ArtsBridge Foundation Announces 2020 Shuler Awards Nominees

Speakeysie News Desk 4/5/2020

ATLANTA, GA

In a special online presentation, ArtsBridge Foundation today announced the nominees for the 12th Annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, with winners to be unveiled in a follow-up online event to be scheduled and announced in May. A video of the announcement, as well as the future winner announcements, may be found at www.GPB.org/Shuler-2020.

Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards—also known as the “Shuler Awards” or “The Shulers” and named for the Atlanta-born star of the stage and screen—recipients are recognized as the best of the state’s high school musical theatre students and schools. The complete nominees list is available below or online at       ArtsBridgeGA.org/2020-shuler-award-nominations.

“ArtsBridge Foundation congratulates this year’s Shuler Award nominees from across Georgia,” said Jennifer Dobbs, executive director of ArtsBridge Foundation. “We wish current events made it possible for all 75 schools to complete their performances for competition, and we appreciate everyone’s support in honoring the hard work of nearly 10,000 students in this year’s Shuler Awards.”

Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, this year’s Shuler Award nominees in 17 categories span 30 public and private schools from across the Peach State. North Hall High School of Gainesville, Ga., leads this year’s nominations with 11 for their performances of “The Wedding Singer,” with Flowery Branch High School earning nine nominations for their “Mamma Mia!” production. Denmark High School of Alpharetta, Ga., and Greenbrier High School of Evans, Ga., each earned eight nominations performing “Bonnie and Clyde” and “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder,” respectively. A complete list of nominees follows later in this press release.

The Shuler Award categories include direction, music direction, orchestra, lighting design, showstopper, choreography, featured performer, ensemble, overall production, technical execution, sound, scenic design, costumes, and best performances by a leading actress, actor, supporting actress or supporting actor.

There were 67 Shuler Award candidate productions evaluated by adjudicators from a pool of 60 volunteers who are Georgia-based arts professionals. The accounting firm Bennett Thrasher tabulated the results from adjudication forms completed and submitted through March 15. More information is available on the ArtsBridge Foundation website at ArtsBridgeGA.org/programs/Shuler-Awards/.  

Scholarships Awarded

In step with the Shuler Awards, today’s announcement also included the names of nine students chosen to receive theater- and performing arts-related scholarships. ArtsBridge Foundation and its partners will divvy out over $10,000 in scholarships, with the individual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000 each. Winners were chosen from a pool of 50 applicants. A complete list of scholarship recipients follows the Shuler nominee list on this press release (see below).

In 2019-2020, 75 high schools across the state enrolled to determine the Shuler Award nominees, with a team of more than 60 Georgia-based arts professionals evaluating the student productions. The accounting firm Bennett Thrasher tabulated the results for the 2020 Shuler Hensley Awards Nominees. Unfortunately, eight schools among the 75 were not able to complete their performances for adjudication due to government-mandated school closures in response to the emerging COVID-19 pandemic, or ArtsBridge Foundation did not receive a request for special accommodation from these schools.

“While we are disappointed that international events and public safety mandates prevent us from gathering in celebration of this year’s outstanding students and school performances, the ArtsBridge team worked tirelessly with its partners to make an awards announcement possible in a scaled-back format that keeps everyone safe,” said Dobbs. “From the first signs that an awards ceremony might not be possible, our team jumped into action to keep as much of the competition intact with as many participating schools as possible, proving in a small way that ‘the show must – and can – go on.’”

“We acknowledge with regret that an array of circumstances – mostly timing of cancelled performances from March 12 through March 15– caused a handful of schools to sadly lose their eligibility to compete,” Dobbs added.  “Though they are out of this year’s competition, today we announced these eight schools will receive an automatic entry into the 2021 Shuler Awards competition given their students’ demonstrated perseverance and good sportspersonship in times of incredible change.”

The automatic entry guarantees the eight schools will have a place among the 2020-2021 Shuler Awards competitors, allowing them to forgo an application process that usually requires a formal online entry on a designated date each August.

The 2020 Shuler Awards are made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors:  

Presenting Sponsor—Georgia Lottery

Silver Sponsors—Bennett Thrasher, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, The Fabulous Fox Theatre, Fifth Third Bank/Broadway Across America, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Georgia State University TV

Bronze Sponsors—Delta Community Credit Union, Jimmy & Helen Carlos

Star Sponsors—Deloitte, Tyler Perry Studios

Friend Sponsors—Alliance Theatre, Broadway Dreams, Georgia Council for the Arts, John & Mary Franklin Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Shan Cooper, Smiley for Kylie; Patron Sponsors—Atlanta Braves Foundation, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Claire Richardson, Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts; In-Kind Sponsors—Cheesecake Factory, Chick-fil-A, Clear Channel Outdoor, Publix Super Markets

Additional corporate donations or private contributions to the Shuler Awards are appreciated and may be submitted online at ArtsBridgeGA.org/get-involved/donate.

ArtsBridge Foundation is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge provides arts education opportunities to K-12 students through programs at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, including field trips, professional development, family programs, and the annual Shuler Awards. Since 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 380,000 students and educators from 67 Georgia counties, plus students from five bordering states. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ArtsBridge Foundation and GPB-TV’s live broadcast of The Shulers won the Southeast Emmy® Award in 2018 and 2019 for special event live coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time. For more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org.

The list of 2020 Shuler Award nominees by category includes:  

DIRECTION

Jan Jensen, Chattahoochee High School, “Cabaret”

Kirk Grizzle, Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Kristy Winkes, Greater Atlanta Christian School, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (won 2019 Shuler directing “Les Misérables”)

Stephen Hansen, Greenbrier High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Jan Ewing, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Eric Bragg, Providence Christian Academy, “Shrek”

MUSIC DIRECTION

Presley Dale and Jesse Hanks, Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Jennie Fabianski, Chattahoochee High School, “Cabaret”

Kirk Grizzle, Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Dr. Ashley Whelchel, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

LaMurl Morris, Prince Avenue Christian School, “Guys and Dolls”

Charley Snell, The Lovett School, “The Little Mermaid”

ORCHESTRA

Samantha Hopper, Chamblee Charter High School, “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Lori Buonamici, Chattahoochee High School, “Cabaret”

Michael Huebner, Kennesaw Mountain High School, “Pippin”

Vicorie Brown, Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts, “Little Shop of Horrors”

Adam Brooks, North Atlanta High School, “Footloose”

Allegra Boggess, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, “The Robber Bridegroom” (Boggess was 2019 nominee “Pirates of Penzance”)

CHOREOGRAPHY

Cindy Folger and Cori Daniels, Davidson Fine Arts School, “West Side Story”

Jessica Smith, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Angela Thomas, Greenbrier H.S. “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Jeremy Mezoff, Lakeside High School, “Mary Poppins”

Catherine Peets, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Ursula Cole, Walton High School, “Matilda”

ENSEMBLE

Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Davidson Fine Arts School, “West Side Story”

Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Walton High School, “Matilda”

TECHNICAL EXECUTION

Kirk Grizzle (Technical Director) and Megan Erasmus (Stage Manager), Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Austin Barge (Technical Director) and Jessica Smith (Stage Manager), Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Stephen Hansen (Tech Director) and Lorna Morehead (Stage Mgr.), Greenbrier H.S., “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Greta Hayes and Ann Richmond (Tech Directors) and Ann Richmond (Stage Manager), Lakeside High School, “Mary Poppins”

Jan Ewing (Technical Director) and Elizabeth Hawn (Stage Manager), North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer” (Ewing won 2019 Shuler for technical execution of “Mamma Mia!”)

Brian Patterson (Technical Director) and Haley Zoellick (Stage Manager), The Lovett School, “The Little Mermaid”

LIGHTING DESIGN

Austin Barge and Jessica Smith, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Kristy Winkes and J.D. Cooper, Greater Atlanta Christian School, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” (Winkes/Cooper were both 2019 nominees for “Les Misérables”)

Lexi Dowdy, Greenbrier High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” 

Simeon Jones, Milton High School, “Chicago”

Lucy Barry and Phil Vossieg, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, “The Robber Bridegroom”

Hannah Nelson, Sonoraville High School, “All Shook Up”

SOUND

Chris Damiano, Brookwood High School, “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Darlene Wright, Calhoun High School, “Pippin” (Wright was a 2019 nominee for “Peter Pan”)

Austin Barge, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Adam Britt, Calvin Beanblossom and Jonathan Strickland, Johns Creek High School, “Big Fish”

Liz Wilder and Maddie Painter, Milton High School, “Chicago”

Christian Deutemeyer, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer” (Deutemeyer won a 2019 Shuler for sound in “Peter Pan”)

Lolwa Gad El Karim, Brookwood High School, “The Drowsy Chaperone”

SCENIC DESIGN

Sadie Pijanowski, Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Austin Barge, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Stephen Hansen, Greenbrier High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Jan Ewing, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer” (Ewing was a 2019 nominee for “Mamma Mia”)

Paloma Robles, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School, “The Robber Bridegroom”

Scott Murdoch, Ringgold High School, “Shrek”

COSTUMES

India Galyean, Calhoun High School, “Pippin”

Betty Walpert and Costume Design Class, Davidson Fine Arts School, “West Side Story”

Hadden Peel, Lori Van Lenten, Andrew Wicklum, and Sue Brannigan, Greenbrier H.S. “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Kate Hartigan, Milton High School, “Chicago”

Donna Stembridge and SCPS Theater Production Class, Savannah Christian Preparatory School, “Suessical”

Jade Lambert-Smith, Tri-Cities High School, “Into the Woods”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTRESS

Hope Fowler as Phoebe D’Ysquith, Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Kathryn Smith as Bonnie Parker, Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Sarah Charles Lewis as Velma Kelly, Milton High School, “Chicago”

Reagan Townley as Julia, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Catherine Sherling as Ariel, The Lovett School, “The Little Mermaid”

Brenna McConnell as Winnie Foster, Wesleyan High School, “Tuck Everlasting”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A LEADING ACTOR

Jesse Hanks as Montague “Monty” Navarro, Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Riley Anderson as Pippin, Calhoun High School, “Pippin”

Charlie Webb as Clyde Barrow, Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Braxton Lee as Retiree/Joe Zutty, Hillgrove High School, “Working”

Owen Connolly as Edward Bloom, Landmark Christian School, “Big Fish”

Jack Johnston as Sky Masterson, Prince Avenue Christian School, “Guys and Dolls”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTRESS

Delia Phillips as Phoebe D’Ysquith, Greenbrier High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Catherine Peets as Holly, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Riley Wilson as Miss Adelaide, Prince Avenue Christian School, “Guys and Dolls”

Caroline McPherson as Ursula, The Lovett School, “The Little Mermaid”

Natalie Wolff as Ms. Honey, Walton High School, “Matilda”

Tori Hedlund as Mae Tuck, Wesleyan School, “Tuck Everlasting”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A SUPPORTING ACTOR

Quinn Conrath as The D’Ysquith Family, Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Matthew McCanless as Charles, Calhoun High School, “Pippin” (McCanless was a 2019 nominee as Smee in “Peter Pan”)

Bryson Ross as Pepper, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Finn McGinnis as Nathan Detroit, Prince Avenue Christian School, “Guys and Dolls”

Aidan Deiranieh as Farquaad, Providence Christian Academy, “Shrek”

Adam Rogers as Angus Tuck, Wesleyan High School, “Tuck Everlasting”

BEST PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED PERFORMER

Elizabeth Ferrer as Rosie, Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Morgan Perry as Mrs. Shingle, Greenbrier High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Isaiah Valbrun as Pinnochio, Hiram High School, “Shrek”

Samantha Lane as Witch, Johns Creek High School, “Big Fish”

Johan Miller as George, North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

Trevor Hyatt ad Lord Farquaad, Ringgold High School, “Shrek”

OVERALL PRODUCTION

Buford High School, “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

Denmark High School, “Bonnie and Clyde”

Flowery Branch High School, “Mamma Mia!”

Greater Atlanta Christian School, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame”

Milton High School, “Chicago”

North Hall High School, “The Wedding Singer”

SHOWSTOPPER and 11 O’CLOCK NUMBER

To be announced in May 2020

SCHOLARSHIPS RECIPIENTS

Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship

Scott Hindy, Star’s Mill High School

Kara Bragg, Trinity Christian School

Broadway Dreams Foundation Summer Intensive Scholarship

Jesse Hanks, Buford High School

Brianna Reaves, Ringgold High School

James Carlos Family Musical Theatre Performance Scholarship

Goldie Hatch, Providence Christian Academy

Luke, Marshall, Wolfe Educational Legacy Scholarship

Kathleen Ryan, Starr’s Mill High School

Smiley For Kylie Foundation Scholarship

Quinn Conrath, Buford High School

Reagan Townley, North Hall High School

Isabella Scarlett, Gainesville High School

The complete list of Nominations, and Honorable Mentions, is also available here:

ArtsBridgeGA.org/2020-shuler-award-nominations.  

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