Speakeysie News Desk
Top High School Musical Theatre Performances Honored During Georgia Public Broadcasting Televised Special titled “Shuler Awards 2022”
Returning to stage after two-years of virtual ceremonies, event also honored scholarship winners
ATLANTA – April 21, 2021 – In a special broadcast with partner Georgia Public Broadcasting, ArtsBridge Foundation tonight announced the winners of the 14th Annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards during “Shuler Awards 2022,” a live co-production that aired statewide.
Lambert High School of Suwanee, Ga., earned the most awards, taking home five top honors for their production of “The SpongeBob Musical,” while Tri-Cities High School of East Point, Ga., earned three awards for “Fela!”
Presented as the Shuler Hensley Awards®—also known as the Shuler Awards® or The Shulers® and named for the Marietta-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. The complete broadcast of Shuler Award winner presentations and scholarship announcements is available online via GPB.org/Shuler2022.
Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, this year’s Shuler Award winners span 26 public and private schools from 13 counties across the Peach State. The winners are:
· Overall Production—Lambert High School, Suwanee, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) for “The SpongeBob Musical”
· Direction—Jade Lambert-Smith, Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Fela!”
· Music Direction—Lenae Rose, Morgan County High School, Madison, Ga. (Morgan) for “Les Misérables”
· Orchestra—Scott Willis, Heritage High School, Ringgold, Ga. (Catoosa Co.) for “Matilda”
· Best Performance by a Leading Actress—Georgia Thomas, Greater Atlanta Christian School, Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) for “Anastasia”
· Best Performance by a Leading Actor—Nicholas Alexander Wilkinson II, Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Fela!”
· Best Performance by a Supporting Performer—Lorelei Calder, Decatur High School, Decatur, Ga. (DeKalb) for “Matilda” and Shyla Rosario, Hiram High School, Hiram, Ga. (Paulding) for “Bring It On”
· Best Performance by a Featured Performer—Noah Caplan, Lakeview Academy, Gainesville, Ga. (Hall Co.) for “Something Rotten!”
· Choreography—Jade Lambert-Smith/Briana Bunkley, Tri-Cities H.S., East Point, Ga. (Fulton) for “Fela!”
· Ensemble—Lambert High School, Suwanee, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) for “The SpongeBob Musical”
· Costumes—Julianne Lopez, Lambert High School, Suwanee, Ga. (Forsyth) for “The SpongeBob Musical”
· Lighting Design—Thomas Schnitzer, Lambert H.S, Suwanee, Ga. (Forsyth) for “The SpongeBob Musical”
· Scenic Design—Sim Jones, Milton High School, Milton, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Anastasia”
· Sound—Brennan Ciccarelli/Sarah Rakoski, St. Pius X Catholic H.S., Chamblee (DeKalb) “The Addams Family”
· Technical Execution—Megan Hunter/Carly Ann Lovell/Thomas Schnitzer, Lambert High School, Suwanee, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) for “The SpongeBob Musical”
· Showstopper—Milton H.S., Milton, Ga. (Fulton) for “Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart” from “Anastasia”
· Show-Must-Go-On Spotlight Award—Greater Atlanta Christian School, Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) for “Stay, I Pray You” from “Anastasia”
As the leading actress and actor, respectively, Thomas and Wilkinson will represent Georgia in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program named The Jimmy Awards® and participate in this year’s awards show at the Minskoff Theatre in New York on June 27, with merit scholarships and professional opportunities up for grabs. This national competition was cancelled in spring 2020 due to pandemic-related Broadway closures and returned last year with an all-virtual format organized by Broadway League.
This year’s Shuler Awards® included the new “supporting performer” category which combined the previous categories of supporting actress and supporting actor.
“The supporting performer category now recognizes and celebrates students of any gender who performed in supporting roles, with the two highest-scoring students jointly awarded as this year’s recipients for one of the nation’s first supporting performer awards, a change that greater serves Georgia high school musical theatre students who identify across the entire gender spectrum,” said Elizabeth Lenhart, director of arts education for ArtsBridge Foundation.
The Shuler Awards® competition is among the nation’s first regional high school musical theatre awards programs to institute such a change, in good company with other first-time non-gendered performance awards competitions in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.
“We congratulate all of the winners and nominees of the 2022 Shuler Awards,” said Jennifer D. Dobbs, executive director of ArtsBridge Foundation. “We appreciate everyone’s support in honoring the hard work of all of this year’s competing schools, and our roster of volunteer adjudicators who generously shared their expertise and time.”
In 2021-22, 50 high schools across the state enrolled and 46 competed to determine the 17 Shuler Award nominees, with a team of 46 Georgia-based arts professionals evaluating the student productions. The accounting firm Bennett Thrasher tabulated the results for the 2022 Shuler Awards.
ArtsBridge Foundation and GPB-TV live broadcasts of The Shulers® won the Southeast Emmy® Award in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 for special event coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time.
Since 2009, the Shuler Awards® engaged over 60,000 students from 142 schools and 38 counties/school systems. The 2022-2023 Shuler Awards competition will commence in August 2022 with the 15th Annual Shuler Awards presentation slated for April 20, 2023. More information will be available on the ArtsBridge Foundation website at ArtsBridgeGA.org/programs/Shuler-Awards/.
The broadcast also included announcement of the students chosen to receive theater- and performing arts-related monetary or in-kind scholarships. ArtsBridge Foundation and its partners presented over $25,000 in scholarships ($25,193, up from $15,793 last year), with the individual scholarships ranging from $1,000 to $5,000. Winners were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants.
Scholarship winners include:
· Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship
o Georgia Thomas, Greater Atlanta Christian School, Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)
o Gracie Price, Whitefield Academy, Mableton, Ga. (Cobb Co.)
· The Aurora Theatre Summer Scholarship
o Maya Gows, Grayson High School, Loganville, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)
· Broadway Dreams Foundation Summer Intensive Scholarship
o Julia Wolff, Denmark High School, Alpharetta, Ga. (Forsyth Co.)
o Katelyn Miller, West Forsyth High School, Cumming, Ga. (Forsyth Co.)
· Dobbs/Berntson Family Educational Excellence Scholarship ($1,000)
o Jailin Damon, Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts, Jonesboro, Ga. (Clayton Co.)
· The James Carlos Family Musical Theatre Performance Scholarship ($5,000 each)
o Farrel Russell, Alpharetta High School, Alpharetta, Ga. (Fulton Co.)
o Sam Yousuf, Denmark High School, Alpharetta, Ga. (Forsyth Co.)
Scholarship winners, continued:
· Lockstep Technology Group Jimmy Awards Scholarship ($1,250 each)
o Leading Actress: Georgia Thomas, Greater Atlanta Christian School, Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)
o Leading Actor: Nicholas Alexander Wilkinson II, Tri-Cities High School, East Point, Ga. (Fulton)
· Mamie Words and Rosabelle Allen Technical Theatre Scholarships ($5,000 each)
o Calah Munoz, Grayson High School, Loganville, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)
o Farrel Russell, Alpharetta High School, Alpharetta, Ga. (Fulton Co.)
· The Orbit Arts Academy Broadway University Scholarship
o William Sabonis-Chafee, Wesleyan School, Peachtree Corners, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)
· Smiley For Kylie Scholarship ($4,000)
o Iley Barnes, Ringgold High School, Ringgold, Ga. (Catoosa Co.)
o Jackson Dunlap, Milton High School, Milton, Ga. (Fulton Co.)
o Tyler Ginn, Greenbrier High School, Evans, Ga. (Columbia Co.)
o George-Henry Ewers, Gainesville High School, Gainesville, Ga. (Hall Co.)
The 2021-2022 Shuler Awards® are made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors:
Presenting Sponsor—Georgia Lottery
Silver Sponsors—Bennett Thrasher LLP, BlackLight Productions, Inc., Bobbie Bailey Foundation, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Delta Community Credit Union, The Fabulous Fox Theatre, Fifth Third Bank Broadway In Atlanta, Georgia Public Broadcasting, Jimmy & Helen Carlos
Bronze Sponsors— Benson Family Foundation Fund, KIA Motors America, Inc
Star Sponsors—John & Mary Franklin Foundation, Lockstep Technology Group, Production Strategies & Design Group, Inc.
Friend Sponsors—Alliance Theatre, Broadway Dreams, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Diaz Foods, The Dobbs/Berntson Family, Georgia Council for the Arts, National Endowment for the Arts
In-Kind Sponsors—AIDS Healthcare Foundation, Aurora Theatre, Chick-fil-A, Clear Channel Outdoor, Cobb Galleria Centre, Dart Container, Diaz Foods, Embassy Suites Atlanta-Galleria, Encore Magazine, Fine Line Productions, Freeman Carpet, Gibbs Creative, Joella’s Hot Chicken, KIA Motors America, Inc., Manning Entertainment, Murph’s, Music Theatre International, Nicholas Wolaver/NEW’s Public Relations, Orbit Arts Academy, Papa John’s, Subway
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 410,000 students and educators from 68 Georgia counties, plus students from five bordering states. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. ArtsBridge Foundation and Georgia Public Broadcasting’s GPB-TV live broadcast of The Shulers® won the Southeast Emmy® Award in 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021 for special event coverage, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time. To learn more visit ArtsBridgeGA.org.