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Starlight Reveals 2020-21 Blue Star Awards Nominations

Starlight's 19th Annual Blue Star Awards Ceremony will be held Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Each year, thousands of high school students across the Kansas City metro wait in anticipation for the revelation of the annual Blue Star Awards nominations.

In the 2020-21 school term, as many schools presented musicals via different platforms due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was difficult to assess each show in the way that has been tradition for nearly two decades. Instead, Starlight adjusted this year's Blue Star Awards to highlight the broader work of schools and students, with the opportunity to submit materials in seven categories. On Thursday, April 22, Starlight leadership and staff revealed the 99 nominations in a Facebook livestream.

"We couldn't be more impressed by the passion and creativity that area high school students bring to the table," Alex Jones, Starlight's Vice President of Community Engagement, said. "While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact schools and students alike, these young artists prove that challenges can inspire some of the most resourceful thinking, too. We're so happy to share these nominations and can't wait for Kansas City area students, schools and families to join us outdoors for the Blue Star Awards Ceremony on May 20 at Starlight Theatre."

Modeled after Broadway's Tony Awards, Starlight's annual Blue Star Awards recognize achievement and excellence in musical theatre among Kansas City area high school students. This year, rather than adjudicators attending all performances, schools had the opportunity for an adjudicator to attend their show to provide educational feedback only. For nominations, adjudicators were engaged to evaluate all award category submissions.

Starlight also introduced a new award category this year-the Dream Production Award, which highlights the creativity of students working in the areas of design, direction and choreography. The 2020-21 Blue Star Awards also mark the most scholarships ever awarded to students-more than $10,000.

The annual Blue Star Awards Ceremony will take place Thursday, May 20, 2021, at Starlight Theatre. Tickets are free but reservations are required. To reserve tickets, visit or call the box office at (816) 363-7827. Masks, social distancing and safety protocols will be required. There will be limited concessions available for purchase.

Starlight asks that patrons be considerate of the safety of their fellow guests at all times so that everyone can have an enjoyable and safe experience at the theatre, and continues to closely monitor federal, state and local guidelines. Policies and procedures will continue to evolve dependent on COVID-19 status at the time of each event. Stay up-to-date on all of the precautions Starlight is taking on Starlight's Staying Safe webpage.

2020-21 Blue Star Awards Nominees

Outstanding Actress in a Lead Role

Leavenworth - Haley Engen as Jo - Little Women

Liberty North - Ava Wolesky as Esmeralda - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Oak Grove - Emma Nadeau as Ariel - Disney's The Little Mermaid

Olathe East - Willa Walberg as Anya - Anastasia

Raymore-Peculiar - Kennedy Kinnick as Winnifred the Woebegone - Once Upon a Mattress

Rockhurst - Isabel Mayer as Cathy - The Last Five Years

Smithville - Sierra Quinn as Jo - Little Women

Truman - Myel White as Deloris Van Cartier - Sister Act

Outstanding Actor in a Lead Role

Liberty North - Jacob Hagen as Quasimodo - The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Oak Park - Jacob Collier as Baker - Into the Woods

Olathe East - Justin Cooley as Dmitry - Anastasia

Olathe South - Max Pardo as Javert - Les Misérables

Park Hill South - Jack Blackburn as Billy Cane - Bright Star

Platte County - Myles Schmitt as Baker - Into the Woods

Raymore-Peculiar - Denton Meehan as Dauntless the Drab - Once Upon a Mattress

Raytown - Aiden Harkins as Pippin - Pippin

Performance Scholarship

Basehor-Linwood - Colton Coy

Belton - Isaiah Allison

Belton - Kayla Watts

Belton - Tucker Rushing

Grain Valley - Imani Vaughn

Grain Valley - Maddux Hughes

Grain Valley - Mariah Gattenby-Snyder

Grandview - Anastasia Coburn

Grandview - Hannah Fuller

Performance Scholarship (continued)

Grandview - Samantha Lambert

Lee's Summit North - Abby Knabe

Lee's Summit North - Elaine Watson

Lee's Summit North - Sophia Niblock

Oak Park - Brenden Blue

Oak Park - Kylie McLane

Oak Park - Madison Wells

Olathe East - Madeline King

Olathe East - Phoebe Mock

Olathe East - Sydney Nicks

Olathe South - Alana Shields

Olathe South - Elise Bowles

Olathe South - Rowan Farha

Olathe West - Brandon Heflin

Olathe West - Kalista Brown

Olathe West - Meredith McCalmon

Platte County - Emily Clark

Platte County - Madelynn Darst

Raymore-Peculiar - Meghan Larsen

Raymore-Peculiar - Spencer Barr

Ruskin - Willie Anderson

Saint Thomas Aquinas - Maddy Terril

Saint Thomas Aquinas - Maggie Halpin

Saint Thomas Aquinas - Sarah Phillips

St. Teresa's Academy - Darcie Hingula

St. Teresa's Academy - Liv Collet

Truman - Breana Smith

Truman - Kyleigh Hendrix

Truman - Paige Gonzales

Winnetonka - Blake Brinsa

Winnetonka - Zack Abrams

Technical Achievement Award

Belton - Wesley Freeman - Properties Master

Benton - Alex Duhn - Properties Master

Oak Park - Brenden Blue - Publicity

Oak Park - Emily Morrison - Costume Design

Oak Park - Kaleighan Chastain - Stage Management

Oak Park - Lily Dickson - Hair and Makeup Design

Olathe East - Breanna Kristian - Stage Management and Properties Design

Olathe East - Grant Martin - Costume Design

Olathe East - Saphron DeWitt - Stage Management

Park Hill South - Alyssa Espinosa - Scenic Design

Park Hill South - Sean Hall - Scenic Construction

Raymore-Peculiar - Nathan Caskey - Lighting Design and Scenic Construction

Winnetonka - Derek Walsh - Costume Design and Management

Winnetonka - Hunter Murray - Stage Management

Rising Star Scholarship

Belton - Jessica Frank

Belton - Tucker Rushing

Leavenworth - Haley Engen

Lee's Summit North - Elaine Watson

Liberty North - Garrett Lampert

Liberty North - Nadia Higareda

Oak Park - Francesca Young

Oak Park - Reese Hill

Olathe East - Addison Landes

Olathe East - Willa Walberg

Olathe West - Emma Johnson

Park Hill South - Allison Miller

Raymore-Peculiar - Denton Meehan

Raytown - Cheyli Ferbet

St. Teresa's Academy - Darcie Hingula

Truman - Gabrielle Petentler

Winnetonka - Blake Brinsa

Community Impact Award



Oak Park


Dream Production Award

Basehor-Linwood - Madi Messer - Hair and Makeup Design

Olathe East - Grant Martin - Costume Design

Olathe East - Millie Bell - Choreography

Olathe West - Ella Amos - Costume Design

Liberty North - Kiersten Schmalz - Choreography

Liberty North - Sydney Davis - Direction

Liberty North - Theresa Sudholt - Choreography

Raymore-Peculiar - Nathan Caskey - Lighting Design

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