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Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards Announced


The Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater were launched in 1991 as a means to recognize and encourage student achievement.

Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards Announced

Pittsburgh CLO has announced the 30th anniversary of the Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater will be held as a virtual event on Saturday, May 29, 2021 at 7:30pm ET!

As many high schools have been unable to produce their annual shows, Pittsburgh CLO made a shift from the traditional in-person Gene Kelly Awards Ceremony to a virtual gathering online, creating a unique program to celebrate young artists and showcase their talents. After holding several town hall meetings and conversations with previous participants, the need to bring back this unique and beloved event became more pressing.

As CLO continues to adapt to the ever-changing new normal, staff, volunteers, and school representatives have been working diligently behind the scenes to put together this first-ever online Gene Kelly Awards ceremony. One of the most exciting aspects of this year's online format is that all high school students living in Allegheny County can participate.

"Since its beginning in 1991, the Kelly Awards has recognized the incredible talent of students across Allegheny County," said Executive Producer, Mark Fleischer. "While we can't be together in person at the Benedum, gathering virtually will allow us to applaud the ingenuity and perseverance of students, teachers, and school communities. In a time when we need the arts the most, they have found new ways, despite seemly insurmountable obstacles, to ensure musical theater remained a part of their school year."

Any high school in Allegheny County may choose to participate in this year's virtual celebration even if their school is not producing a musical. Since few schools have been permitted to produce musicals this year, no group categories will be adjudicated or awarded. The competition component will only include individual categories; Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. The school productions will not be adjudicated by a panel of independent judges.

The Gene Kelly Award winners for Best Actor and Best Actress will participate in an arts education and professional development experience by competing at the national level with the Jimmy Awards, which will be held virtually and broadcast nationwide in 2021.

The Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater were launched in 1991 as a means to recognize and encourage student achievement and to focus the attention of the community and school districts on the importance of musical theater and arts education. Patterned after Broadway's Tony Awards, this event celebrates the power of the Arts to significantly improve all areas of education! High school theater programs are the real winners as show business veterans and community celebrities help to spread the word about the achievements of high school students and their school's musical theater programs. Over the past 30 years, Gene Kelly Award winners have gone on to Broadway and Hollywood careers. The Gene Kelly Awards are presented by Pittsburgh CLO, the HRH Foundation, the Michael J. Kara Family, The Gismondi Family Foundation, Deloitte, Point Park University, PNC, Highmark and the Pittsburgh CLO Ambassadors.

Details on how and where to stream the online event will be available in the coming weeks.

For more information about the Gene Kelly Awards or how schools and students can participate, please email

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