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Awards and Scholarships Spotlight the Next Generation of Georgia’s Musical Theater Talent

ATLANTA – (April 23, 2015) – ArtsBridge Foundation, the producer of the 2015 Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards – Shuler Hensley Awards, tonight announced the winners of the 2015 awards during a ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Award highlights include:  Overall Production – West Forsyth High School for Nice Work If You Can Get It; Direction – Rabun Gap-Nacoochee School’s William Patti for Godspell; Leading Actor – West Forsyth High School’s Nick Eibler for his role as Jimmy Winter in Nice Work If You Can Get It; and Leading Actress – Milton High School’s McKenzie Kurtz for her role as Mary Poppins in Mary Poppins. Additionally, three scholarships and one grant were awarded.

The two talented recipients of the leading actor and actress awards will travel to New York City to participate in the 7th Annual National High School Musical Theater Awards that will take place at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway on June 29, 2015. They will compete with young performers from across the country for the coveted JimmyTM Award, as well as merit scholarships and professional opportunities. The 2014 Leading Actress winner, Jai’Len Josey of Tri-Cities High School, went on to win the national award.

Following is the complete list of 2015 Shuler Award recipients:

  • Overall Production: West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Ensemble: West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actor: Nick Eibler as Jimmy Winter, West Forsyth High School Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actress: McKenzie Kurtz as Mary Poppins, Milton High School, Mary Poppins
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actor: Cody Marshall as Cookie McGee, West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actress: Alyssa Driggers as Judas, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, Godspell
  • Best Performance by a Featured Performer: Alexis Lewis as By My Side Soloist, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, Godspell
  • Direction: William Patti, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, Godspell
  • Sound: Alex Skelton, West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Costume Design: Eric Gray, West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Scenic Design: Sean Lakey and Rebecca Smith, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, Godspell
  • Lighting Design: David Philyaw, Rabun-Gap Nacoochee School, Godspell
  • Technical Execution: Eric Gray, West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Orchestra: Michelle Austin, Alpharetta High School, The Drowsy Chaperone
  • Music Direction: Eric Gray, West Forsyth High School, Nice Work If You Can Get It
  • Choreography: Lynne Brague, Mount Paran Christian School, Peter Pan
  • Show Stopper: Starr’s Mill High School, The Addams Family, When You’re An Addams

The 69 member Shuler Student Ensemble performed an opening number from Hairspray and closing number from Newsies. The ceremony also featured cameo appearances from Marietta-native and Tony Award winner Shuler Hensley; performances by the six schools nominated for overall production; a performance of When You’re An Addams by Starr’s Mill High School, winner of the Show Stopper award; and leading actor and actress nominee medleys. The Shuler Awards are a program of ArtsBridge Foundation, which provides quality performing arts education programs designed to engage and motivate the next generation of artists and arts supporters.

A team of more than 60 Atlanta-based arts professionals evaluated the productions of the 50 participating high schools.  Twenty four (24) public and private schools from throughout the state were nominated in the 17 categories for the 7th annual Shuler Awards.  The accounting firm Cherry Bekaert tabulated the results for the 2015 Shuler Awards.

In addition to the Shuler Awards, ArtsBridge Foundation presented three scholarships and one grant during the ceremony. The Broadway Dreams Performance Scholarships were awarded to Christopher Sferra of North Cobb Christian School and to Noel Isaacson of Lambert High School in Forsyth County. The Morrell Memorial Music Scholarship was given to Dautri Erwin of Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts in Clayton County. The Jubilee Cultural Arts Alliance Scenic Design Grant was awarded to Harlem High School in Columbia County.

The 2015 Shuler Awards were made possible by the following generous sponsors: presenting sponsor The Georgia Lottery; platinum sponsors: WSB-TV and Cherry Bekaert; gold sponsor: Delta Community Credit Union; silver sponsors: Embassy Suites, Staging Directions, Norcostco and Magnum Companies; and many others. To learn more about the Shuler Hensley Awards, visit http://artsbridgega.org/programs/shuler-awards/ or call (770) 916.2800. To learn more about ArtsBridge, visit http://artsbridgega.org/.

About ArtsBridge Foundation

ArtsBridge Foundation, formerly the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre Foundation, is dedicated to providing quality arts education and community engagement programs that engage, motivate, inspire, and elevate the next generation of artists and arts supporters. ArtsBridge forms connections with students in grades K-12 by providing arts education opportunities through field trip programs to the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, master class workshops, artists-in-schools, and the annual Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards – Shuler Hensley Awards. Since our inception in 2007, ArtsBridge has served more than 240,000 students and educators from 30 Georgia counties, plus students from Alabama, Tennessee, Florida and South Carolina. To learn more, visit http://artsbridgega.org and follow us on Twitter at @ArtsbridgeGA and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArtsBridgeGa.

Contacts: Becky Erwin
On behalf of ArtsBridge Foundation
404-293-7263 | becky.erwin@gmail.com

Natalie Barrow, ArtsBridge Foundation
770-916-2808 | nbarrow@cobbenergycentre.com

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