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2017 Spotlight Award Nominees Announced

2017 Spotlight Award Nominees AnnouncedAs Tony Award nominations were being revealed on Tuesday to honor productions and performances during the 2016-17 season, organizers of The 2017 Spotlight Awards - honoring the best in high school musical theater throughout Middle Tennessee - were tallying scores and assembling all the names of nominees for the awards presentation to be held Saturday, May 13, at Andrew Johnson Hall at Nashville's Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Finalists for the opportunity to represent Middle Tennessee at The Jimmy Awards in New York City are: Nathan Keffer (Ravenwood High); Anna Cooper (Siegel High); Hatty King (Lipscomb Academy); William Kuebitz (Tullahoma High); Caleb Mitchell (Siegel High); and Lilla Golgoczy-Toler (Nashville School of the Arts)

Erica and Miles Aubrey will host the event, which will culminate a full day of workshops at the Lipscomb University campus. The Aubreys, Nashville-based performers with a broad range of Broadway, TV, film, and music credits, will lead a full day of performance workshops and serve as celebrity co-hosts for the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards - The Spotlight Awards - presented in partnership between the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and Lipscomb University on May 13.

The 2016-17 program will culminate on the Lipscomb campus with a full day of workshops, led by the Aubreys and others, on subjects like improv acting, dance, audition techniques, and more. That evening, TPAC will host the Spotlight Awards, a Tony Awards-style ceremony in Andrew Jackson Hall, where the top 10 schools will perform and students will be honored with a variety of awards. The ceremony will be available to the public with tickets on sale soon at TPAC.org.

Founded by Mike Fernandez, dean of Lipscomb's College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theatre, the awards program invites students and teachers to submit their performances and productions to be evaluated by members of the local theatre community, receive valuable feedback and compete for a variety of awards.

Now in its fourth year, the program has grown to include 30 high schools in Middle Tennessee, including: Pope John Paul II High School, Central Magnet School, St. Cecilia Academy, Hillsboro High School, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, Davidson Academy, Station Camp High School, Brentwood High School, Goodpasture Christian School, Tullahoma High School, Wilson Central High School, Siegel High School, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville School of the Arts, Ravenwood High School, Oakland High School, Stewarts Creek High School, John Overton High School, Page High School, Hendersonville High School, Ensworth School, Monterey High School, Mount Pleasant High School, Franklin High School, Centennial High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Father Ryan High School, Cane Ridge High School, Independence High School and Dickson County High School.

Spotlight Awards Nominees for 2017 include:

Best Choreography Nominees Ensworth High; Hillsboro High; Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; Ravenwood High; and Siegel High

Best Male Dancer Nominees Brentwood - Ben Bydberg; Christ Presbyterian Academy - Connor Drazen; Hillsboro - Master Rainer II; Nashville School of the Arts - William Robinson; and Tullahoma - William Keubitz

Best Female Dancer Nominees Brentwood - Julianna Hayes; Centennial - Megan Gunther; Mt. Pleasant - Laura Gulledge; Mt. Juliet - Abigail Wilson; and Wilson Central - Ashley Streeter

Best Vocals Nominees Brentwood High; Christ Presbyterian Academy; Nashville School of the Arts; Ravenwood High; and Siegel High

Best Orchestra Nominees Ensworth High; Franklin High; Hillsboro High; Nashville School of the Arts; and Stewarts Creek High

Best Music Direction Nominees Christ Presbyterian Academy; Father Ryan High; Nashville School of the Arts; Ravenwood High; and Siegel High

Best Female Soloist Nominees Christ Presbyterian Academy - MacKenzie Roberts; Ensworth - Chloe Abram; Father Ryan - Anna Cate Myers; Goodpasture - Olivia Toliver; and Nashville School of the Arts - Trinity Miller

Best Male Soloist Nominees Brentwood - Will Ryan; Centennial - JulIan Watson; Central Magnet - Sevon Askew; Siegel - Caleb Mitchell; and Station Camp - Cole Ritter

Best Costumes Nominees Brentwood High; Davidson Academy; Hillsboro High; Page High; and Tullahoma High

Best Hair/Makeup Nominees Brentwood High; Ensworth High; Father Ryan High; Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; and Ravenwood High

Best Lighting Nominees Brentwood High; Hendersonville High; Lipscomb Academy; Page High; and Ravenwood High

Best Set Design Nominees Davidson Academy; Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; Nashville School of the Arts; Ravenwood High; and Stewarts Creek High

Standout Supporting Actor Nominees Brentwood - Tomas Starr; Centennial - Makai Keur; Central Magnet - Sevon Askew; Christ Presbyterian Academy - Land Teller; and Tullahoma - Zachary Smith

Standout Supporting Actress Nominees Brentwood - Nikkole Dittler; Davidson Academy - Alexandra Chopson; Independence - Makayla Boyd; Mt. Pleasant - Adriana Harlan; and Nashville School of the Arts - Marcella Jones

Best Ensemble Nominees Brentwood High; Ensworth High; Hillsboro High; Ravenwood High; and Siegel High

Standout Ensemble Actress Nominees Christ Presbyterian Academy - Mary Marguerite Hall; Overton - Jackie Anderson; Mt. Pleasant - Julie Wright; Ravenwood - Camille Vulcano; and St. Cecilia - Anna Bowman

Standout Ensemble Actor Nominees Hillsboro - Finn Gallagher; Overton - Kevin Ortez; Mt. Juliet - Mason Tabor; Pope John Paul II - Miles Robinson; and Siegel - Walt Chitwood

Standout Comedic Actress Nominees Franklin High - Katie Yeomans; Hillsboro - Tiyanna Gentry; Mt. Juliet Christian - Emily Spence; Nashville School of the Arts - Lilla Galgoczy-Toler; and Siegel - Megan Scott

Standout Comedic Actor Nominees Hillsboro - Thomas Wagner; Independence - Isaac Thompson; Ravenwood - Nathan Keffer; Stewarts Creek - Drew Harris; and Tullahoma - William Kuebitz

Standout Dramatic Actor Nominees Brentwood - Will Ryan; Cane Ridge - Lyndarious Arrington; Christ Presbyterian Academy - Jay Perry; Page High - Jackson Harris; and Siegel High - Caleb Mitchell

Standout Dramatic Actress Nominees Ensworth - Corrine Parrish; Independence - Sydney Albrecht; Lipscomb - Hatty King; Mt. Juliet Christian - Abigail Wilson; and St. Cecilia - Zoe Dongas

Best Overall Design Concept Nominees Davidson Academy; Hillsboro High; Mt. Juliet Christian; Nashville School of the Arts; and Ravenwood High

Best Overall Tech Nominees Brentwood High; Hendersonville High; Hillsboro High; Nashville School of the Arts; and Siegel High

Best Direction Nominees Christ Presbyterian Academy; Hillsboro High; Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; Nashville School of the Arts; and Ravenwood High

TOP 10 SCHOOLS In order of performance at the Ceremony Ravenwood High; Mt. Juliet Christian Academy; Davidson Academy; Brentwood High; Nashville School of the Arts; Hillsboro High; Siegel High School; Christ Presbyterian Academy; Father Ryan High School; and Ensworth High School

Best Actor/Best Actress Finalists in order of performance at the Ceremony Nathan Keffer (Ravenwood High); Anna Cooper (Siegel High); Hatty King (Lipscomb Academy); William Kuebitz (Tullahoma High); Caleb Mitchell (Siegel High); and Lilla Golgoczy-Toler (Nashville School of the Arts)

All Star Cast Nominees

Cane Ridge High CJ Glass, DeDe West, DeQuan Lollar, Erick Sauceda, Genesis Santamaria, Isaiah Bennett, Jennifer Martinez, Lyndarious Arrington, Sierra Gonzalez and Victoria Nwanso,

Davidson Academy Alex Browning, Alexandra Chopson, Ayla David, Bobby Groogan, Brandon Hopkins, Brooke Sanders, Evan Wellbrock, Gage Burchett, Grace Davis, Jesse Darner; Kinsey Burchett and Talon David

Hillsboro High Ashton Harris, Avery Frierson, Duncan Corbin, Finn Gallagher, Gelani Ervin, Hezekiah Savage, Joe Henry, Lilly Moore, Lucas Sharpe, Master Rainer II, Skylar Fisher, Thomas Wagner and Tiyanna Gentry

Ravenwood High Camille Vulcano, Carson Boudreau, Emma Underwood, Grace Penner, Lauren Hayes, Madi Thomson, Nathan Keffer, Sam Anctil, Scott Baron and Tristan Tournaud

Independence High School Audrey Thresher, Bella Melius, Brett Lemmers, Drake Cunningham, Grace McKissick, Isaac Thompson, James Roberson, Makayla Boyd, Olivia Hendrix and Sydney Albrecht

Christ Presbyterian Academy Adelaide Leonard, Ben Pate, Emme Teller, Glory Guy, Haidyn Rankin?Caroll, Henry Fenton, Jay Perry, Joey Stusek, Land Teller, Lauren Hutchins, Mackenzie Roberts and Mary Marguerite Hall

Ensworth High School BaiLee Mason, Briggs Blevins, Cameron Bryant, Caroline Seitz, Chloe Abram, Corrina Gill, Corrine Parrish, Jack Davidson, Morgan Zagerman, Rachel Byarlay and Ryan Crants

Goodpasture Christian School Courtney Mann, Emma Flanagan, Garrett Abraham, Garrett Inman, Jack Cannon, Jacob Barnes, John Overstreet, Kacie Pennington, Oliva Toliver and Shelby Bratcher

Brentwood High Ben Rydberg, Bennett Bowden, Lettie Thym, Easton Freeze, Grey Masunungure, Hannah Oakley, Lydia Fatemi, Nikkole Dittler, Paige Russell, Tomas Starr, Will Ryan and Xavier MacLean

Hendersonville High Aaron Brewer, Andrew Freeland, Carlye Morris, Carson Jackson, Chai Golden, Cianon Jones, Connor Stumm, Constance Walker, Morgan Frost and Sam Hollingsworth

Lipscomb Academy Addison McFarlin, Anna Sager, Bella Denzel, Chloe Parrish, Dane Mortensen, Hatty King, Holden Montgomery, Hudson Parker. Kayla Perry, Lauren Daughtery and Samson Tucker

Mt. Pleasant High Adriana Harlan, Andrew Grooms, Dakota Lang, Dalton Stefon, Jonathan Willis, Julie Wright, KJ Rainey, Laura Gulledge and Raymond Meza

Wilson Central High Abbie Rider, Ashley Streeter, Aspen Freeman, Caitlin Connell, Isabelle Leonard, Jacob Denney, Jonah Smith, Lauren Frazer, Logan Reed, Logan Richardson, Lucas Blair, Meredith Binkley, Michaela Ziparo and Quinton Tolbert

Page High Brock Nason, Cameron Skillen, Christal Horton, Daniel McMahan, Danny Williamson, Eliza Lowry, Hannah Balint, Jackson Harris, Lauren Howell, Mya Ray, Natalie Dinkins and Tyler Bond

John Overton High Alex Haygood, Caroline Connor, Chelstin Wildun, Cole Stevens, Jackie Anderson, Jaquall Peoples, Jess Clements, Jessi Cobbinah, Kaelyn Braswell, Kevin Ortez, Landon Finley, Rasan Kuvly, Trent McCrary and Zoe Newcomb

Stewarts Creek High Anna Vogler, Bernice Leveque, Carissa Conley, Drew Harris, Ian Hamilton, Ivy Wetherill, Jack Seage, Kaelyn Giles, Kalyn Choate, McKenna Harris, Neil Talbott, Sarah Tuverson and Zaniah Harris

Dickson County High School Andrew Trimble, Dalton Madden, Grace Peters, Kendra Marable, Kira Bolerjack, Levi Weaver, Lexy Galbreath, Raven Schuman, Tucker Spicer and Wyatt Allen

Oakland Aubrey Rhodes, Bo Fowler, Caleb Evans, Erriyana Moore, Katlyn Marion, Logan Elkins, Mitchell Carmack, Molly Spies, Nakia Marion, Paloma Diaz, Sydney Elam, Trey Moore and Tristin Hamilton

St. Cecilia Academy Anna Bowman, Brianne Kendall, Cameron Sheppard, Cecilia Green, Corinne Wehby, Cosette Bolt, Elle McGinn, Jennie Mae Sprouse, Meredith Remke, Rose Simpson, Salem Murray and Zoe Dongas

Siegel High School Alex Cassidy, Anna Cooper, Brandon Hoyt, Caleb Mitchell, Diamond Goins, Megan Scott, James Warrick, Katie Grimes, Luke Walsh, Megan Scott, Robbie Sams, Seth Finch and Walt Chitwood

Father Ryan Anna Cate Myers, Blake Schapker, Charlie Marrder, Connor Bostelman, Delaney Herrmann, Elle Coffman, Emma Cox, Jenna Ouzts, John Bottei, Joseph Kent, Maggie Rodgers, Matt Davis, Serenity Ogedegbe and Spencer Pomeroy

Tullahoma High School Abigail Eldridge, Alejandra Brown, Heather Dweck, Isabelle Miller, Kaicie Kidd, Kayelyn Davenport, Macy Brown, Owen Zalesak, Tristan Miller. Turner Boudreaux, William Kuebitz and Zachary Smith

Monterey High School Cady Henry, Caitlin Sampley, Clair Webb, Courtney Bilbrey, Jesse Vaughn, Kiona Carter, Mary Walker, Patrick Gago, Sean Farley and Serena Roberson

Pope John Paul II High School Caeley Murray, Cainie Brown, Carlee Campbell, Chris Muller, Greg Herzer, Jack Williams, Josh Humphries, Miles Robinson, Sarah Gould and Stephen Smart

Central Magnet School Becca Brackett, Elisha McFarlin, Hannah Guthrie, Julia Kelley, Nolan Raglad, Sevon Askew

Station Camp High School Adelicia Loewen, Alex Watson, Caitlyn Parente, Cole Ritter, Emma Harvey, Emma Puerta, Jack Dickson, Jared Stark, Kailee Harris, Lucy Crow and Ryan Mielke

Nashville School of the Arts Aine Donohue, Connor Chaparro, David Torres, EJ Terry, Joseph Nestler, Lilla Galgoczy-Toler, Marcella Jones, Sawyer Latham, Trinity Miller, William Robinson and Zoe Jones

Centennial High School Benjamin Gallagher, Conner Hatcher, Emiliano Garcia, Evan Trent, Hayden Bice, Jacob Fowler, Jacob Spears, JulIan Watson, Leeza Cox, Makai Keur, McKenzie Garey, Megan Gunthert, Noah Baughman and Rachel Ives

Franklin High School Bradley Crow, Cole Winton, Isabella Stachurski, Kaitlyn Sumner, Katie Yeomans, Kent Washburn, Leo Culligan, Liam Ryan, Margaret Albrecht, Meredith Aydelott, Nancy Tillman, Olivia Grasso and Sophia Badalian

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy Abby Risher, Abe Gibson, Abigail Wilson, Blakely Otto, Braeden Mahabir, Brennen Wilde, Clara Eck, Elizabeth Larsen, Emily Spence, Jake Yoder, Markie Scott, Mason Tabor and Tate Runyon

About the 2017 Spotlight Awards Miles and Erica Aubrey, Nashville-based performers with a broad range of Broadway, TV, film, and music credits, will lead a full day of performance workshops and serve as celebrity co-hosts for the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or "Spotlight Awards," presented in partnership between the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center (TPAC) and Lipscomb University on May 13.

Founded by Mike Fernandez, dean of Lipscomb's College of Entertainment & the Arts, to recognize excellence in local high school theatre, the awards program invites students and teachers to submit their performances and productions to be evaluated by members of the local theatre community, receive valuable feedback and compete for a variety of awards.

Now in its fourth year, the program has grown to include 30 high schools in Middle Tennessee, including: Pope John Paul II High School, Central Magnet School, St. Cecilia Academy, Hillsboro High School, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy, Davidson Academy, Station Camp High School, Brentwood High School, Goodpasture Christian School, Tullahoma High School, Wilson Central High School, Siegel High School, Lipscomb Academy, Nashville School of the Arts, Ravenwood High School, Oakland High School, Stewarts Creek High School, John Overton High School, Page High School, Hendersonville High School, Ensworth School, Monterey High School, Mount Pleasant High School, Franklin High School, Centennial High School, Christ Presbyterian Academy, Father Ryan High School, Cane Ridge High School, Independence High School and Dickson County High School.

Students from these schools have been hard at work creating, rehearsing and performing their musical productions since October. A diverse group of adjudicators including Lipscomb faculty, TPAC staff and Nashville area theater professionals have attended performances and write evaluations with feedback for future improvement.

On May 13, the program will culminate on the Lipscomb campus with a full day of workshops, led by the Aubreys and others, on subjects like improv acting, dance, audition techniques, and more. That evening, TPAC will host the "Spotlight Awards," a Tony Awards-style ceremony in Andrew Jackson Hall, where the top 10 schools will perform and students will be honored with a variety of awards. The ceremony will be available to the public with tickets on sale soon at TPAC.org.

"We are thrilled to have Miles and Erica Aubrey as our hosts this year. They bring a ton of professional and Broadway experience in musical theatre, vocal training, musicianship, and TV/film. One of the really great things about them is that they have followed their dreams and been successful both individually and together as a couple, and I think they will inspire the students in a way that they can see how to balance a career and family at the same time," said Kari Smith, theater and dance instructor in Lipscomb University's College of Entertainment & the Arts and director of the program.

"Miles and Erica are multi-talented and have such incredible and inspiring resumes, but they are also so personable, down to earth, and encouraging. I believe the students are going to love working with them in the workshops, and I know we will all love seeing Miles and Erica perform together at the ceremony."

This year, TPAC is bringing new resources and opportunities to the program, helping it to grow in scope and impact with the help of TPAC Education staff and its connections to the Broadway industry.

One of TPAC's most significant contributions is its connection to The Broadway League, which will allow the two students receiving the Best Male Actor and Best Female Actor awards to travel to New York and participate in The Jimmy Awards (www.JimmyAwards.com) on June 26, 2017. Named in honor of legendary Broadway theater owner and producer, James M. Nederlander, the 10-day program celebrates the most talented high school actors from across the nation.

For more information, please email nashvilleMTA@lipscomb.edu or call (615) 966-7111.

Institutional sponsors for TPAC include Nissan North America and Coca-Cola. TPAC is funded in part by support from the Tennessee Arts Commission and the Metropolitan Nashville Arts Commission.

About Miles and Erica Aubrey

2017 Spotlight Award Nominees AnnouncedMiles Aubrey recently finished a nine-year run on Broadway as Norm Waxman in the Tony Award-winning musical "Jersey Boys," directed by Des MacAnuff. Aubrey also was seen in Broadway's "Ring of Fire," directed by Richard Maltby Jr. Regional theater credits include numerous shows at North Shore Music Theater, Casa Manana, Goodspeed, Nashville Repertory Theatre, Flat Rock Playhouse, Charlotte Rep and Lyric Theater. Favorite roles include Dillard in "Foxfire," the Prince in "Cinderella" and Hortensio in "Taming of the Shrew." TV/film appearances include Charlie Calello in Clint Eastwood's film adaptation of "Jersey Boys," "Unsolved Mysteries," "The Tonight Show," The Tony Awards, "Live with Seth Meyers," "Ellen," and Comedy Central's Onion News Network. During his years in NYC, Aubrey was cast in numerous readings and workshops, including "Moonshine: That Hee Haw Musical," produced by Gaylord Entertainment, and Broadway-bound musical "The Sting," directed by Tony Award winning John Rando. Also an accomplished musician, Aubrey is currently on tour playing lead guitar for six-time Grammy nominee and Warner Brothers recording artist BRandy Clark. Aubrey has toured North America and the U.K., with several national television performances, and has over two dozen appearances on the Grand Ole Opry. He was also a guest artist at the prestigious All-Star Guitar Night in 2015. Numerous guitar companies professionally endorse Aubrey, including Fender, Taylor, Paul ReEd Smith, and Kyser. His original music has been heard in productions at Nashville Repertory Theatre and North Shore Music Theater. A native Oklahoman, Aubrey studied at the University of Miami and SUNY Purchase.

2017 Spotlight Award Nominees AnnouncedErica Aubrey holds a Master of Arts in Vocal Performance with an emphasis in musical theatre from New York University. Aubrey spent the last decade working as a professional actress in New York. Most recently, she performed the role of Mrs. Newton in the Chicago-based Broadway tryout of "Amazing Grace," directed by Gabriel Barre and choreographed by Tony Award winner Christopher Gatelli. She was the standby for Tony Award winner Kelli O'Hara in "Far From Heaven" at the prestigious Playwrights Horizons, directed by three-time Tony nominee Michael Greif. She performed alongside Tony Award winner Kristin Chenoweth in "Music in the Air" at the New York City Center Encores! series, and has performed principal roles in equity theaters across the country, including the Ryman Auditorium, Casa Mañana, Theatre Aspen, Gateway Playhouse, American Folklore Theater, Ogunquit Playhouse, Merry-Go-Round Playhouse, Flat Rock Playhouse, and New York Stage and Film. Notably, she played Shelby in "The Spitfire Grill" in the 10th Anniversary production directed by the show's composer, James Valcq, and played Judy Bernly in the first regional premiere of "9 to 5: The Musical" starring Sally Struthers. While in New York, she took part in numerous readings and workshops of new musicals, including "Moonshine: That Hee-Haw Musical," co-written by Grammy Award-nominated and Warner Brothers Nashville recording artist, BRandy Clark. Aubrey has appeared on "The Late Show with David Letterman" as a back-up singer for Clark and also has worked as a back-up singer for the jam band Phish, performing in sold-out concerts at Madison Square Garden. She has performed in concerts with and on recordings for composers Alan Menken, Craig Carnelia, Stephen Schwartz, and Adam Gwon. She is the voice of Lucille in the MTI cast recording of "Junie B Jones The Musical," which was released on iTunes and Amazon in January 2017. In Nashville, she remains active as an actress, session singer and voice-over artist, and recently took part in a staged reading of the new musical "Part of the Plan," co-produced by KSquared Entertainment and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center. She is working on a solo album and can be seen on Season One of the Netflix/Marvel Comic series "A.K.A. Jessica Jones."

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