High Schools From Across Texas Celebrated As Winners Were Announced At The 8th Annual Dallas Summer Musicals
High school students, parents, friends, arts advocates, celebrities and city officials from all over Texas celebrated as winners and scholarship recipients were announced on Thursday, May 9, at the 8th Annual Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards (DSM HSMTA).
Patterned after Broadway's Tony Awards, DSM HSMTA celebrates the power of the arts and its ability to significantly improve all areas of education and creativity. Best Musical Award went to Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy's production of Bullets Over Broadway and 14 scholarships were awarded to deserving students pursuing degrees in both theatre and non-theatre majors.
"This annual event is such a great reminder of all the outstanding talent that's being cultivated amongst the next generation of performers in Texas and beyond. DSM looks forward to this night every year because we know how dedicated all of the students, teachers, staff, volunteers and supporters are to this program, and we can't thank everyone enough," said Kenneth T. Novice, DSM President.
Nominees were given the red-carpet treatment, being chauffeured to the Music Hall by RideCentric. Their arrivals were announced while photographers snapped away and media cameras from WFAA Channel 8 streamed live as they walked the red carpet.
Emcee Teresa Woodard, award-winning journalist and WFAA Channel 8 News Anchor, began the show by welcoming everyone and introducing the opening number, specially arranged to showcase each individual category and accompanied by a live professional orchestra conducted by Music Director Mark Brymer. The crowd cheered on their favorite Best Musical nominee performances, while the Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress nominees performed medleys choreographed by Penny Ayn Maas. Vocal coach Tina Walsh also helped prepare the students for the evening. Walsh will coach the 2019 DSM HSMTA Best Leading Actor/Actress winners as they prepare for the Jimmy Awards in New York City, where she'll be the students' chaperone.
The show was topped off with a finale of students from each participating high school and a shower of popping streamers.
Awards were presented in 19 categories and 14 scholarships were awarded to outstanding graduating seniors nominated by their teachers and selected by the DSM scholarship committee. This year's College Scholarship program consisted of seven Ambassador Scholarships at $2,000 each, five Theater Major Scholarships (in all areas of theater) at $5,000 each, and two $5,000 scholarships for the winners in the Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress categories.
"The passion these students have for their craft is awe-inspiring," said Glynis Brault, DSM Director of Education & Community Partnerships. "We're all so proud of their talent and look forward to seeing their future in theatre."
Broadway veteran Hunter Ryan Herdlicka was this year's Fullinwider Award recipient for his impact in the Dallas theatre community and beyond. Herdlicka is a Dallas native and graduate of Plano West Senior High School. Hunter is best known for his nearly two years starring on Broadway as Henrik in the Tony Award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, followed by Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch.
The Leah & Jerome M. Fullinwider Award is named for Leah and Jerry Fullinwider, the founding donors of DSM's High School Musical Theater Awards. The award was created in 2016 to honor the Fullinwiders for their initial gift of $100,000, which helped fund and produce DSM HSMTA and College Scholarship program in 2012.
Coby Rogers, Frenship High School, took home the Best Leading Actor Award and Haley Dortch, Guyer High School, won the Best Leading Actress Award. Coby and Haley will each receive a $5,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip for five days to New York City to represent their high school in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (the Jimmy Awards) on June 24.
All winners, participating high schools and their shows can be found here.