Blumenthal Performing Arts Announces The 8th Annual Blumey Awards Winners

May 19, 2019 / Press Releases
By Becky Bereiter

(May 19, 2019) Charlotte, NC – The eighth annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 19th, 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.

Pine Lake Preparatory School won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Bright Star. Ardrey Kell High School won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Curtains. Arella Flur from Charlotte Latin School won Best Actress for her portrayal of “Mary Poppins” in Mary Poppins. Sayo Oni from Central Academy of Technology and Arts won Best Actor for his portrayal of “Drew” in Rock of Ages.



Arella Flur and Sayo Oni 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 24, 2019.

“We’re so proud of all the students, faculty and staff from the 48 schools who participated in the 2019 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.”

Sixteen student critics also participated in the Student Critic Program in association with the 8th 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 sixteen Student Critics, Kaelin Shirley from Mallard Creek High School was awarded “The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award” at The Blumey Awards, chosen by the editors at The Charlotte Observer.

Amy Burkett of WTVI emceed the black-tie event. This year, The Blumey Awards will also be broadcast on WTVI on May 28th at 8pm, May 30th at 9pm, June 22nd at 6pm and June 23rd at 2pm.

Among the award presenters and special guests were Ethan Holtzman (2018 Blumey Awards Best Actor winner), Tyler McKenzie (Central Academy of Technology and Arts graduate and current Hamilton ensemble member), Amy Blumenthal, Annette Tanner (Broadway Dreams) and Joe O’Connor (WFAE).


2019 Blumey Awards winners:

Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 1:  Pine Lake Preparatory School- Bright Star

(Musical production budget of under $10,000)


Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 2:  Ardrey Kell High School- Curtains

(Musical production budget of $10,000 and greater)


Best Actor:  Central Academy of Technology and Arts- Sayo Oni as Drew- Rock of Ages: High School Edition


Best Actress:  Charlotte Latin School- Arella Flur as Mary Poppins- Mary Poppins


Best Supporting Actor:  Stuart W. Cramer High School- Alex Manley as Schroeder- You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown


Best Supporting Actress:  cfa Academy- Mia Rice as Irene Molloy- Hello, Dolly!


Best Featured Performer:  cfa Academy- Brittany Schell as Minnie Fay- Hello, Dolly!


Best Overall Direction:  Pine Lake Preparatory School- Bright Star

Best Ensemble/Chorus:  Ardrey Kell High School- Curtains


Best Choreography Execution:  Nation Ford High School- Young Frankenstein


Best Student Orchestra:  Northwest School of the Arts- Freaky Friday


Best Costume Creation:  Stuart W. Cramer High School- You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown


Best Set Construction:  Providence High School- Newsies


Technical Achievement Award:  Stuart W. Cramer High School- Emily Harris


Special Recognition in Technical Achievement: Gaston Day School- Eli Dills


Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award: Mallard Creek High School- Kaelin Shirley


Along with The Blumey Awards themselves, five students were awarded college scholarships. The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship annually benefits two graduating high school seniors within the Charlotte region who are preparing to major in performance or a technical area of the performing arts. Scholarships are typically $10,000 and are annually renewable during a student’s four-year undergraduate program. This year, the Mary Doctor committee selected Emily Harris from Stuart W. Cramer High School and Amil Brothers from Northwest School of the Arts. Already an accomplished young costume designer, Emily will attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA), and Amil Brothers, a talented and skilled dancer, will begin her freshman year at Pittsburgh’s Point Park University. 

The Gordon Hay Scholarship Committee recently selected Caitlyn Brown from Central Academy of Technology and Arts as this year’s scholarship recipient. Each year, a deserving high school senior or college freshman or sophomore is selected to receive this unique $5,000 scholarship. The award is not for tuition, class fees, or living expenses, but for special learning opportunities related to the recipient’s career interest in a nonperforming area of the performing arts (e.g. lighting and sound design, set design, costume design, stage management, etc.). Caitlyn’s career goal is set design.

Because of the tremendous talent base among this year’s Gordon Hay candidates, three generous committee members pooled personal funds to provide an additional $2,500 award to Danielle Vanasse from Independence High School and the same amount to Bethany Houston from Nation Ford high School. In the fall, Danielle will attend UNC Greensboro and Bethany will attend College of Charleston.

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 eight 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-eight participating schools.

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. 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 schools that competed this year included: Arborbrook Christian Academy, Ardrey Kell High School, Cannon School, Carmel Christian School, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Central Cabarrus High School, cfa Academy, Charlotte Catholic High School, Charlotte Christian, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Christ the King Catholic High School, Covenant Day School, Cuthbertson High School, David W Butler High School, Davidson Day School, East Lincoln High School, East Mecklenburg High School, Forestview High School, Fort Mill High School, Gaston Day School, Hickory Ridge High School, Highland School of Technology, Independence High School, Jay M. Robinson High School, Lake Norman High School, Liberty Preparatory Christian Academy, Lincolnton High School , Mallard Creek High School, Nation Ford High School, North Lincoln High School, Northwest Cabarrus High School, Northwest School of the Arts, Northwestern High School, Piedmont Community Charter School, Pine Lake Preparatory 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, Westminister Catawba Christian School, William A. Hough High School, York Comprehensive High School.


For more information:

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.