Dallas, TX (May 18, 2018) – High school students, parents, friends, arts advocates, celebrities and city officials from all over North Texas celebrated as winners and scholarship recipients were announced on Thursday, May 17 at the 7th Annual Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards (DSM HSMTA).
Patterned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®, DSM HSMTA celebrates the power of the arts and its ability to significantly improve all areas of education and creativity. Best Musical Award went to Plano Senior High School’s production of Jekyll & Hyde and $55,000 in scholarships were awarded to deserving students pursuing degrees in both theatre and non-theatre majors.
“DSM looks forward to this event every year because we love acknowledging the passion in these young performers – what a wonderful evening of outstanding talent. We owe a huge thank-you to all of the teachers, students, DSM staff, volunteers, and North Texas arts community for their dedication, passion and support for this program,” said Kenneth T. Novice, DSM President.
Nominees were given the red carpet treatment, being chauffeured to the Music Hall in vintage convertibles sponsored by Classic Chassis Auto Club. Their arrivals were announced while photographers snapped away and media cameras from WFAA Channel 8 streamed live as they walked the red carpet.
Fifth-time emcee Ron Corning, WFAA Channel 8 News Anchor, began the show by welcoming everyone and introducing the opening number, specially arranged to showcase each individual category and accompanied by a live professional orchestra conducted by Music Director Mark Brymer. The crowd cheered on their favorite Best Musical nominee performances, while the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees performed medleys choreographed by Penny Ayn Maas and student choreographers Theo Spencer (Frenship HS), Kylie Hilliard (Northwest HS) and Bryson Jackson (McKinney Boyd HS), who were invited to participate by Tracy Jordan, DSM HSMTA Director based on the excellence of their work in their high school productions. Vocal coach Tina Walsh also helped prepare the students for the evening. Walsh will coach the Best Actor/Actress as they prepare for the Jimmy Awards in New York City, where she’ll be the students’ chaperone.
The show was topped off with a finale of more than one hundred performers made up of students from each participating high school and a shower of popping streamers.
Through private donations and ticket sales, DSM HSMTA raised $55,000 to benefit HSMTA and scholarships. Historically, seven scholarships have been presented to deserving students. This year DSM HSMTA awarded 17 scholarships to continue to foster the great talent North Texas has to offer.
This year’s College Scholarship program consisted of ten Ambassador Scholarships at $1,000 each, five Theater Major Scholarships (in all areas of theater) at $5,000 each, and two $10,000 scholarships for the winners in the Best Actor and Best Actress categories. DSM HSMTA is the only program in the nation, other than the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (the Jimmy™ Awards), to offer Best Actor and Best Actress winners $10,000 scholarships to continue their education. To date, DSM HSMTA College Scholarship program has awarded $301,000 in cash scholarships to deserving students.
“It is always a joy to recognize these students who have such dedication to their craft,” said Tracy Jordan, DSM HSMTA Director. “DSM is so proud of the young talent coming from North Texas and beyond.”
Tony Award® winner Victoria Clark was the recipient of this year’s Fullinwider Award for her impact in the Dallas theatre community and beyond. Clark is a Dallas native and graduate of The Hockaday School and Yale University. Clark is best known for winning the Tony Award® for “Best Leading Actress in a Musical” for her role in THE LIGHT IN THE PIAZZA, in addition to the Drama Desk and Outer Critics Circle Awards. The Fullinwider Award was created in honor of Leah and Jerry Fullinwider, DSM HSMTA Founding Donors, for their gift that launched the program seven years ago.
A three-judge panel of entertainment industry professionals and veteran educators visited each high school and judged the performers in 17 categories. Ballots were tabulated by the accounting firm of Grant Thornton – the official ballot professional service partner of the 2016 Tony Awards®.
Noah Aguilar, Frenship HS, took home the Best Actor Award and Sierra Roberson, Frenship HS, won the Best Actress Award. Aguilar and Roberson will each receive a $10,000 scholarship and an all-expense paid trip for five days to New York City to represent their high school in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (the Jimmy™ Awards) on June 25.
Best Actress Award winner Sierra Roberson and Noah Aguilar, recipient of the Best Actor Award.
“I am so proud that we are able to support these students not only through awards but also through scholarships that will assist them in continuing their education. Every year, the North Texas theatre community really proves how much they encourage and stand behind these students. We want them to know how proud we are of them and how we are all rooting for them on their future endeavors.” said Novice.
Since DSM’s first HSMTA in 2012, this has truly developed into a regional program, accepting schools as far away as Lubbock and Oklahoma as well as new and returning schools from the DFW Metroplex. DSM’s HSMTA has grown to be the largest program of its kind in the state of Texas and the second largest program in the nation. DSM HSMTA has been recognized by The National High School Musical Theatre Awards as their official affiliate program for North Texas.
All winners, participating high schools and their shows can be found on the DSM website.
DSM is grateful to 2018-19 season sponsors Texas Instruments, American Airlines, The Dallas Morning News, and WFAA Channel 8. DSM would also like to thank In-N-Out for serving burgers from their food truck to participating students during rehearsal.