More than 600 students from 24 high schools take to the Eccles Theater stage for the eighth annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards May 12. The awards represent a musical theatre scholarship program that rewards excellence at the high-school level. And ten show-stopping numbers from 10 juried musicals showcase the Best Musical finalists.
During the 2017–18 school year, UFMOT judges evaluated 34 productions staged by 2,815 student technicians, musicians, and performers. And the winners perform at the awards ceremony.
“Hundreds of students from across the state come together on one evening to create magical, inclusive and inspiring art,” said Vanessa Ballam, education director of UFOMT.
UFOMT’s Founding Director, Michael Ballam hosts the event. The program includes medleys performed together by contenders for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress. Some candidates for Best Musical include Anything Goes, 9 to 5, The Addams Family, and A Chorus Line.
“The evening is overflowing with the most talented students in our state doing what they do best,” Ballam said.
UFOMT and other sponsors provide an all-expense paid trip for the winners of the Best Actor and Best Actress categories to represent Utah at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City in June. While there, the students experience 10 days of private coaching, master classes, and rehearsals with theatre professionals. The week then culminates at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre when they perform and compete for the prestigious Jimmy Award™. It includes scholarships, opportunities for professional advancement, and other awards.
Utah performers are developing a strong reputation at the national level. Last year, Jessica Lewis and Levi Hopkins, won the top awards in the state competition and entered the national competition. Both earned top honors and special recognition scholarships from Tams-Witmark Music Library to use at the university of their choice.
UFOMT’s education and outreach department sponsors and produces the event, generously partnered with MagicSpace Entertainment and Broadway at the Eccles.
“To have these awards take place in the new Eccles Theater is a perfect way to honor the young talent in our state,” Ballam said.
The UHSMTA will present awards in 19 categories from the Hotel Monaco Award for Best Director to the Daynes Music Award for Best Orchestra and the Zions Bank Award for Best Musical. Call 800-262-0074 for tickets. Visit www.utahfestival.org for more info.