Long Center, UT Austin and Zach Theatre to Present 2014 Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards, 4/17
The Long Center's Michael & Susan Dell Hall will be the scene for a spectacular new awards show, honoring the achievements of students in high school theater departments in Travis and the 6 contiguous counties. The Long Center, University of Texas at Austin and ZACH Theatre will be honoring their exceptional work with the 2014 Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards (GAHSMTA) on April 17. The Ceremony will be televised at a later date by KXAN.
The Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards marks the first time the Long Center, Zach Theatre and The University of Texas have collaborated on the same project.
It wasn't long ago students were producing small plays in front of cardboard cut outs, soundtracks were provided by MP3s played over loud speakers and light gels created ambiance for a scene. With growing budgets, burgeoning technologies and tenacious students, high school musical productions are looking more and more like large-scale Broadway events.
As the ultimate triumph for high school students around the country, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) have recognized students across the nation since 2009 for their time and talent in high school productions like AIDA, Urinetown, and Little Shop of Horrors. 2014 will be Austin's first year to hold such an event. In 2015, Austin will be eligible to participate in the NHSMTA in New York. Competing among peers from California to Maine, Austin will once again be in the national spotlight.
About the Show: The April 17 award ceremony will feature a variety of performances from the nominees. The jam-packed event will include a medley showcasing lead actors and actresses; musical numbers performed by lead, supporting and featured actors; a finale including a male and female from each participating school; a select ensemble chosen through auditions; and performances from each Outstanding Musical nominee throughout the event.
The event will be held in Dell Hall at the Long Center. With 20 schools signed up to compete and hundreds of students performing, the two-hour event will acknowledge outstanding student achievements in 15 categories ranging from set design and musical direction, to acting and production. Applications are currently open for all schools interested in participating until the mid-September deadline. Students and schools are encouraged to work from a list of pre-approved musicals to be considered for nomination. Schools will be notified of their nomination on March 6, 2014.
Schools Currently Involved:
Akins High School Austin
Anderson High School Austin
Bastrop High School Bastrop
Burnet High School Burnet
Cedar Park High School Cedar Park
Cedar Ridge High School Round Rock
Del Valle High School Del Valle
Dripping Springs High School Dripping Springs
Hendrickson High School Pflugerville
James Bowie High School Austin
John B. Connally High School Austin
LBJ High School Austin
Leander High School Leander
Marble Falls High School Marble Falls
McCallum Fine Arts Academy Austin
Round Rock High School Round Rock
Rouse High School Leander
St. Andrew's Episcopal School Austin
Vista Ridge High School Cedar Park
Westlake High School Austin
Categories will include:
Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role
Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role
Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role
Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role
Outstanding Featured Actor or Actress
Outstanding Scenic Design
Outstanding Costume Design
Outstanding Lighting Design
Outstanding Musical Direction
Outstanding Crew/Technical Execution
Why it matters: While the NHSMTA is in its fifth year, other schools and similar programs involved have expanded and elevated the theatre arts training and requirements in their schools. The importance of art in schools is at a critical juncture, with budget cuts often eliminating programs like musical theatre first. Awards shows like the GAHSMTA help gain awareness and support from fans as well as school administrators and supervisors. Programs like these keep the arts in the public eye and remind communities why they are so important in schools. Not only do the awards create awareness among others, it creates a sense of pride among students and schools. Often ceremonies like the GAHSMTA boost morale and can have lasting effects in other areas, from attendance to higher grades among students.