In The Spotlight: Coffee County High School's Edgar Guzman

The Spotlight Awards Will Be Presented Saturday, May 25, at Tennessee Performing Arts Center

By: May. 19, 2024
In The Spotlight: Coffee County High School's Edgar Guzman
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First in a Six-Part Series: 2024 marks the tenth anniversary of the very first Nashville Musical Theatre Awards, which were presented for the first time in 2014, when 12 Middle Tennessee high school theater programs took part in the fledgling program founded by Mike Fernandez and Lipscomb University’s College of Entertainment and the Arts.

From that beginning, the program has grown into what is now known as The Spotlight Awards, an arts initiative of the Tennessee Performing Arts Center, which – since 2017 – celebrates, supports and grows the artistry and diverse community of high school theatre programs in Tennessee while developing confidence, creativity, empathy and collaboration among schools.

Next Saturday night, May 25, the latest group of students from schools throughout the region will gather at TPAC’s Andrew Jackson Hall – which is normally the site for the Broadway at TPAC series of touring shows (the most recent offering was Frozen, which closed May 18, and will be followed Hairspray, opening June 11) – for the presentation of the 2024 Spotlight Awards.

The two winners of the Outstanding Lead Performer Spotlight Awards in Nashville will travel later this summer to New York City to take part The Jimmy Awards and to compete for top honors, which recognizes the nation’s leading high school musical theater performers. In addition to The Spotlight Awards, Tennessee will be represented by top theatre students from The Orpheum Theatre in Memphis’ High School Musical Theatre Awards, Knoxville’s Tennessee Theatre’s Marquee Awards and The Tivoli Theatres’ Jewel Awards in Chattanooga.

Today we begin a six-part series of interviews with the Spotlight Awards’ nominees for Outstanding Lead Performer, shining the BroadwayWorld Nashville spotlight on the talented young actors who will compete for the opportunity to represent Nashville, Middle Tennessee and TPAC at The Jimmy Awards.

In The Spotlight: Coffee County High School's Edgar Guzman First up is Edgar Guzman, a senior from Coffee County High School, who won Spotlight Award notice for his role as Adolpho in The Drowsy Chaperone, which was his first principal role in a musical! Next fall, Edgar will enter Middle Tennessee State University, where he plans to study nursing. In addition to his nomination for Outstanding Lead Performer, he is also nominated for Outstanding Comedic Lead for the outrageously entertaining role of Adolpho.

Here's your chance to get to know more about Edgar and to be able to say, “I knew him when…”

What has your SPOTLIGHT AWARDS experience been like so far? It’s honestly been pretty scary, it’s all very new to me since this was my first musical ever and somehow it got me up to here. But other than how new it’s all been, I’ve met some great people, made new friends, picked up new skills, etc. It’s been pretty cool to have been nominated and seeing all my friends react with so much support.

How did you become interested in theater and live performance? I’ve always had friends who were in theater throughout all of my years in school, but it wasn’t until my now partner convinced me to do the school play (Pride and Prejudice) last year on a whim. I skipped that year's musical because I was too scared, but then joined this year to be with people I know and here I am!

What, where and when was your first role and character? My first role ever was Sir Williams in Pride and Prejudice for the fall play, but I don’t really count that – honestly I didn’t really do much and I had like two lines. I consider Aldolpho to be my real first role in Drowsy. It was a lot of work but it paid off.

In The Spotlight: Coffee County High School's Edgar Guzman
Edgar Guzman as Adolpho
in The Drowsy Chaperone

What is your theatrical goal? I don’t really have any right now! If doing Spotlight Awards gets me anywhere I’d like to continue doing theater through college and in community theater. It would be cool if I could break out into larger productions but I don’t think I’m ready for those yet. I need more experience.

If you could play any role, in any show, what would you choose? That one is really hard, but I have to go with either Audrey II or Seymour from Little Shop of Horrors. I had a fascination with carnivorous plants as a kid and I still do, just deciding if I want to play the role of the nerd I am for liking plants or if I want to play the plant itself is a tough choice for me.

What’s been your most memorable theater experience so far? I haven’t had many yet, but so far it was my cane accidentally breaking on opening night of The Drowsy Chaperone when Aldolpho gets mad and I had to go backstage afterward and make a new one out of a broomstick and electrical tape.

Who are your favorite actors? I don’t really have a favorite! I haven’t been in the world of acting long enough to really pinpoint one I know is my favorite in acting.

What show that you’ve never seen would you most like to see live and onstage? Bright Star. I had never heard of it until I went to the Spotlight lead meeting and I met some people in it. It intrigued me and I still don’t know what it’s about.

What’s next for you theatrically speaking? I auditioned at my local community theater and we’re doing Mean Girls. I got cast in the role of Kevin G. and honestly I couldn’t be happier about it. If I am forever doomed to play the funny, brown, side character then I would be happy with that. It’s what I do best.

In The Spotlight: Coffee County High School's Edgar Guzman About The Spotlight Awards: The Spotlight Awards are dedicated to supporting the talents, educational endeavors, and friendships of high school theatre students in Tennessee to build a strong and inclusive theatre community.

Every year Tennessee high school theatre programs can apply to participate in the three-part program comprised of achievement recognition, exclusive learning opportunities, and community building. Events and opportunities offered throughout the year are designed to help students and directors hone their skills and advance their understanding of the craft. Schools can participate in the Adjudication Level to have a panel of arts professionals attend each school’s musical and provide feedback on the performance. Schools receive awards that honor achievements in performance, technical and creative categories.

TPAC’s membership in The Broadway League allows the two Spotlight Award Outstanding Lead Performer winners to attend The Jimmy Awards in New York City, a national celebration of outstanding student achievement, recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performance and elevating the importance of theatre arts education in schools.


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