ArtsBridge Foundation Announces 2023 Shuler Awards Winners

Speakeysie News Desk – April 26. 2023

State’s Top High School Musical Theatre Performances Honored During Georgia Public Broadcasting Televised Special titled “Shuler Awards 2023”

Five Schools Earn “Standing Ovation” Awards for Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (I.D.E.A.); Student Recipients of $17,187 in Scholarships Also Announced During Live Broadcast

ATLANTA – In a special broadcast with partner Georgia Public Broadcasting, ArtsBridge Foundation announced the winners of the 15th Annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards (GHSMTA) during “Shuler Awards 2023,” a live co-production that aired statewide.

Roswell High School of Roswell, Ga., and Denmark High School of Alpharetta, Ga. tied for earning the most honors—three awards each—for their productions of “Bright Star” and “Newsies,” respectively. Three schools each earned two awards, including Decatur High School for “9 to 5,” Greenbrier High School of Evans, Ga., for “The Addams Family” and King’s Ridge High School of Alpharetta, Ga., for “All Shook Up.”

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—GHSMTA 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

Fashioned after Broadway’s Tony Awards, this year’s GHSMTA winners span 11 public and private schools from seven counties across the Peach State. The winners are:

·        Overall Production—Roswell High School, Roswell, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Bright Star”

·        Direction—Trey Rutherford, Roswell High School for “Bright Star”

·        Music Direction—Chloe Roney, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.) for “Newsies”

·        Orchestra—Jennie Fabianski, Chattahoochee High School in Johns Creek, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Chicago”

·        Best Performance by a Leading Actress—Emily Marx*, Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) in the role of Katharine Pulitzer ‘Plumber’ in “Newsies”

·        Best Performance by a Leading Actor—Trever Arnold*, Denmark High School in the role of Jack Kelly in “Newsies”

·        Best Performance by a Supporting Performer—Elena Torres of Decatur High School (DeKalb Co.) for “9 to 5” and Peyton Nobrega, Milton High School in Milton, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for “Disaster!”

·        Best Performance by a Featured Performer—Garret Bye, King’s Ridge Christian School (Fulton Co.) for “All Shook Up”

·        Choreography—Sophia Biel and Katie Williams, Starr’s Mill High School in Fayetteville, Ga. (Fayette Co.) for “Anastasia”

·        Ensemble—Greenbrier High School (Columbia Co.) for “The Addams Family”

·        Costumes—Debbie Prost, Johns Creek High School (Fulton Co.) for “The Little Mermaid”

·        Lighting Design—Saachi Bedi, Decatur High School for “9 to 5”

·        Scenic Design—Autumn Goode/Emily Kruckow/Joel Carillo/Skye Boutall, Greenbrier High School for “The Addams Family”

·        Sound—Steve Harriton, King’s Ridge Christian School for “All Shook Up”

·        Technical Execution—Trey Rutherford/Trey Harding, Roswell High School for “Bright Star”

·        Showstopper—Greater Atlanta Christian School in Norcross, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.) performing “Revolting Children” from “Matilda”

·        Spotlight Award (production design and execution)—Rabun Gap Nacoochee School in Rabun Gap, Ga. (Rabun Co.) for “Pippin Revival”

*As Leading Performer, also named recipient of the Lockstep Technology Group Jimmy Awards Scholarship (see scholarship list below for details)

As the leading actress and actor, respectively, Brooks and Pijanowski 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 26, with merit scholarships and professional opportunities up for grabs. The national competition is organized by Broadway League.

For the second consecutive year, the Shuler Awards included the new “supporting performer” category which combined the previous categories of supporting actress and supporting actor.

“The supporting performer category celebrates students of any gender, with the two highest-scoring students jointly awarded, 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 was 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 of 2022 in Florida, Iowa, Minnesota and Texas.

As part of ArtsBridge Foundation’s celebration of the 15th GHSMTA celebration, five “Standing Ovation” Awards were also presented to recognize five participating schools for their work involving Inclusion, Diversity, Equity and Access (I.D.E.A.) within their musical theatre programs, aligned with ArtsBridge Foundation’s commitment to its mission, vision and I.D.E.A. Policy.

“Each school earning the Standing Ovation Award was chosen based on actions they were taking to address relevant challenges within their communities,” said Lenhart.

The Standing Ovation Award recipient schools are:

·        Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Ga. (Gordon Co.) for Historical Reflection and Anti-Semitism

·        Cambridge High School in Milton, Ga. (Fulton Co.) for Differently Abled

·        Chamblee High School in Chamblee, Ga. (DeKalb Co.) for Neurodiversity

·        Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga. (Rockdale Co.) for Equity and Mental Health

·        Ridgeland High School in Rossville, Ga. (Walker Co.) for LGBTQIA and Racism

During this school year, Ridgeland High School was a first-time GHSMTA entrant.

“We congratulate all winners and nominees of the 2023 Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards,” said Jennifer D. Dobbs, executive director of ArtsBridge Foundation. “We appreciate everyone’s support in honoring the hard work this year’s competing schools and our volunteer adjudicators who generously shared their time and critical expertise.”

In 2022-23, 52 high schools across the state enrolled and 51 competed to determine the 18 Shuler Award winners in 17 categories, with a team of 51 Georgia-based arts professionals evaluating the student productions. The accounting firm Bennett Thrasher tabulated the results for the 2023 GHSMTA.

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, and was a finalist in 2022, indicative of the superb quality and high production value Georgia students bring at show time.

Since 2009, the GHSMTA program has engaged over 60,000 students from 142 schools and 38 counties/school systems. The 2023-24 Shuler Awards competition will commence in August 2023 with the 16th Annual Shuler Awards presentation slated for April 18, 2024. More information will be available on the ArtsBridge Foundation website at  

The broadcast also included announcement of student recipients of theater- and performing arts-related monetary or in-kind scholarships. ArtsBridge Foundation and its partners presented $17,187 in scholarships, with the individual scholarship ranging from $500 to $5,000. Winners were chosen from a competitive pool of applicants.  Scholarship winners include:

Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship ($799)

Emily Trapnell, Greenbrier High School in Evans, Ga. (Columbia Co.)

The Aurora Theatre Summer Scholarship ($650)

Sarah Anne Behunin, Mountain View High School in Lawrenceville, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)

Broadway Dreams Foundation Summer Intensive Scholarship ($895)

Angelique Pierre, Hiram High School in Hiram, Ga. (Paulding Co.)

Dobbs/Berntson Family Educational Excellence Scholarship ($1,000)

Angelique Pierre, Hiram High School in Hiram, Ga. (Paulding Co.)

Georgia Ensemble Theatre Scholarship ($600)

Catherine Govignon, Calhoun High School in Calhoun, Ga. (Gordon Co.)

The James Carlos Family Musical Theatre Performance Scholarship ($5,000)

Madison Le, Providence Christian Academy in Lilburn, Ga. (Gwinnett Co.)

*Lockstep Technology Group Jimmy Awards Scholarship ($1,250 each)

Trever Arnold, Denmark High School in Alpharetta, Ga. (Forsyth Co.) in the role of Jack Kelly in “Newsies”

Emily Marx, Denmark High School in the role of Katharine Pulitzer ‘Plumber’ in “Newsies”

The Orbit Arts Academy Broadway University Scholarship ($549)

Kaylor Jones, Prince Avenue Christian School in Bogart, Ga. (Oconee Co.)

The Rupa Brooks Scholarship ($1,000)

Emily Trapnell, Greenbrier High School in Evans, Ga. (Columbia Co.)

The Samit and Mita Roy Scholarship ($1,250 each)

Catherine Govignon, Calhoun High School (Gordon Co.)

Kaylor Jones, Prince Avenue Christian School in Bogart, Ga. (Oconee Co.)

The 2023 GHSMTA are made possible by the generous support of the following sponsors:  

Presenting Sponsor—Georgia Lottery

Gold Sponsor—Amazon

Silver SponsorsAIDS Healthcare Foundation, Bennett Thrasher LLP, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, Delta Community Credit Union, The Fabulous Fox Theatre, Fifth Third Bank Broadway In Atlanta, GPB, GSU TV, Jimmy & Helen Carlos

Bronze Sponsors— KIA Motors America, Inc., Southern Company

Star Sponsors—Comcast, Frazier & Deeter, Georgia Council for the Arts, Lockstep Technology Group, National Endowment for the Arts, Samit & Mita Roy

Friend Sponsors— Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Dobbs/Berntson Family, Rupa Brooks

In-Kind Sponsors— Alliance Theatre, Aurora Theatre, Broadway Dreams Foundation, Chick-fil-A, Clear Channel Outdoor, Cobb Galleria Centre, Diaz Foods, Encore Magazine, Fine Line Productions, Georgia Ensemble Theatre, Gibbs Creative, Hyatt House Atlanta/Cobb Galleria, KIA Motors America, Inc., Maggiano’s Little Italy, Manning Entertainment, Murph’s, NEW’s Public Relations/Nicholas Wolaver, Orbit Arts Academy, Papa John’s, Roark Capital, Subway, Zaxby’s

Additional corporate donations or private contributions to the GHSMTA are appreciated and may be submitted online at

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, master classes, and the annual Shuler Awards. Since 2007, ArtsBridge has served nearly 425,000 students and educators from 70 Georgia counties, plus students from five bordering states. ArtsBridge Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. To learn more visit

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