2014 Blumey Award Winners Announced

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2014 Blumey Award Winners Announced

The third annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 18, at a gala award celebration where winners in 12 categories were announced and nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Wells Fargo Best Musical performed live on stage at the Belk Theater. The Blumey Awards were presented by Wells Fargo.

Northwest School of the Arts from Mecklenburg County won the Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Shrek the Musical. Abby Corrigan of Northwest School of the Arts won Best Actress for her portrayal of "Princess Fiona" in Shrek the Musical. Mekhai Lee of Northwest School of the Arts won Best Actor for his portrayal of "Shrek" in Shrek the Musical. Maureen O'Boyle, anchor for WBTV, emceed the black-tie celebration.

Corrigan and Lee, the students named Best Actress and Best Actor at The Blumey Awards, will receive an all-expenses-paid trip and weeklong stay in New York City where they will train and compete with other regional winners in the National High School Musical Theater Awards. The national show and ceremony, known as The Jimmy Awards (named after famed Broadway producer, James M. Nederlander), takes place in New York on June 30, 2014.

Twenty-four different high schools within the Charlotte region were nominated for Blumey Awards for at least one of the 12 categories. Counties represented by the nominees included Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Union and York.

Twelve student critics also participated in the Student Critic Program in association with the 3rd Annual Blumey Awards presented by Wells Fargo. The Student Critic Program is a part of The Blumey Awards with support from The Charlotte Observer. Of these twelve Student Critics, Mary Alex Staude from Weddington High School was awarded "The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award" at The Blumey Awards, chosen by the editors at The Charlotte Observer.

"Congratulations to both the winners and nominees at last night's Blumey Awards Ceremony," said Tom Gabbard, Blumenthal President. "I'm so proud of the extraordinary talent displayed by all of the students who participated and we are delighted to shine the spotlight on their great accomplishments. The opportunity for these students to perform to a full house on the Belk Theater stage, just as our Broadway touring shows do, is thrilling for everyone involved."

Among the award presenters and special guests were Amy Blumenthal, Angie Hays (Executive Director NCTC), Christine Nelson (WBTV), Chirl Girl (WBAV), Jay Everette (Wells Fargo), Jonathan Govias (Assistant Professor and Director of Orchestras at UNCC), Rick Thames (Charlotte Observer), Sandra Levine and Tom Gabbard (President and CEO of Blumenthal Performing Arts.)

This year's winners for The Blumey Awards included:

Wells Fargo Best Musical
Northwest School of the Arts - Shrek the Musical

Best Actor
Northwest School of the Arts - Mekhai Lee as Shrek (Shrek the Musical)

Best Actress
Northwest School of the Arts - Abby Corrigan as Princess Fiona (Shrek the Musical)

Best Supporting Actor
Northwest School of the Arts - Phillip Johnson as Donkey (Shrek the Musical)

Best Supporting Actress
Northwest School of the Arts -- Keston Steele as Dragon (Shrek the Musical)

Best Featured Performer
Northwest School of the Arts - Hank Santos as Pinocchio (Shrek the Musical)

Best Overall Direction
Northwest School of the Arts - Shrek the Musical

Best Ensemble/Chorus
Northwest School of the Arts - Shrek the Musical

Best Choreography Execution
Northwest School of the Arts - Shrek the Musical

Best Student Orchestra
Providence High School - The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Costume Creation
South Pointe High School - Tarzan

Best Set Construction
South Pointe High School - Tarzan

Along with The Blumey Awards themselves, The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship, an annually renewable $10,000 scholarship, was awarded to Mekhai Lee of Northwest School of the Arts and Jessica Braun of South Mecklenburg High School during The Blumey Awards Ceremony. A special scholarship committee selected these winners.

The gala celebration was the highlight of the competition, which started in January when local schools began presenting their annual musical theater productions. Each school's musical was viewed and evaluated by a panel of four judges, who awarded points according to detailed guidelines. The six highest scoring nominees in each of 12 categories were the finalists.

The Blumey Awards is produced by Blumenthal Performing Arts' Education Department and is presented by Wells Fargo. US Airways, The Doctor Family Foundation and The Leon Levine Foundation provide additional support. Charlotte joins more than 40 other cities, including Pittsburgh, Houston and Atlanta, in hosting annual high school musical theater awards programs.

Like the Tony Awards, The Blumey Awards Ceremony featured live performances by the six finalists for Wells Fargo Best Musical: Charlotte Latin School, Hello, Dolly!; Northwest School of the Arts, Shrek the Musical; Providence Day School, Little Shop of Horrors; Providence High School, The Drowsy Chaperone; South Pointe High School, Tarzan; Stuart W. Cramer High School, 13 the Musical.

David Dabbon, a New York-based music director, conductor, orchestrator and composer arranged all of the music, led an orchestra of local professional musicians that accompanied the competing schools, and wrote the closing number. He has conducted shows and concerts throughout the country.

The Blumey Awards Ceremony also featured a medley of performances by the six finalists for Best Actor and Best Actress. Additionally, two students from each participating school's productions were featured in opening and closing musical numbers choreographed by Linda Booth, a professional choreographer. Booth holds a BFA in dance performance from UNC-Greensboro and has choreographed over 100 productions in regional and educational theatre. Recent credits include Hairspray, Chicago, 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, The Drowsy Chaperone and Charlotte Squawks.

The 39 schools that competed in the Blumey Awards program were: A. L. Brown High School, Ardrey Kell High School, Butler High School, Carmel Christian School, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Central Cabarrus High School, CFA Academy, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Covenant Day School, Cox Mill High School, Cuthbertson High School, Gaston Day School, Hickory Ridge High School, Highland School of Technology, Jay M. Robinson High School, Kings Mountain High School, Lake Norman High School, Lincolnton High School, Marvin Ridge High School, Myers Park High School, Nation Ford High School, North Gaston High School, North Lincoln High School, Northwest Cabarrus High School, Northwest School of the Arts, Northwestern High School, Olympic High School, Parkwood High School, Providence Day School, Providence High School, South Mecklenburg High School, South Point High School, South Pointe High School, Southlake Christian Academy, Stuart W. Cramer High School, Sun Valley High School and Weddington High School.

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