May 20, 2018 / Press Releases
By Becky Bereiter

Charlotte, NC – The seventh annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 20th, at a gala award celebration where winners in 15 categories were announced and nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Wells Fargo Best Musical performed live on stage at Belk Theater. The Blumey Awards were presented by Wells Fargo.

Nation Ford High School won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Seussical. Ardrey Kell High School won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. Reneé Rapp of Northwest School of the Arts won Best Actress for her portrayal of “Sandra” in Big Fish. Ethan Holtzman of Charlotte Latin School won Best Actor for his portrayal of “The Baker” in Into the Woods.


(Best Musical Winner - Tier 1: Nation Ford High School, Seussical)


(Best Musical Winner - Tier 2: Ardrey Kell High School, The Hunchback of Notre Dame)

Reneé Rapp and Ethan Holtzman will receive an all-expenses-paid trip and weeklong stay in New York City where they will train and compete with other regional winners in the National High School Musical Theater Awards. The national show and ceremony, known as The Jimmy Awards (named after famed Broadway producer, James M. Nederlander), takes place in New York on June 25, 2018.


(2018 Blumey Awards Best Actress Winner Reneé Rapp from Northwest School of the Arts performing as "Sandra" from Big Fish)


(2018 Blumey Awards Best Actor Winner Ethan Holtzman from Charlotte Latin School performing as "The Baker" from Into the Woods)

“We’re so proud of all the students, faculty and staff from the 46 schools who participated in the 2018 Blumey Awards.  Mounting a musical is one of the most collaborative activities imaginable combining the talents of performers, tech crews, marketers and others,” said Blumenthal President/CEO Tom Gabbard. “Every one of these schools has reason to celebrate their achievements, as well as the friendships made and the personal growth that each student has experienced.”

Fourteen student critics also participated in the Student Critic Program in association with the 7th Annual Blumey Awards presented by Wells Fargo.  The Student Critic Program is a part of The Blumey Awards with support from The Charlotte Observer. Of these fourteen Student Critics, Trevor Moore of Weddington High School, was awarded “The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award” at The Blumey Awards, chosen by the editors at The Charlotte Observer.

Maureen O’Boyle, anchor for WBTV, and Amy Burkett of WTVI co-emceed the black-tie event. This year, The Blumey Awards will also be broadcast on WTVI on May 29th at 8pm, May 31st at 9pm, June 26th at 9pm and June 29th at 9pm.

Among the award presenters and special guests were Anna Hertel (2017 Blumey Awards Best Actress and Jimmy Awards Best Dancer), Justin Rivers (2016 and 2017 Blumey Awards Best Actor), Amy Blumenthal, Annette Tanner (Broadway Dreams), Delano Little (WBTV), Hope Muir (Charlotte Ballet), Michelle Lee (Wells Fargo), Joe O’Connor (WFAE), and Richard Thurmond (Charlotte Center City Partners).


2018 Blumey Awards winners:

Best Musical—Tier 1 (Musical production budget of under $10,000)

Nation Ford High School, Seussical

Best Musical—Tier 2 (Musical production budget of $10,000 and greater)

 Ardrey Kell High School, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Best Actor 

Ethan Holtzman, Charlotte Latin School, Into The Woods “The Baker”

Best Actress

Reneé Rapp, Northwest School of the Arts, Big Fish “Sandra”

Best Supporting Actor 

Rixey Terry, Northwest School of the Arts, Big Fish

Best Supporting Actress 

Brittany Schell, cfa Academy, Into The Woods

Best Featured Performer 

John Parker Demos, Ardrey Kell High School, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

Best Overall Direction 

Nation Ford High School, Seussical

Best Ensemble/Chorus 

Nation Ford High School, Seussical

Best Choreography Execution 

Nation Ford High School, Seussical

Best Student Orchestra

Providence High School, Cinderella

Best Costume Creation 

Piedmont Community Charter School, Into The Woods

Best Set Construction  

Nation Ford High School, Seussical

Technical Achievement Award

Emily Harris, Stuart W. Cramer High School

Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award

Trevor Moore, Weddington High School


Along with The Blumey Awards, The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship was awarded to Khalil Cabble from Central Academy of Technology & Arts and Hannah-Kathryn Wall from Northwest School of the Arts. The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship is awarded annually to up to two students. It provides each recipient up to $10,000 in scholarship funds and is renewable annually.

The Gordon Hay Scholarship Committee also selected one exceptional Charlotte region student who exemplifies a strong pursuit of personal excellence, exhibit commitment to community engagement, demonstrate artistic or technical accomplishment, and have records of scholarly achievement. The Gordon Hay Scholarship, in the amount of $5,000, is designated for special learning opportunities to the recipient’s career interest in a non-performing area within the performing arts. The 2018 Gordon Hay Scholarship was awarded to Sophie Feher from Ardrey Kell High School.

The gala celebration was the highlight of the competition, which started in January when local schools began presenting their annual musical theater productions. Each school’s musical was viewed and evaluated by a panel of three judges, who awarded points according to detailed guidelines. 

The Blumey Awards is produced by Blumenthal Performing Arts and is presented by Wells Fargo. The Doctor Family Foundation and The Leon Levine Foundation provide additional support. Charlotte joins more than 40 other cities, including Pittsburgh, Houston and Atlanta, in hosting annual high school musical theater awards programs.

“Wells Fargo has been the presenting sponsor of the Blumey Awards seven years in a row,” said Jay Everette, Community Affairs Manager for Wells Fargo. “We are always excited to see which outstanding young adults are selected to move on to the Jimmy Awards experience in New York City and we are particularly proud of this year’s deserving winners.”

Like the Tony Awards®, The Blumey Awards Ceremony featured a performance by each of the six nominated schools in the best musical category, a medley of performances by the six finalists for Best Actor and for Best Actress, and an opening and closing number that featured two students from each of the forty-six participating schools.

(For the first time in Blumey Awards history, the Opening and Closing numbers were streamed LIVE to Facebook)

David Dabbon once again served as music director and orchestrator for The Blumey Awards.  David is a New York based composer and Grammy nominated orchestrator and has served as the music director since the inaugural Blumey Awards ceremony in 2012. 

Linda Booth, a Charlottean, choreographed the opening and closing numbers as well as the medleys. She was honored to help BPA celebrate its 25th season, staging the gala featuring Leslie Odom, Jr. and to choreograph the tribute to William Ivey Long, featuring Laura Osnes, Andy Karl, Christine Ebersole, and Bebe Winans.  As a teaching artist, Linda has worked with over 20,000 youth, and she has choreographed over 200 productions, in regional, educational, and professional theatre.  

The 46 schools that competed in the 2018 Blumey Awards included: A. L. Brown High School, Arborbrook Christian Academy, Ardrey Kell High School, Bandys High School, Bunker Hill High School, Butler High School, Carmel Christian School, Central Academy of Technology & Arts, Central Cabarrus High School, Central High School, cfa Academy, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Christ the King Catholic High School, Covenant Day School, Cuthbertson High School, Davidson Day School, East Mecklenburg High School, Gaston Day School, Hickory Ridge High School, Highland School of Technology, Hough High School, Independence High School, Jay M. Robinson High School, Kings Mountain High School, Lake Norman High School, Lincolnton High School, Mountain Island Charter School, Nation Ford High School, Northside Christian Academy, Northwest Cabarrus High School, Northwest School of the Arts, Northwestern High School, Piedmont Community Charter, Pine Lake Preparatory, Providence Day School, Providence High School, Shelby High School, South Mecklenburg High School, South Pointe High School, SouthLake Christian Academy, Stuart W. Cramer High School, theHUB@CBTC, Weddington High School, Westminster Catawba Christian School       


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For photos and interview requests: Contact Becky Bereiter,


Blumenthal Performing Arts serves the Carolinas as a leading cultural, entertainment and education provider. For more information, call (704) 372-1000 or visit Blumenthal Performing Arts receives operating support from the Arts & Science Council and North Carolina Arts Council. Blumenthal Performing Arts is also supported by PNC Bank, sponsor of the PNC Broadway Lights.