man

5. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

6. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

7. Vandegrift High School South Pacific

8. Westlake High School West Side Story

Best Orchestra

1. John B. Connally High School Chicago

2. Anderson High School Little Women

3. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

4. Leander High School The Music Man

5. LBJ High School/LASA Seussical

Best Scene Design

1. St. Andrew's Episcopal School Disney's Beauty and the Beast

2. Cedar Park High School Guys and Dolls

3. Del Valle High School Little Shop of Horrors

4. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

5. Hendrickson High School Monty Python's Spamalot

6. Leander High School The Music Man

7. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

8. Westlake High School West Side Stor

Best Lighting Design

1. Anderson High School Little Women

2. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

3. Hendrickson High School Monty Python's Spamalot

4. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

5. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

6. Vandegrift High School South Pacific

7. Marble Falls High School Tarzan The Stage Musical

8. Westlake High School West Side Story

Best Costume Design

1. John B. Connally High School Chicago

2. McCallum Fine Arts Academy Bonnie & Clyde

3. Del Valle High School Little Shop of Horrors

4. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

5. LBJ High School/LASA Seussical

6. Marble Falls High School Tarzan The Stage Musical

Best Technical Execution

1. St. Andrew's Episcopal School Disney's Beauty and the Beast

2. St. Stephen's Episcopal School Little Women

3. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

4. Leander High School The Music Man

5. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

6. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

7. LBJ High School/LASA Seussical

8. Westlake High School West Side Story

Best Ensemble

1. Bastrop High School Grease: School Version

2. James Bowie High School Miss Saigon

3. Leander High School The Music Man

4. Dripping Springs High School Once Upon A Mattress

5. Cedar Ridge High School Ragtime: School Edition

6. Round Rock High School Shrek the Musical

7. Vandegrift High School South Pacific

8. Westlake High School West Side Story

Best Actor in a Lead Role

1. Donelvan Thigpen as Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls Cedar Park High School

2. Gio Truvillion as Coalhouse Walker Jr. in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

3. Bennett Whalen as Prince Dauntless in Once Upon A Mattress Dripping Springs High School

4. Austin Hyde as Chris in Miss Saigon James Bowie High School

5. Ronan Melomo as Cat in the Hat in Seussical LBJ High School/LASA

6. Gavin Barron as Harold Hill in Music Man Leander High School

7. Austin Jones as Tarzan in Tarzan The Stage Musical Marble Falls High School

8. Conor Donnelly as Laurie Lawrence in Little Women St. Stephen's Episcopal School

9. Trey Dickerson as Emile De Becque in South Pacific Vandegrift High School

Best Actress in a Lead Role

1. Elise Martin as Jo March in Little Women Anderson High School

2. Elise Ledbetter as Mother in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

3. Amanda Cripe as Princess Winifred in Once Upon A Mattress Dripping Springs High School

4. Paige Bradbury as Kim in Miss Saigon James Bowie High School

5. Kindra Ferguson as Marian Paroo in The Music Man Leander High School

6. Molly Burris as Princess Fiona in Shrek the Musical Round Rock High School

7. Jamie Molina as Jo March in Little Women St. Stephen's Episcopal School

8. Holly Gibson as Maria in West Side Story Westlake High School

9. Victoria Brown as Nellie Forbush in South Pacific Vandegrift High School

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

1. Noah Villarreal as Professor Baher in Little Women Anderson High School

2. Christopher Washington as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in Guys and Dolls Cedar Park High School

3. Ryan Blakey as Jester in Once Upon A Mattress Dripping Springs High School

4. Jacob Foster as Sir Harry in Once Upon A Mattress Dripping Springs High School

5. Curtis Faulkner as John in Miss Saigon James Bowie High School

6. Connor Barr as Marvin "Buck" Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde McCallum Fine Arts Academy

7. Monte Turner as Corny Collins in Hairspray Rouse High School

8. Nate Stephenson as Gaston in Disney's Beauty and the Beast St. Andrew's Episcopal School

9. Olson Kelly as Luther Billis in South Pacific Vandegrift High School

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

1. Lizzie Wilkins as Beth March in Little Women Anderson High School

2. Molly McCaskill as Adelaide in Guys and Dolls Cedar Park High School

3. Jessica O'Brien as Sarah in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

4. Abby Schmidt as Lady Larken in Once Upon A Mattress Dripping Springs High School

5. Lily Howard as Ellen in Miss Saigon James Bowie High School

6. Sage Stoakley as Blanche Barrow in Bonnie & Clyde McCallum Fine Arts Academy

7. Saara Hassoun as Beth March in Little Women St. Stephen's Episcopal School

8. Olivia Kight as Anita in West Side Story Westlake High School

9. Emily Adams as Bloody Mary in South Pacific Vandegrift High School

Best Featured Performer

1. Cayla Castañeda as Jan in Grease: School Version Bastrop High School

2. Madeline Todd as Arvide Abernathy in Guys and Dolls Cedar Park High School

3. Joshua Hill as Booker T. Washington in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

4. Mariel Ardila as Evelyn Nesbit in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

5. Lena Owens - Ensemble in Ragtime: School Edition Cedar Ridge High School

6. Brenda Ortegan as Patsy in Monty Python's Spamalot Hendrickson High School

7. Chloe Berlinger as Eulalie in The Music Man Leander High School

8. Janine Dworin as Gov. Miriam Ferguson in Bonnie & Clyde McCallum Fine Arts Academy

9. Kaila Burritt as Penny in Hairspray Rouse High School

10. Lauren Mayes as Mrs. Lawrence in Little Women St. Stephen's Episcopal School

11. Martha Ruby Clark as Dinah Murphy in South Pacific Vandegrift High School

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