BWW Reviews: THE BLUMEY AWARDS Recognizes Excellence in High School Theater
As an actor and a theater student, I take pride in the work of the theater department in my school. I went to the Blumey Awards this year, and I saw many students from schools all over Charlotte, who showed the same enthusiasm and love for theater. The Blumey Awards presented by Wells Fargo, is a great award event to showcase the talent and hard work put forth into each high school musical. This show was created by Tom Gabbard, President of Blumenthal Performing Arts, produced and co-directed by Ralph Beck, Education Director of Blumenthal Performing Arts and Michelle Youngs, Education Program Manager of Blumenthal Performing Arts. They did an outstanding job.
Out of 39 schools competing, 24 different high schools within the Charlotte area were nominated for Blumey Awards in at least 1 of 12 categories. The Counties included Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Mecklenburg, Union and York. Northwest School of the Arts cleaned up winning 9 of the 12 awards including Best Musical for SHREK THE MUSICAL, Best Actress, Abby Corrigan as Princess Fiona, Best Supporting Actor, Phillip Johnson as Donkey, Best featured Performer, Hank Santos as Pinocchio, Best Overall Direction, Best Ensemble/Chorus and best Choreography Execution. The other winners included Providence High School for Best Student Orchestra, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, South Point High School for Best Costume Creation and Best Set Construction, TARZAN.
Maureen O'Boyle, Master of Ceremonies, was professional but not spontaneous. Chirl Girl, a radio host from WBAV, presented the Best Supporting Actor and Actress awards. The audience could tell she shared a love for creativity. Chirl Girl's positivity about being creative showed more than most other award presenters.
When an award event centers on high school musicals and brings in almost all aspects of theater, including the orchestra pit and critiques, it shows how much the Blumeys cares about the student. They allowed two students from various schools to play in the orchestra the night of the event. They also gave a Student Critic Program award to Mary Alex Staude, Weddington High School. You could see the love for theater, as family and friends cheered each student who participated on stage..
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.
The musical numbers were entertaining, especially HELLO DOLLY from Charlotte Latin School. Each actor owned their character, as they paraded across the stage. All of the musical numbers had great energy and were amazing. David Dabbon, Music Director, stitched the musical numbers including the medleys with the leading actors seamlessly. If it weren't for the fact that another actor would pickup the song when it changed, I might not have noticed.
Eva Noblezada won last year's Best Actress for FOOTLOOSE from Northwest School of the Arts. She was recently cast in a major lead role in the West End revival of MISS SAIGON. This awards program spent a great amount of time on her gaining employment. It felt to me like last year's male winner, Areon Mobasher, who was a presenter this year, was just an after thought.
All in all, I feel like this was a very professional and entertaining award show. Something that I would like to see next year would be to add more students to the orchestra pit and have 2-4 tech students working back stage and including an award category for Tech.