May 21, 2017 / Press Releases
By Becky Bereiter

High School Musical Theater Awards Presented By Wells Fargo

Charlotte, NC – The sixth annual Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards culminated Sunday, May 21st, at a gala award celebration where winners in 12 categories were announced and nominees for Best Actor, Best Actress and Wells Fargo Best Musical performed live on stage at the Belk Theater. The Blumey Awards were presented by Wells Fargo.

Stuart W. Cramer High School won the Tier 1 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of Thoroughly Modern Millie. Northwest School of the Arts won the Tier 2 Wells Fargo Best Musical Award for their production of All Shook Up. Anna Hertel of Ardrey Kell High School won Best Actress for her portrayal of “Velma Kelly” in Chicago. Justin Rivers of Central Academy of Technology and Arts won Best Actor for his portrayal of “Sweeney Todd” in Sweeney Todd.

Anna Hertel and Justin Rivers, the students named Best Actress and Best Actor at The Blumey Awards, 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 26, 2017.

23 different high schools within the Charlotte region were nominated for Blumey Awards in at least one of the 12 categories. 33 schools had students recognized in the Top 20 in the Best Actor or Best Actress category. Counties represented included Cabarrus, Catawba, Chesterfield, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Union and York.

“Congratulations to each and every school that participated in the 6th Annual Blumey Awards Ceremony,” said Tom Gabbard, Blumenthal President and CEO.  “I’m proud of the talent we saw on our stage tonight. These young people gave it their all in front of a sold out house at Belk Theater. We are honored to be a part of that incredible experience and to celebrate blooming talent.”

15 student critics also participated in the Student Critic Program in association with the 6th 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 fifteen Student Critics, Cecilia Whalen of East Mecklenburg 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 Tuesday, May 30 at 8 p.m.

Among the award presenters and special guests were Amina Faye (2016 Blumey and Jimmy Awards Best Actress), Amy Blumenthal, Annette Tanner (Broadway Dreams), David Potori (NCAC), Jeff Hay (Womble-Carlyle), Kelly Maxner (UNCSA), Michelle Lee (Wells Fargo), Reggie Bean (Coca-Cola), Sam Faulkner (performed title role in Billy Elliot).

This year's winners for The Blumey Awards included:

Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 1 (Musical production budget of under $10,000)

Stuart W. Cramer – Thoroughly Modern Millie

Wells Fargo Best Musical – Tier 2 (Musical production budget of $10,000 and greater)

Northwest School of the Arts – All Shook Up

Best Actor

Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Justin Rivers as Sweeney Todd (Sweeney Todd)

Best Actress

Ardrey Kell High School – Anna Hertel as Velma Kelly (Chicago)

Best Supporting Actor

Northwest School of the Arts – Rixey Terry as Dennis (All Shook Up)

Best Supporting Actress

Northwest School of the Arts - Hannah-Kathryn Wall as Sylvia (All Shook Up)

Best Featured Performer

Northwestern High School – Herbert White as Dr. Victor Von Frankenstein (Young Frankenstein)

Best Overall Direction

Northwest School of the Arts – All Shook Up

Best Ensemble/Chorus

Northwest School of the Arts – All Shook Up

Best Choreography Execution

Northwest School of the Arts – All Shook Up

Best Student Orchestra

Central Academy of Technology and Arts – Sweeney Todd

Best Costume Creation

Piedmont Community Charter School – Thoroughly Modern Millie

Best Set Construction

Stuart W. Cramer High School – Thoroughly Modern Millie

Technical Achievement Award

Providence High School -- Ethan Martin 

Along with The Blumey Awards themselves, The Doctor Family Foundation awarded its $10,000 annually renewable scholarship to two area students. This year, The Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship was awarded to Madeline Bame from South Point High School and Dequarius Jackson from Hopewell High School. A special scholarship committee chose these winners and the recipients were awarded the scholarships live during The Blumey Awards Ceremony.

The Gordon Hay Scholarship Committee also selected two exceptional Charlotte region students who exemplify 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 2017 Gordon Hay Scholarships were awarded to Hannah Goforth from Myers Park High School and Dequarius Jackson from Hopewell 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 six 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.

David Dabbon once again served as the 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.  Chris Bailey, a professional choreographer, choreographed the opening and closing numbers as well as the medleys. Chris has been the choreographer for numerous West End, Broadway, and touring shows including the US national tours of Evita and Shrek the Musical, as well as Assassins at Menier Chocolate Factory in London.

The 46 schools that competed in the 2017 Blumey Awards included: A. L. Brown High School, Arborbrook Christian Academy, Ardrey Kell High School, Bunker Hill High School, Butler High School, Cannon School, Carmel Christian School, Central Academy of Technology and Arts, Central Cabarrus High School, Central High School, cfa Academy, Charlotte Christian School, Charlotte Country Day School, Charlotte Latin School, Covenant Day School, Cuthbertson High School, Davidson Day School, East Mecklenburg High 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, Marvin Ridge High School, Mountain Island Charter School, Nation Ford High School, North Lincoln 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, Queens Grant High School, Shelby High School, South Mecklenburg High School, South Point High School, South Pointe High School, Southlake Christian Academy, Stuart W. Cramer High School, Weddington High School.

For more information: BlumenthalArts.org/BlumeyAwards

For photos and interview requests: Contact Becky Bereiter, rbereiter@ncbpac.org

Blumenthal Performing Arts serves the Carolinas as a leading cultural, entertainment and education provider. For more information, call (704) 372-1000 or visit BlumenthalArts.org. 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.