Photo Coverage: Melinda Doolittle Hosts 2015 NMTA at Lipscomb University
Cookeville High School's production of West Side Story claimed top honors - the award for Best Show of 2014/15 - last Saturday at the second annual Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, presented at Lipscomb University's Collins Alumni Auditorium and hosted by Melinda Doolittle.
Doolittle - the concert performer/soulful singer/actress and motivational speaker/American Idol star who's made her home in Nashville since college - was host last for Lipscomb University's second annual Nashville High School Musical Awards and conducted master classes throughout the day. The charming and ebullient Doolittle presided over the ceremonies that featured musical performances by Middle Tennessee high school stars and the presentation of dozens of awards that culminated with the coveted "best show" award.
Presenters included Greg Greene, co-founder and managing director of Nashville's Blackbird Theatre Company; Kari Smith, director of NMTA and member of the Lipscomb University theatre and dance faculty, co-found and choreographer of Foundation Dance Theatre, and artistic director of Brentwood's Towne Centre Theatre; Andy Bleiler, member of Lipscomb's theatre faculty and technical director for Lipscomb Department of Theatre; Bekah Purifoy, junior BFA musical theatre major at LU; Emily Hughes, 2013 First Night Most Promising Actor and senior BFA acting major at LU; Jeffrey Ellis, Nashville theatre director, senior contributing editor for BroadwayWorld.com, and found and executive producer of The First Night Actors; Beki Baker, chair of the department of theatre at Lipscomb University; Leigh Anne Ervin, member of the LU dance faculty and co-founder and choreographer for Foundation Dance Theatre; and Mike Fernandez, dean of the Lipscomb University College of Entertainment and the Arts.
Nashville High School Musical Theatre Award winners:
- Best Vocals: Pippin, Siegel High School
- Best Chorus or Ensemble: The Wizard of Oz, Lipscomb Academy
- Best Dancing: Ring of Fire, Ensworth High School, and West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Overall Design Concept: Mary Poppins, Christ Presbyterian Academy, and Into the Woods, Davidson Academy
- Best Overall Tech: Hairspray, Hillsboro High School
- Best Costumes: Annie, St. Cecilia Academy, and Into the Woods, Franklin Road Academy
- Best Hair/Make-up: Hairspray, Hillsboro High School, and The Music Man, Brentwood High School
- Best Lighting: The Music Man, Brentwood High School
- Best Props: Annie, St. Cecilia Academy
- Best Scenic Design: Hairspray, Hillsboro High School
- Best Production Materials: Fiddler on the Roof, Centennial High School
- Best Staging: West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Student Orchestration: Ring of Fire, Ensworth High School
- Best Direction: West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Show: West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Male Soloist: Seth Farley, Pippin, Siegel High School
- Best Female Soloist: Hattie King, The Wizard of Oz, Lipscomb Academy, and Addie Pollard, Fiddler on the Roof, Centennial High School
- Best Featured Male Dancer: Craig Collins, West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Featured Female Dancer: Morgan Whiting, Fiddler on the Roof, Centennial High School
- Best Dramatic Actor: Nathan Thomas, Mary Poppins, Christ Presbyterian Academy
- Best Dramatic Actress: Emily Helton, West Side Story, Cookeville High School, and Brianna Middleton, Ring of Fire, Ensworth High School
- Best Comedic Actor: Dylan Hughes, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ravenwood High School
- Best Comedic Actress: Emma Davis, Hairspray, Hillsboro High School
- Best Supporting Actor: Colt Conner, West Side Story, Cookeville High School
- Best Supporting Actress: Kristin Barret, Annie, St. Cecilia Academy, and Tori Peterson, Pippin, Siegel High School
- Standout Ensemble Actor: Brandon Hoyt, Pippin, Siegel High School
- Standout Ensemble Actress: Sophie Scott, Ring of Fire, Ensworth High School, and Amanda Miserocchi, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Ravenwood
- Best Tech Student: Josh Betts, Mary Poppins, Christ Presbyterian Academy
- Best Design Student: Luke Carver, The Wizard of Oz, Pope John Paul II High School
- Best Actor: Jess Darnell, Damn Yankees, Montgomery Bell Academy, and Adam LaPorte, Children of Eden, Central Magnet High School
- Best Actress: Emma Davis, Hairspray, Hillsboro High School, and Ellen Robertson, Pippin, Siegel High School
- All-Star Crew 2015: Lucy Sherrer and Taylor Roach, St. Cecilia Academy; Marliese Dalton and Harrison Avery, MBA/Harpeth Hall; Bailee Ficzere and Kealie Burr, Centennial High School; Jack Runyon-Haass and Emma Hood, Ensworth; Will Farris and Gabe Vigil, Davidson Academy; Luke Carver and Ashley Phillips, Pope John Paul II; Julia Beddoe and Erin Gurley, Brentwood High; Rosie Gilman and Josh Betts, Christ Presbyterian Academy; Sarah Johnson and Faith Robertsz, Ravenwood High; Rebecca Padilla and Lexi Dickens, Siegel; Tatum England and Baylee Hayes, Central Magnet; Hayden Jackson and Collin Renegar, Cookeville High; Alfredo Garcia and Molly Shea, Hillsboro; Tristan Marshall and Aidan Elliot, Franklin Road Academy; Caela Motley and Lacey Dumas, Father Ryan High School; Jimmy Gilfilen and Alex Woods, Lipscomb Academy; and Harley Mires and Sara Dickens, Wilson Central High School.
- All-Star Cast 2015: Rose Simpson and Sara Johnson, St. Cecilia Academy; Jess Darnell and Caroline Sandrell, MBA/Harpeth Hall; Addie Pollard and Andrew Phillips, Centennial; Brianna Middleton and Drew Harris, Ensworth; Andrew Fischer and Cameron Bortz, Brentwood High; Adam LaPorte and Mason McDermaid, Central Magnet; Emma Davis and Alexandra McKenna, Hillsboro; Ellen Robertson and Seth Farley, Siegel; Hattie Breeece and Alexandra Chopson, Davidson Academy; Nathan Thomas and Harley Seger, Christ Presbyterian Academy; Morgan Maxwell and Alex McCullough, Wilson Central; Michael Bottei and Maddie Simpson, Father Ryan; Dylan Hughes and Anna Wellander, Ravenwood; Hatty King and Noah Adams, Lipscomb Academy; Mary Grace Burton and William Pope, Franklin Road Academy; Emily Helton and Craig Collins, Cookeville; Jaime Rochester and Zach Janson, Pope John Paul II.
One of the highlights of the awards presentation came when Melinda Doolittle and Jeffrey Ellis urged the audience to take selfies of themselves and post on social media with the hashtags #melindaandjefmademedoit and #nmta2015. Some of their selfies follow: