ArtsBridge Foundation Announces 24 Georgia High Schools Will Compete in 2021 Shuler Awards®

Speakeysie News Desk — December 5, 2020

Re-Imagined in Response to COVID-19, Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards

Will Celebrate Students from Across the Peach State Next Spring

ATLANTA –ArtsBridge Foundation announced the 24 Georgia high schools chosen to compete in the 13th Annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards.

Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards® and known as “The Shuler Awards®” or “Shulers®,” organizers named the competition for the Marietta-born star of the stage and screen who is host of the awards event. Prior to spring 2020, the event was held in the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and last year’s awards presentation took place virtually on May 14 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pivoting to keep the 2021 competition on track, ArtsBridge Foundation also re-imagined the 2020-21 competition, pushing back registration for the contest – typically held in August – to Nov. 2, to accommodate each school’s unique navigation of the pandemic.  

Winners and finalists are recognized as the best of the state’s high school musical theater students and schools of the 2020-21 academic year, with two winners—best actress and actor—progressing to represent Georgia in a virtual national competition next July. The 2021 Shuler Awards® performance and live broadcast on Georgia Public Broadcasting is scheduled to take place May 20.

The selected 24 public and private schools span 12 counties across the Peach State. Gwinnett County has the most entrants with five, while Forsyth and Hall counties each have three entrants. Catoosa, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gordon counties each have two entrants, with single entrant schools from Chatham, Cherokee, Columbia, Glynn and Rockdale counties. The complete list of schools is available below, at the end of this press release.

“While this year’s Shuler Awards® competition has about one-third of our usual 75 schools — with 24 confirmed as of Nov. 20, and we are not surprised many schools could not enter given the many challenges faced for the 2020-21 school year, we are encouraged by the enthusiastic response of this year’s competing high schools,” said Jennifer Dobbs, executive director for ArtsBridge Foundation.

“Our ArtsBridge Foundation team members and dedicated volunteer adjudicators all had to pivot to make possible a 2020-21 Shuler Awards® competition, and 24 schools is a perfect fit for our new online-only parameters created in response to the pandemic and the individual needs and preferences of each school,” said Angela Farr Schiller, Ph.D., director of arts education for ArtsBridge Foundation.

Since 2009, the Shuler Awards® engaged over 60,000 students from 142 schools and 38 counties/school systems. This year’s registration process was amended to provide flexibility for schools to complete the competitive application process.

Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, this year’s Shuler Award® high schools and their students will compete in 15 categories. The main objectives of the program are to increase awareness, advocacy and support for Georgia’s arts education programs, to develop and foster growing talent by providing learning and performance opportunities, and to cultivate/nurture productive relationships among Georgia’s promising thespians and educators.

The Shuler Award® categories typically 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. For this year only, the categories include direction, music direction, orchestra, choreography, ensemble, costume design, scenic design, leading actress and actor, supporting actress and actor, featured performer, overall production, show stopper and Shuler Spotlight, which was added to the 2020 competition.

The Shuler Award® leading actress and actor winners will represent Georgia for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program named The Jimmy Awards® and participate in this year’s virtual awards show in July, with merit scholarships and professional opportunities up for grabs.

Shuler Award® candidate productions will be evaluated by a group of 50 volunteers who are Georgia-based arts professionals. The accounting firm Bennett Thrasher will tabulate the results for the 2021 Shuler Hensley Awards® nominees. More information is available on the ArtsBridge Foundation website at http://artsbridgega.org/programs/shuler-awards/.  

ArtsBridge Foundation provides 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 410,000 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, 2019 and 2020 for special event live coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time. To learn more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org.

The selected 24 public and private schools span 12 counties across the Peach State. Those schools listed in bold received an automatic entry as they were unfortunately unable to complete the 2019-2020 Shuler competition due to COVID-related closures in spring 2020. The 24 high schools in the 2020-21 Shuler competition are:

Buford High School in Buford, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) with “Bright Star”

Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Ga. (Gordon Co.) with “Freaky Friday”

Decatur High School in Decatur, Ga. (DeKalb Co.) with “Urinetown”

Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) with “Urinetown”

Duluth High School in Duluth, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) with “Sister Act, Jr.”

Flowery Branch High School in Flowery Branch, Ga. (Hall Co.) with “Godspell”

Glynn Academy in Brunswick, Ga. (Glynn Co.) with “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Gordon Central High School in Calhoun, Ga. (Gordon Co.) with “Little Women”

Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) with “Little Shop of Horrors”

Greenbrier High School in Evans, Ga. (Columbia Co.) with “Carousel”

Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga. (Rockdale Co.) with “Aida”

Heritage High School in Ringgold, Ga. (Catoosa Co.) with “Into The Woods”

Holy Innocents’ Episcopal School in Sandy Springs, Ga. (Fulton Co.) with “Godspell”

Johnson High School in Gainesville, Ga. (Hall Co.) with “Into The Woods”

Lakeside High School in Atlanta, Ga. (DeKalb Co.) with “The Drowsy Chaperone”

Lakeview Academy in Gainesville, Ga. (Hall Co.) with “Urinetown”

Lanier High School in Sugar Hill, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) with “The Addams Family”

Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) with “Bright Star”

Ringgold High School in Ringgold, Ga. (Catoosa Co.) with “Anastasia”

Savannah Christian Preparatory School in Savannah, Ga. (Chatham Co.) with “Disney’s Beauty and the Beast”

Sequoya High School in Canton, Ga. (Cherokee Co.) with “Ordinary Days”

South Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) with “Something Rotten!”

Tri-Cities High School in East Point, Ga. (Fulton Co.) with “Fela!”

West Forsyth High School in Cumming, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) with “The Drowsy Chaperone”

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