Totem Pole Playhouse Hands Out Annual Awards And Scholarships To Top High School Musical Theatre Talent
Totem Pole Playhouse, America's beloved summer theatre, located in Caledonia State Park between Gettysburg and Chambersburg, PA, presented their annual Totem Pole Playhouse Awards last evening for outstanding production and performances by area high school students. The awards now in their fifth year were presented for the first time on the stage of the legendary Playhouse to the usual enthusiastic performances by the participating high school students. For the second year $1,000.00 scholarships were also awarded to the winners of the Outstanding Performance by an Actress and an Actor in a Leading Role.
Waynesboro Area Senior High School's production of Shrek the Musical took home the top prize, the Carl Schurr Award for Outstanding Production of a Musical.
Emma Behta, 'Morticia Addams' in The Addams Family, from St. Maria Goretti High School, and Benjamin Smith, 'Shrek' in Shrek the Musical from Waynesboro Area Senior High School took home the awards for Outstanding Performance by an Actress and an Actor in a Leading Role along with a $1,000.00 William M. Moore, Jr. college scholarship for each recipient.
According to the event's program William "Bill" Moore, Jr., was a teacher for 43 years in the Frederick County (MD) Public Schools and the drama director for over a quarter of a century at Linganore High School. In 1983, Totem Pole's producer, Bill Putch, cast Mr. Moore in a small role in Robert Sherwood's play "The Petrified Forest" starring Putch's wife, acclaimed actress Jean Stapleton. Mr. Moore never forgot the honor and bequeathed Totem Pole Playhouse a substantial amount of money upon his death in 2016.
Biglerville High School student Caitlin Heffner won the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance as the plant 'Audrey II' in Little Shop of Horrors and Waynesboro Area Senior High School student, Timothy Vinson, won the Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Award for his performance as the 'Donkey' in Shrek the Musical.
Outstanding Performance by a Featured Female and Male Ensemble Member honors went to Hailey Brownley from Biglerville High School's production of Little Shop of Horrors and Ethan Dodson from Forbes Road Jr/Sr High School's production of Shrek the Musical.
Leading the vocal awards as Outstanding Female and Male Soloists were Rebecca Negro, from Gettysburg Area High School for "Goodnight, My Someone" from The Music Man and James Buchanan High School's Dean King for "Barrett's Song" from Titanic. McConnellsburg High School students Brianna McFadden and Brice Feagley were presented the award for Outstanding Vocal Duet.
Shippensburg Area Senior High School won the award for Outstanding Musical Production Number for the second year in a row, this year for "Seventy-Six Trombones" from The Music Man and James Buchanan High School was the recipient of the Outstanding Musical Chorus Award for their production of Titanic, with the award for Outstanding Stage Crew going to Waynesboro Area Senior High School.
Adding to the excitement, students from all eight participating high schools took to the Totem Pole stage during the ceremony with each school performing one production number from their school's musical. The nominees in the Outstanding Female and Male Solo Vocal Performance categories also performed live in front of the sold-out crowd.
For the first time the awards ceremony was broadcast live on Totem Pole Playhouse's Facebook page.
Matt Rosell, who recently starred on Broadway in the Tony Award winning Best Musical, Les Miserables, and who will be playing the title role in Totem Pole's opening production of the season, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat presented the Jean Stapleton Award for Outstanding Contribution to a High School Musical to: Samantha Henry, Forbes Road Jr/Sr High School, Nick Wallace, Gettysburg Area High School, Brooke Chronister, Biglerville High School, Edward Wenschof, McConnellsburg High School, Cole Nussear, St. Maria Goretti High School, Abby Horst, James Buchanan High School, Allison Findley, Shippensburg Area Senior High School, and Olivia Moxley, Waynesboro Area High School.
Other presenters during the awards were Dana Witt, Tom Trgovac, Sue Mc Murtray, Drew Adams, Shawn Martin, Rob Towarnicki, Rob Salm, Elise Overcash, Rose Trip, and Chad-Alan Carr.
The playhouse's Producing Artistic Director, Rowan Joseph, once again served as the Master of Ceremony for the awards.