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Seventh Annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards Feature Best in High School Performances from Across the State

Broadway meets Utah on May 13, 2017 when more than 250 performers from 29 high schools productions across the state compete in the seventh annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards at the new George S. and Dolores Dore Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City.

Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre, in partnership with Broadway at the Eccles, produces, sponsors and organizes this event. Throughout the year, UFOMT sends professional judges to adjudicate and respond to participating high school productions. Finalists, including schools and individuals, will perform and receive awards in front of a live audience on May 13th at 7 p.m in the Eccles Theater.

Months of preparation culminate on this red-carpet evening hosted by Michael Ballam, founding general director of UFOMT. In addition to the finalist performances, awards will be given for each aspect of the show from performance to technical awards. "There's nothing like it in the state," said Vanessa Ballam, Utah Festival's education director. She described past ceremonies as "complete euphoria." She explained the high schools are supportive of each other and that while it's a competition, it's more importantly a chance to "celebrate excellence, and a wonderful way to unite the talented students of our state." Ballam is enthusiastic that moving the awards program to the beautiful Eccles theatre will allow more students to participate and bring more recognition to the stellar student work.

Michael Ballam, the program visionary states, "Utah's youth strive to become high achievers. As a state, we do well to recognize and reward athletic prowess and academic acumen. Until 7 years ago, we had never done so for excellence in this creative forum. The UHSMTA was envisioned to celebrate excellence and tireless efforts of students, teachers, administrators and parents in our high schools, both state-wide and nationally. They create fantastic memories that the participants and observers will never forget." Kevin Nakatani, Utah Festival's co-director of the UHSTMA states, "This event is simply the highlight of my year. The arts are a pursuit of passion and Utah high school students, and the faculty that guide them in these productions, have it in spades. We are grateful to bring them together for one night to celebrate that passion and the incredible talent the youth in this state possesses."

The winners in the UHSMTA Best Actor and Actress categories will be sponsored to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City this June. During this week­ long intensive, students from across the country rehearse, attend master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theatre professionals, work with casting agents, and rub shoulders with Broadway professionals. The week in New York culminates in a live awards show on June 26th at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre where the Jimmy™ Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented. Scholarships for the 2017 Jimmy™ Awards include the opportunity for merit and need-based assistance to attend NYU's Tisch School of the Arts and New Studio on Broadway: Acting and Music Theatre contingent upon acceptance into the prestigious schools.

Best dress or formalwear is encouraged for the May 13th Awards Show at the Eccles Theatre. Tickets range from $15-20. Contact the Utah Festival box office at 435-750-0300 ext. 3.

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