First Annual BLUMEY AWARDS Honor Excellence in High School Theater

May 31
4:22 PM 2012

<a href=I had the pleasure of seeing the First Annual Blumey Awards—Excellence in High School Theater held at the Belk Theater last week. Like any great genesis, from the Tony Awards to the Oscars,.. the First Annual Blumey Awards burst onto the stage with incredible talent and will be here for many years to come. It was created to honor outstanding student achievement in musical theater from high schools in Charlotte and the surrounding areas. Presented by Wells Fargo, The black-tie awards ceremony was the inspiration of Tom Gabbard, President of Blumenthal Performing Arts. Gabbard explains, “I went to New York to see the Jimmy Awards [National High School Musical Theater Awards] named after my friend, James Nederlander. I left the awards thinking, there are so many talented youth in Charlotte, I would like to model an awards ceremony after the Jimmy Awards to recognize our talented students.”

Twenty high schools participated in this event. TheBlumey Awards ceremony was flawless thanks to Master of Ceremonies, Maureen O’Boyle, co-anchor of WBTV news and the show’s script, written by Ralph Beck, Educational Director of Blumenthal Performing Arts, who also, co-directed the program with Michelle Youngs, Education Programs Manager, Blumenthal Performing Arts. Beck reflects on the event, “I could not be more pleased with the program. I’m excited for the opportunity the kids had. The ceremony turned out so well. The kids and everyone enjoyed the show.”

Kudos go to the very talented students who entertained under Music Director/Conductor, David Dabbon and Choreographer, Sarah Zielinski with numbers including "The Telephone Hour" from BYE BYE BIRDIE, "Skid Row" from LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS and "America" from WEST SIDE STORY. The students’ talent and enthusiasm was very apparent. The numbers were Broadway quality.

Students Blumey AwardsThe winners included Best Set Construction and Best Lighting Execution—South Point High School for JEKYLL & HYDE, Best Costume Creation—Cuthbertson High School for BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Best Student Orchestra—Hickory Ridge High School for URINETOWN, Best Choreography Execution—Northwest School of the Arts for WEST SIDE STORY, Best Ensemble/Chorus—Charlotte Latin School for JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHINICOLOR DREAMCOAT, Best Overall Direction—South Mecklenburg High School for BYE BYE BIRDIE, Best Featured Performer, Robert Briner as A-rab in WEST SIDE STORY—Northwest School of the Arts, Best Supporting Actor, Matt Verner as Voice of Audrey II in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS—Jay M. Robinson High School, Best Supporting Actress, Emma VanDeVelde, as Anita in WEST SIDE STORY—Charlotte Christian School, Best Actor, Kyle Conroy, as Seymour in LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS—Jay M. Robinson High School, Best Actress, Taylor Neal, as Belle in BEAUTY AND THE BEAST—Cuthbertson High School and Wells Fargo Best Musical for JEKYLL & HYDE—South Point High School.

Conroy and Neal will represent the ChaTaylor Neal Blumey Awardsrlotte region on June 25th at the National High School Musical Theater Awards at the Minksoff Theatre on Broadway.

Everyone needs help to shine, and these students have had the support and talent of their incredible teachers. I met Cutherbertson High School, Drama Teacher, Joy Hamilton while I was teaching acting in an Enrichment Arts Program there. I saw two productions she directed, both were Broadway quality. Hamilton, who had two wins for Cuthbertson High School with Best Costume Creation and Best Actress, is a teacher who inspires her students with her caring heart and very special talent. 

During the ceremony, Don and Mary Doctor, The Doctor Family Foundation presented two $10,000 annually renewable scholarships to senior students, Bethany Kinect from Charlotte Christian School and Lexie Wolfe from Northwest School of the Arts.

Congratulations to all of the students, teachers and high schools. I am sure many students on that stage will go on to professional theater careers. I am looking forward to the Second Annual Blumey Awards program next year.

Charlotte THEATER

About the Author

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Linda Ann Watt Linda Ann Watt is a member of SAG, AFTRA and AEA and owns Corlin Productions, a union franchised production house. Through Corlin Productions, Watt has written and directed film, television, documentaries, commercials and educational programs with celebrity guests including Betty White, Nell Carter, Dom DeLuise, Aaron Neville, Tippi Hedren and Sid Caesar. Watt teaches two acting & scene study classes at Blumenthal Performing Arts Center—the Master Class using "Method" techniques and the Workshop Advanced for working actors, directors and writers. Watt has been a recipient of a Grass Roots Arts Project (GAP) Grant 2008-2012, awarded through the Union County Community Arts Council (UCCAC) and the North Carolina Arts Council for an Enrichment Arts Program teaching acting and filmmaking & editing to youth, coordinated though Union County Public School (UCPS). Watt produces lectures featuring entertainment industry and celebrity guests for the Charlotte community. As a past executive board member of Women In Film in Los Angeles, Watt chaired and produced the Academy Awards© Viewing Party four consecutive years, which became an annual top Hollywood event. Watt has appeared in movies, television stage and national commercials. Watt is presently in post-production with her children’s series for Funny Productions, a division of Corlin Productions and she has been asked to direct a feature film "Thirty Day Promise" in late summer. For more information:


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