Posts Tagged ‘illinois high school musical theatre awards’

Behind the Scenes at IHSMTA with student reporter Nate Garner

Posted on: June 12th, 2017 by B.I. C. No Comments

FullSizeRender.jpgThis last Monday, I was given the privilege to cover the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. I love the showcase of so much talent throughout the state from students that are so young and still so passionate in their craft. My ultimate favorite part of the ceremony, however, is seeing two deserving students be chosen to compete in the Jimmy Awards! In my free time, I binge the Jimmy Awards’ medleys and solo videos on YouTube with a bowl of knock-off goldfish (times are hard). These are the Broadway stars of tomorrow, what’s not to love?! Being able to report on the #BICihsmta gave me a first-hand look into the rehearsal experience, and the juicy IHSMTea that would be spilt. Not to my surprise, there was actually no tea, no tension, no drama in the room when I arrived at the Broadway Playhouse. Just finishing up auditions, the nominees were merely ECSTATIC and full of crazy amounts of energy. It was like someone grabbed the most hyper puppies from around the state, and put them in a room full of squeaky-toys and homework. They were mingling and helping one another with the choreography they had learned that morning and most importantly, making friends.

I began my experience by first meeting with the Broadway In Chicago/IHSMTA team and gaining access to the Instagram account for the day. I then made a point to meet every nominee I did not already know. Luckily, I had met a good handful of the contestants from either ILMEA Choir, Theatre Fest, or the All-State Productions. One nominee is my best friend from my high school (shout out to Ben Dow; what a guy). The remaining members were all extremely friendly and not hesitant to do any weird interview question I asked. I began to interview, slowly easing into the fun energy that surrounded me. It started with sincere questions about how the nominees were feeling, but I realized the time for focus was on halt. They all deserved a fun time to relax before the dress rehearsal; therefore, I just asked them to meme with me and chat with me and I forced a few to dance. You know…the usual. Everyone had no issue being goofy and joking around for the camera because they’re theater kids: the most social and most interesting people on the planet.

The time for the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards had arrived!. I grabbed my seat, and watched the lights go down in the house and up on the stage. The three male and three female nominees were announced and I genuinely felt like my child was a finalist. I was so excited for Natalie Doppelt (whom I’ve known for a near 2 years), Carly Meyer (whom I met briefly when I attended her production of Fiddler on the Roof), and Tatum Langley (whom I had only met that night). The same goes for Justin Smusz (whom I met at ILMEA Conference), Dominic Cappuccilli (whom I met briefly when I attended his production of City of Angels), and Jordan Radis (whom I only found out existed when I met him that day). All six finalists gave me chills and made me cry, regardless of how long I had known them, like my babies were graduating from college or won a Tony or something. At the end, I jumped for joy when Carly and Justin were crowned as winners. I got to congratulate them personally, along with York Community High School for winning “Best Production”, Lauren Condon & Brian Wand from Benet Academy for winning “Best Direction”, and Cary-Grove High School for winning “Best Scenic Design”. My favorite part of the night was guiding Justin Smusz to the office to be interviewed, but listening to his excitement as he tried to thank everyone in the lobby.

The overall experience was an absolute joy, making teens dance, making adults scream in excitement,, and most importantly making all my viewers smile. That is what makes The High School Musical Theatre Awards my favorite time of year…and that the world knows me as “Natertot” now, so that’s a plus. I’d like to thank Broadway In Chicago, and the entire Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards staff who chose me for this position and made the experience one to remember. Thanks for everything.

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2017 Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards winners announced!

Posted on: June 7th, 2017 by B.I. C. No Comments

In celebration of outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre performances, Broadway In Chicago is thrilled to announce the award recipients of the Sixth Annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards: Justin Smusz of Bolingbrook, IL (Benet Academy) as BEST ACTOR for his portrayal of Chad in ALL SHOOK UP and Carly Meyer of Northbrook, IL (Glenbrook North High School) as BEST ACTRESS for her portrayal of Hodel in FIDDLER ON THE ROOF. Justin and Carly will represent the state of Illinois at The Jimmy™ Awards in New York on June 26, 2017.

York Community High School was awarded the Best Production Award for their production of WEST SIDE STORY and Cary-Grove High School was awarded the Grosh Scenic Design Award, celebrating excellence in scenic design, for their production of EVITA. Lauren Condon and Brian Wand were awarded the Best Direction Award for their direction of Benet Academy’s production of ALL SHOOK UP.

On Monday, June 5, Broadway In Chicago crafted a full day of workshops with theatre professionals for twenty-four nominees that culminated in a performance on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.  During the day, nominees auditioned for a panel of casting agents and theatre professionals who chose the recipients of performance awards.

In addition to the day of workshops featuring Chicago actor Jonathan Weir (Jafar) in Disney’s Aladdin North American tour and Disney Teaching Artist Kelly Jacobs who previously performed in Chicago in Disney’s Mary Poppins North American tour, nominees will receive tickets to Disney’s Aladdin in Chicago, currently playing at Broadway In Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre through Sept. 10, 2017.

Justin Smusz and Carly Meyer will be provided with an all-expense paid trip to New York City to participate in a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation’s top performers. They will represent the state of Illinois at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, on Broadway, on  Monday, June 26, 2017. The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, are named for legendary Broadway theater owner and producer James M. Nederlander. Broadway In Chicago is a Nederlander presentation, and is excited to join the network of theatres across the country participating in The Jimmys™.

2017 Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards nominees announced!

Posted on: May 12th, 2017 by B.I. C. No Comments

Broadway In Chicago is pleased to announce the twenty-four students nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress, and nominees for Best Production, Best Direction and the Grosh Award for Best Scenic Design for the sixth annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. The nominees (12 young actors and 12 young actresses), selected after evaluating 74 productions across the state of Illinois, have been invited to participate in the Awards program. Sponsored by Disney’s Aladdin and Grosh Backdrops & Drapery, the Illinois chapter of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards serves as an annual national celebration of outstanding achievement in musical theater performance by high school students.

Broadway In Chicago has crafted a workshop with theatre professionals, featuring Adam Jacobs, star of Disney’s Aladdin North American tour, who originated the title role in Aladdin on Broadway, along with his wife Kelly Jacobs, who previously performed in Chicago in the Mary Poppins North American tour.  The workshop for these twenty-four nominees will culminate in a performance on stage at the Broadway Playhouse at Water Tower Place.  During the day, nominees will audition for a panel of casting agents and theatre professionals who will choose the recipients of performance awards. A Best Actress and Best Actor winner from Illinois will be sent to New York City, on an all-expense paid trip, for a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation’s top performers.

An award for Best Direction will be presented to a director(s) from a participating school, an award for Best Production will be presented to a participating school, and the Grosh Award for Best Scenic Design will be presented to a participating school for achievement in outstanding scenic design.

For more information on both awards and complete rules and regulations, visit www.BroadwayInChicago.com/about/IHSMTA/. For more information on National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as The Jimmy Awards, visit www.jimmyawards.com.

LIST OF NOMINEES AND HIGH SCHOOLS

Corey Barlow, as Che in “Evita” at Cary-Grove High School

Dominic Cappuccilli, as Stine in  City of Angels at Mundelein High School

Benjamin Dow as Adam in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” at Minooka Community High School

Frank Gomulka as Dennis in “All Shook Up” at Benet Academy

Darian Goulding as Javert in “Les Miserables” at Hampshire High School

Jack Hradecky as Adam in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” at Hononegah Community High School

Erik Martenson as Tony in “West Side Story” at York Community High School

Brax Melvin as Prince Eric in “The Little Mermaid” at Frankfort Community High School

Nicholas Orth as Jekyll/Hyde in Jekyll & Hyde at Carl Sandburg High School

Zachary Pearson as Usnavi in “In The Heights” at Libertyville High School

Jordan Radis as Edward Bloom in “Big Fish” at  Adlai E. Stevenson High School

Justin Smusz as Chad in “All Shook Up” at Benet Academy

 

Madeleine Barbeau, as Natalie in “All Shook Up at Benet Academy

Lindsey Doody, as Laurey Williams in “Oklahoma!” at Lincoln-Way East High School

Natalie Doppelt as Wednesday Addams in “The Addams Family” at Deerfield High School

Haley Gustafson as Eva Peron in “Evita” at Cary-Grove High School

Carina Kanzler as Maria in “West Side Story” at York Community High School

Tatum Langley as Anita in “West Side Story” at York Community High School

Maddie Mazzella as Ariel in “The Little Mermaid” at Saint Ignatius College Prep

Carly Meyer as Hodel in “Fiddler on the Roof at Glenbrook North/South High Schools

Meaghan Rivera as Reno Sweeney in “Anything Goes” at Barrington High School

Edith “Gracie” Stockton as Hope Cladwell in “Urinetown” at Lake Forest High School

Sara Toth as Lucy Harris in Jekyll & Hyde at Carl Sandburg High School

Annie Yamamoto as Muzzy Van Hossmere in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at William Fremd High School

 

NOMINEES FOR BEST PRODUCTION

Benet Academy’s production of All Shook Up

Carl Sandburg High School’s production of Jekyll and Hyde

Cary Grove High School’s production of Evita

Libertyville High School’s production of In the Heights

York Community High School’s production of West Side Story

NOMINEES FOR THE GROSH AWARD FOR BEST SCENIC DESIGN
Cary- Grove High School’s production of Evita

Coal City High School’s production of The Little Mermaid

Hinsdale South High School’s production of Hairspray

Lake Forest High School’s production of Urinetown

Libertyville High School’s production of In the Heights

NOMINEES FOR BEST DIRECTION

Cynthia Burrows, Adlai E. Stevenson High School- Big Fish

Lauren Condon & Brian Wand, Benet Academy- All Shook Up

Rob Boncosky, Cary-Grove High School- Evita

Andy Robinson, Chicago Academy For the Performing Arts – A Little Night Music

Kelly MacBlane & John Wanninger, Lake Forest High School- Urinetown

My Journey to The Jimmys – Jack Cahill-Lemme, IHSMTA 2016 Best Actor

Posted on: July 21st, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments

By Jack Cahill-Lemme

After winning the IHSMTAs things moved very quickly. I had to really strap down and start choosing my song selections as fast as I could. After they were selected, Ceci and I got the opportunity to work on them with Nick Cosgrove, who has always been something of a childhood hero of mine due to the fact that he came from my high school and when I was in eighth grade I was lucky enough to have seen him in Jersey Boys (as Frankie Valli). That same day we gave the curtain speech at The Sound of Music at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. I’ve been seeing shows there since I was a tiny little kid so being able to walk around backstage was a thrill in itself, going on the stage at the end of the show and addressing thousands of people was just the cherry on top.

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L to R: Cecilia Trippiedi, Howard McGillin, and Jack Cahill-Lemme. Howard McGillin (longest-running Broadway Phantom) coached Jack for the week leading up to the Jimmy Awards.

 

When it came time to go to New York I felt very prepared and was anxious to start out on the experience that I had been dreaming of having since middle school, having seen the documentary years before. Because I had seen the documentary, and stalked the Jimmy’s YouTube channel for hours at a time every chance I got, I knew for the most part what I was getting myself into. Keisha, the choreographer, was a diehard professional who demanded the best out of each and every nominee and that is exactly what she got. I learned an immense amount from her in just 10 short days and if any of my college professors are anything like her, I cannot wait. Besides working with Keisha, I was coached by Howard McGillin, who holds the record for longest running Phantom in the world. This was surreal for me because The Phantom of the Opera was my first and favorite show I had ever seen on Broadway and Phantom has always been my dream role. Along with his phenomenal coaching, we were also introduced to an array of Broadway legends (Andrew Lloyd Weber, Eden Espinoza, and Karen Olivo, just to name a few).

Jack Cahill-Lemme performing as Edward Bloom from “Big Fish” onstage at The Minskoff Theatre 7/27/16. Photo by Henry McGee.

 

The best part of it all by far though was performing on the Minskoff stage on Broadway, which is where The Lion King is currently playing. As a kid growing up in the theatre, all your life you hear about the impossible dream that is Broadway and stories about those who have performed there. You start to wonder if it actually lives up to its reputation. Now I can finally say after standing there and performing on that stage, it was everything they say and more. I am forever grateful to those who made this experience possible for me and most of all to Broadway In Chicago for selecting me as their representative. It was the time of my life.

My Journey to The Jimmys – Cecilia Trippiedi, IHSMTA 2016 Best Actress

Posted on: July 19th, 2016 by B.I. C. No Comments

Cecilia vocal audition

By Cecilia Trippiedi

My journey to the Jimmy Awards began four years ago when my mom and I watched the documentary “Broadway or Bust”. Ever since viewing that show, I knew I wanted the National High School Musical Theatre Awards to be in my future. I trained in private voice and dance throughout my life and patiently waited for my school, Carl Sandburg, to choose a musical with a qualifying female lead. I was cast as Eliza Doolittle in “My Fair Lady” and that role landed me a nomination as one of twelve girls competing for the title of Best Actress at the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards. I went into auditions with an open and clear mind and put my training and passion out in the open for everyone to see – and it paid off. When it was announced that I was chosen to represent Illinois in NYC I was beside myself. To this day I still don’t believe that all of it was real. It would be my first time in New York and I was elated to say the least.

The Jimmy Awards was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I made lifelong friends and truly got a taste of what the professional industry is like. It was also an amazing springboard into college, where I will be pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre with a Dance Concentration from Otterbein University. I am going into my freshman year with copious amounts of training and knowledge as well as inspiration.