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TOMMY TUNE AWARDS Winners Announced; Muhammad Yunus and Noelle Flores to Compete at The Jimmy's, 6/27

Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) announced the cancellation of the 14th annual Tommy Tune Awards ceremony yesterday due to Houston's emergency level of flooding. However, the winners of the Tommy Tune Awards, along with scholarship recipients, were announced on the Tommy Tune Awards Facebook page at 8 p.m. yesterday evening by MC Sarah Pepper of Hot 95.7.

"The Tommy Tune Awards are such an exciting time for us at TUTS, and a presentation we work year-round to bring to Houston's musical theatre community. It was with heavy hearts that we made the decision to cancel last night's ceremony," said Amy Pierce, TUTS Chairman of the Board. "This year's student participants are all amazingly talented individuals and we celebrate their wins with them."

Created by TUTS in 2002, the Tommy Tune Awards recognize and reward excellence in the production of musical theatre by high school students and their teachers, providing scholarships and elevating Houston's finest to compete on the national level at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. After evaluating the 45 participating Houston-area high school productions during the 2015-16 school year, a team of 30 Houston-based theatre professionals made 164 nominations in 15 award categories.

The 2016 Tommy Tune Award winners are as follows:

Best Musical - Stratford High School - Anything Goes

Best Leading Actor - Muhammad Yunus as Usnavi in Foster High School's In The Heights

Best Leading Actress - Noelle Flores as Reno Sweeney in Stratford High School's Anything Goes

Best Supporting Actor - Morgan Lenamon as Officer Lockstock in Pearland High School's Urinetown

Best Supporting Actress - Sarah Harter as Smitty in Klein High School's How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

Best Featured Performer - Kirby Morris as Chastity (Angel #2) in Stratford High School's Anything Goes

Best Direction - Stratford High School - Anything Goes

Best Musical Direction - Pearland High School - Urinetown

Best Choreography - The Kinkaid School / G.W. Carver Magnet High School - Hairspray

Best Orchestra - Obra D. Tompkins High School - Into The Woods and Klein Oak High School - The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Best Ensemble/Chorus - Stratford High School - Anything Goes

Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution - Stratford High School - Anything Goes

Best Scenic Design - Clear Springs High School - Seussical

Best Costume Design - Stratford High School - Anything Goes

Best Lighting Design - Obra D. Tompkins High School - Into The Woods

Scholarship Recipients

TUTS' Tommy Tune Awards are designed not only to acknowledge remarkable musical theatre talent at the high school level, but also to encourage future artistic development. TUTS presented eight scholarships to outstanding participating students of the Tommy Tune Awards, including the Ruth Denney Scholarship named in honor of Tune's mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Students under consideration were required to meet specific criteria set out by the Scholarship Committee, as well as submit an application and an essay.

The winners included Ashlyn Maddox (Cypress Woods High School), Alex Goeringer (The Kinkaid School), Gabrielle Adickes (Second Baptist School), Savannah Faith Rucoba (Houston Christian High School), Emily Lawrence (Kingwood High School), Alexandra Szeto-Joe (The Kinkaid School), and Carleigh Newland (Klein Collins High School). The prestigious Ruth Denny Scholarship, which carries an increased stipend, was presented to Ty Doran (The Kinkaid School).

As Best Leading Actor and Actress, Muhammad Yunus and Noelle Flores will go on to compete at the national level for the JimmyTM Award at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City on June 27. Established in 2009, the JimmyTM Awards bring the country's best high school performers together to compete on Broadway and are named after Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander.

While in New York, Jimmy™ Award participants will have the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theatre professionals, be seen by casting agents, meet and converse with Broadway actors and compete for scholarships and other prizes. The week's events will culminate in a live awards show where the Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented.

TUTS' Tommy Tune Awards are named for Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus, Tommy Tune. A performer, director, and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards® for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President Bush. Tune is currently taking an autobiographical stroll in Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales where he dances, sings and tale-tells through more than 50 years of showmanship.

To learn more about TUTS' Education and Community Engagement programs, visit TUTS.com/EDU.

A non-profit based in Houston, Texas, TUTS offers a world-class musical theatre experience that ranges from full-scale Broadway productions to educational initiatives that extend beyond the stage and into the community -- for actors and aficionados of all ages and abilities. TUTS performs annually in Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center and at Miller Outdoor Theatre. TUTS began performing at Miller Outdoor Theatre in 1968, and is the only arts organization to perform at Miller every year since then. Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of Interim Managing Director Joel Sulzc and Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres. Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS regularly helps mount shows on Broadway which eventually show locally to Houston audiences.

About TUTS Education and Community Engagement Programs:

In support of the TUTS mission, Education & Community Engagement programs provide instruction and stage experience for more than 68,000 Houstonians annually.HSMT offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages, ranging from 4 through adult.

Through The River Performing and Visual Arts Center, TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for individuals of all abilities that will enhance their development into confident, balanced individuals. TUTS Education & Community Engagement provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites.

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