Crowds cheered, photographers flashed and television cameras rolled as nominees arrived at the red carpet in vintage convertible automobiles provided by the Texas Museum of Automotive History. After a brief introduction by former DSM Executive Board Member Bill Melton, they made their way to the dressing rooms in preparation for the night̓s performances and awards announcements.
Presented by Comerica Bank, the DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards are based on Broadway’s Tony Awards and are designed to recognize and reward excellence in the production of high school musical theatre. Thirty high schools participated in DSM’s first-ever musical theatre awards program. It was a diverse list of high schools from as far away as Granbury, McKinney, Corsicana and all across the Metroplex. The musicals were a wonderful mix from classics like Red Oak High School’s “Singin’ in the Rain,” and dramatic, like Denton High Schools’ “Jekyll & Hyde” to Highland Park High School’s “Once Upon a Mattress,” a comedy.
Shon Gables, emcee from media partner WFAA-TV Channel 8, welcomed guests and introduced Darrell Jordan, Chairman of the Board, DSM. Jordan thanked DSM HSMTA founding donors Leah and Jerry Fullinwider; chairs Gail and Bill Plummer; Michael A. Jenkins, president and managing Director, Dallas Summer Musicals; Tracy Jordan, program director, HSMTA, media partner The Dallas Morning News and many sponsors.
Musical numbers choreographed and staged by Broadway veteran Michael B. Tapley featured selections from finalist musicals. The students had been practicing for weeks and it showed. The performances were stellar, allowing finalists to shine individually, as well as a group.
Jenkins, who has been involved in the production side of musicals for over 50 years and travels the world scouting shows for DSM’s seasons, said: “I was overwhelmed with pride when I saw the level of talent in performance and production in our high school musicals. We are thrilled to bring this program to Dallas. We believe it will encourage participation in the musical arts not only in the high schools, but throughout our community.”
Awards were given in 15 categories, including Best Musical to Flower Mound High School for their production of “Crazy for You,” presented by Cathy Rigby, Broadway veteran and former Olympic champion, who visits Dallas again when she stars in “Peter Pan,” running July 10 – 22 as part of DSM’s regular season at The Music Hall. DSM awarded seven $3,000 cash scholarships to outstanding participating students. Winner of the Best Performance by an Actor, Michael Williams as Phantom, “Phantom of the Opera,“ McKinney Boyd High School, and Best Performance by an Actress, Emily Emmett as Polly Baker, “Crazy for You,” Flower Mound High School, will receive an all-expense paid trip for five days to New York City to represent their school in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (the Jimmy Nederlander Award) for the chance to win prizes and scholarships, which vary by year. Tracy said: “These young performers are amazing. I have no doubt someday we will see them on stage accepting a Tony Award on Broadway! It’s a pleasure and privilege to bring attention to the fantastic work being done by these students and their teachers.”