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Pittsburgh CLO's 2018 Gene Kelly Awards Winners Announced

A sold-out crowd gathered at the Benedum Center as Pittsburgh CLO honored Allegheny County's finest high school performers at the 28th Annual Pittsburgh CLO Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater on Saturday, May 26, 2018.

Named for legendary performer and Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly, this annual celebration emphasizes the importance of arts education and recognizes the time, energy and dedication that local high schools devote to their musical productions each spring.

Patterned after the Tony Awards, the ceremony included live performances by the Best Musical nominees and Best Actor/Actress nominees. Each nominated school performed a five-minute selection from their respective shows. Special guest presenters included local television personality WPXI's Scott Harbaugh and Gene Kelly's widow Patricia Ward Kelly.

Pittsburgh CLO congratulates the 2018 Gene Kelly Awards winners, nominees and the following 29 participating Allegheny County high schools: Avonworth High School, Baldwin High School, Bishop Canevin High School, Central & Oakland Catholic High School, Chartiers Valley High School, Deer Lakes High School, Elizabeth Forward High School, Hampton Township High School, Keystone Oaks High School, Moon Area High School, North Hills High School, Northgate Middle/Sr. High School, Our Lady of the Sacred Heart High School, Pine-Richland High School, Pittsburgh Allderdice High School, Pittsburgh Brashear High School, Pittsburgh CAPA High School, Plum Senior High School, Propel Braddock Hills High School, Redeemer Lutheran School, Riverview High School, Sewickley Academy, Springdale Jr-Sr High School, St. Joseph High School, Steel Valley Senior High School, West Allegheny High School, Westinghouse Arts Academy Charter School, Winchester Thurston School and Woodland Hills High School.

The Charles Gray Award for Special Achievement in Arts Education was presented to Propel Hazelwood, in recognition of its arts education program. The school has infused arts into its daily mission and empowers students to be creative within the arts program. Scholars are exposed to diverse types of visual and performance arts giving them a wide variety of experiences through art.

This year, Pittsburgh CLO awarded $95,500 in scholarships to several college-bound seniors at the ceremony.

Troy Centofanto, representing Point Park University, presented Zoey Myers with a $5,000 scholarship per year, renewable for four years, to attend Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts for Musical Theater.

Pittsburgh CLO awarded Gene Kelly Cash Scholarships totaling $10,000 to four high school seniors who have applied and been accepted to a school for the performing or technical arts. The CLO awarded $2,500 to Chelsea Calfo, Helen Krushinki, Annabelle Leibering and Theresa Hall.

The Pittsburgh CLO Ambassadors awarded $5,000 in scholarships to two college-bound students who will be pursuing a major outside of the arts. The 2018 Ambassadors' Scholarship winners are Delaney Lyons and James Gresos.

The Pittsburgh CLO Guild awarded $50,000 in scholarships to 12 students who are pursuing a college education in theater arts. The CLO Guild awarded $4,000 to Justin Bees, Chelsea Calfo, Anya Epstein, Lance Joos, Helen Krushinski, Isabella Mangretta, Zoey Myers, Maria Rosenberg, Matthew Thornton and Jordyn Blaine Walker; and $5,000 in the name of Charity Randall to Juliann Marraccini and Kevin Tinsley.

The Recipients of the 2018 Gene Kelly Awards are:

Best Scenic Design
Budget Level I: Redeemer Lutheran for Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Budget Level II: Pittsburgh CAPA for Les Misérables
Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Costume Design
Budget Level I: Redeemer Lutheran for Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Budget Level II: Hampton for Nice Work If You Can Get It
Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Lighting Design
Budget Level I: St. Joseph for Children of Eden
Budget Level II: Pittsburgh CAPA for Les Misérables
Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone

Best All-Student Orchestra
Pittsburgh CAPA for Les Misérables

Best Actor in a Supporting Role
Joseph Fish of Hampton for Cookie McGee in Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Jenna Yezovich of Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone in The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Ensemble
Hampton for Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Crew/Technical Execution
Elizabeth Forward for Legally Blonde, the Musical

Best Execution of Choreography
Hampton for Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Execution of Direction
Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Execution of Music Direction
Hampton for Nice Work If You Can Get It

Best Actor
Nasir Butler of Pittsburgh CAPA for Jean Valjean in Les Misérables

Best Actress
Johanna Loughran of Central/Oakland Catholic for Cassie in A Chorus Line

The winners for Best Actor and Best Actress received a $5,000 cash prize courtesy of Point Park University. They also will represent Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards in the tenth-annual Jimmy Awards/National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City on Monday, June 25. The Jimmy Awards/National High School Musical Theater Awards impacts more than 100,000 students annually who participate in high school musical theater competitions sponsored by top professional theaters throughout the US. A Best Actress and Best Actor winner from each of these competitions is sent to New York for a weeklong theater intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase at The Jimmy Awards on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation's top performers. Since its inception in 2009, the program has been the catalyst for more than $2,000,000 in educational scholarships awarded to its participants. For more information, visit www.JimmyAwards.com.

Best Musical
Budget Level I: Redeemer Lutheran for Disney's Beauty and the Beast
Budget Level II: Pittsburgh CAPA for Les Misérables
Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for The Drowsy Chaperone

Now in its 15th year, The Kelly Critics program is a joint partnership between Pittsburgh CLO, Dr. Christopher Rawson and the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dr. Rawson presented the Christopher Rawson Kelly Critics Award. Simon Sweeney from Central Catholic was presented with the award and a $500 scholarship for excellence in writing theatrical critiques.

Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards are presented with additional support provided by Deloitte, The Gismondi Family Foundation, The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust, Point Park University, Highmark Blue Cross Blue Shield, PNC, Virginia S. Nicklas and the CLO Ambassadors.

The Charles Gray Award is made possible by the Roy A. Hunt Foundation.

The Pittsburgh CLO would also like to thank The Pittsburgh Cultural Trust for the use of the Benedum Center. The results are tabulated by Deloitte.

Since 1946, Pittsburgh CLO has been the driving force behind live musical theater in Pittsburgh and the entire Southwestern Pennsylvania region. Under the direction of Van Kaplan since 1997, this not-for-profit arts organization appreciates the support of nearly 200,000 patrons yearly who attend its performances at three venues in the Cultural District: a seasonal subscription series at the Benedum Center, A Musical Christmas Carol at the Byham Theater and year-round shows at the CLO Cabaret. Its dedication to the musical theater art form includes educational programs such as the CLO Academy for Performance and Art, the CLO Mini Stars, the Gene Kelly Awards, the Richard Rodgers Award and The National High School Theatre Awards. As part of its new works development, the organization has been involved with 22 Broadway shows (30 Tony Awards), and in 2014 produced the world premiere of An American in Paris, on Broadway (4 Tony Awards) and in London's West End. In addition, Pittsburgh CLO launched the SPARK festival for new small-cast musicals in 2018. For more information please visit pittsburghCLO.org.

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