Photo Flash: Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Honor 'Triple Threat' Performers

June 12
5:47 PM 2013

Des Moines Performing Arts (DMPA) has announced the first-ever Triple Threat Award recipients for the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA). Announced in a surprise reveal during the inaugural Awards Showcase at the Civic Center on Monday, June 3, they are: Bridget Johnston - Waukee High School and Kellen Schrimper - Waukee High School. Scroll down for photos from the event!

As Triple Threat Award recipients, Ms. Johnston and Mr. Schrimper will represent Iowa at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City, June 26 - July 2, 2013. They will join students from across the country for a week of private coaching, master classes and rehearsals from Broadway professionals. Ms. Johnston's and Mr. Schrimper's week will culminate with a final performance at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway, home to Disney's THE LION KING.

Triple Threat Award runners-up were Madeline Palmer-Chase from Roosevelt High School and Chris Wodniak from Dowling Catholic High School.

In addition to announcing the Triple Threat Award recipients, Des Moines Performing Arts revealed that two Triple Threat Award nominees received a full scholarship to the STAGEright Broadway Experience, a week-long Broadway intensive workshop at the Civic Center later this month. The STAGEright Broadway Experience recipients are: Emily Sherwood - East High School (Des Moines) and Joe McDonald - Roosevelt High School (Des Moines).

Des Moines Performing Arts is a partner of the National High School Musical Theater Awards. To identify Iowa's two student representatives at Nationals, the Triple Threat Award program was created. The Triple Threat Award recognizes students who are considered a "triple threat" and demonstrate excellent acting, dancing and vocal talents. Additionally, the Triple Threat Award recognizes students who exemplify the spirit of the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards.

This year, 18 students from participating IHSMTA schools auditioned for the Triple Threat Award. The students were invited to audition because they played a qualifying leading role in their school's musical production. On Sunday, June 2, the Triple Threat Award nominees spent the day at the Civic Center where they auditioned, worked with Broadway veterans and received private coaching from local university faculty.

Last fall, Des Moines Performing Arts launched the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, a year- long education initiative that honors young musical theater artists for their outstanding achievements. Throughout the school year, performing arts professionals and educators served as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools. Nine central Iowa high schools within 45 miles of Des Moines Performing Arts participated in the inaugural season, with the goal of expanding the program statewide in the coming years.

Culminating this year's Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards was the Awards Showcase on Monday, June 3. Based on the adjudicators' feedback, several awards were presented at the Awards Showcase including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Lead and Supporting Performers, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Technical Achievement. The Awards Showcase also featured performances from the musical productions the students presented during the school year.

For more information about the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards and to get a full listing of this year's recipients, visit


Des Moines Performing Arts President & CEO Jeff Chelesvig, Triple Threat Award recipient Kellen Schrimper, Triple Threat Award recipient Bridget Johnston, Triple Threat Award Sponsors Doug and Debbie West.

Opening number for the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center on June 3.

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