ArtsBridge Foundation Announces 2020 Shuler Awards Winners

Speakeysie News Desk 5/15/2020

Top High School Musical Theatre Performances Honored during Georgia Public Broadcasting Special titled “Shuler Awards 2020” which will air again on GPB television stations May 17

Re-imagined awards ceremony – also streaming online – also includes scholarship winners

ATLANTA – May 14, 2020 – In a special broadcast with partner Georgia Public Broadcasting, this evening ArtsBridge Foundation announced the winners of the 12th Annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards during “Shuler Awards 2020,” a special pre-recorded co-production that aired statewide.

The complete broadcast of Shuler Award winner presentations and scholarship announcements is available online via “Shuler Awards 2020” will air again on GPB television stations May 17 at 7 a.m.

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—winners and nominees are recognized as the best of the state’s high school musical theatre students and schools.

Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, this year’s Shuler Award winners span 14 public and private schools from 11 counties across the Peach State from a pool of nominees across 30 public and private schools from 15 counties. This year’s winners include:

·         Overall Production – North Hall High School (Hall Co.), “The Wedding Singer”

·         Direction – Stephen Hansen, Greenbrier H.S. (Columbia Co.), “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

·         Music Direction – Presley Dale and Jesse Hanks, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.), “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”

·         Orchestra – Vicorie Brown, Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts (Clayton Co.), “Little Shop of Horrors” (Brown was also a 2019 nominee for the school’s performance of “Hunchback of Notre Dame”)

·         Best Performance by a Leading Actress – Kathryn Smith as Bonnie Parker, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”

·         Best Performance by a Leading Actor – Charlie Webb as Clyde Barrow, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”

·         Best Performance by a Supporting Actress – Natalie Wolff as Ms. Honey, Walton High School (Cobb Co.), “Matilda”

·         Best Performance by a Supporting Actor – Finn McGinnis as Nathan Detroit, Prince Avenue Christian School (Oconee Co.), “Guys and Dolls”

·         Best Performance by a Featured Performer – Isaiah Valbrun as Pinnochio, Hiram High School (Paulding Co.), “Shrek”

·         Choreography – Jeremy Mezoff, Lakeside High School (DeKalb Co.), “Mary Poppins”

·         Ensemble – Walton High School (Cobb Co.), “Matilda”

·         Technical Execution – Austin Barge (Technical Director) and Jessica Smith (Stage Manager), Flowery Branch High School (Hall Co.), “Mamma Mia!”

·         Lighting Design – Lucy Barry and Phil Vossieg, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School (Rabun Co.), “The Robber Bridegroom”

·         Sound – Christian Deutemeyer, North Hall High School (Hall Co.), “The Wedding Singer”        (Deutemeyer won a 2019 Shuler for sound for performances of “Peter Pan”)

·         Scenic Design – Sadie Pijanowski, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”

·         Costumes – India Galyean, Calhoun High School (Gordon Co.), “Pippin”

·         Showstopper – Pope High School in Marietta, Ga. (Cobb Co.) in “Footloose” for “Let’s Hear It for the Boys”

·         Shuler Spotlight Award – Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga. (Cobb Co.) “Once Upon A Mattress” for “Shy”

The complete winner and nominee list is available online at

“ArtsBridge Foundation congratulates this year’s Shuler Award winners 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.”

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  

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 were regrettably out of this year’s competition, in April 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 invitation for an 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.

Scholarships Awarded

The broadcast also included nine students chosen to receive theater- and performing arts-related scholarships. ArtsBridge Foundation and its partners divvyed out over $10,000 in scholarships, with the individual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. Winners were chosen from a pool of 50 applicants. Scholarship winners include:

·         Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship – Scott Hindy, Star’s Mill High School (Fayette Co.) and Kara Bragg, Trinity Christian School (Coweta Co.)

·         Broadway Dreams Foundation Summer Intensive Scholarship – Jesse Hanks, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.) and Brianna Reaves, Ringgold High School (Catoosa Co.)

·         James Carlos Family Musical Theatre Performance Scholarship – Goldie Hatch, Providence Christian Academy (Gwinnett Co.)

·         Luke, Marshall, Wolfe Educational Legacy Scholarship – Kathleen Ryan, Starr’s Mill H.S. (Fayette)

·         Smiley For Kylie Foundation Scholarship – Quinn Conrath, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.); Reagan Townley, North Hall High School (Hall Co.) and Isabella Scarlett, Gainesville High School (Hall)

The 2020 Shuler Awards were possible thanks to 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

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. To learn more visit

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