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Theater critics are added to Blumey lineup

Eleven students will try their hands at theater criticism through a new facet of the Blumey Awards.

That’s the nickname of the Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards, a program in which students at 32 high schools through 16 counties in the greater Charlotte area compete for recognition in more than a dozen categories.

This year, the Blumeys’ second, organizers have begun a criticism competition, wanting to reach more students than just those who take part in the school musical. It aims to engage kids interested in literature, journalism or other professional writing. Students at all 32 schools were encouraged to apply, and from that group of applicants, 11 writers were chosen.

They came to a seminar last week about theater criticism at The Observer and, over the next few months, each will be sent out to review three musicals at participating schools.

A panel of judges at The Observer will choose a winner from the 11, who’ll be announced with the performance/production winners in a ceremony May 19 at the Belk Theater. The Blumenthal will also award two Blumey Award participants scholarships provided by the Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship Fund.

Last year, the best actor and actress winners traveled to the National High School Musical Theater Awards, dubbed the Jimmys, on a one-week, all-expenses-paid trip to New York. (Blumey organizers hope to send them again this year, but won’t find out officially until Jan. 31 if they’ll be able to.)

“The Observer is committed to increasing the amount of arts journalism in the community through the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance, so the Blumeys’ theater critic program is a great extension of that,” said Michael Weinstein, Observer features editor. “We look forward to publishing the critics’ work.

“We are encouraged that so many high school students are interested in reviewing theater productions. And we’re delighted Blumenthal Arts is going to recognize writers with a Blumey award.”

The 11 student critics are:

• Alison Krug, a senior at Jay M. Robinson High.

• Leslie Porfeli, a junior at Jay M. Robinson.

• Malin Curry, a freshman at Independence High.

•  Erin Reed, a junior at Northwest School of the Arts.

• Alexis Williams, a senior at Charlotte Christian.

• Michael Julliard, a sophomore at Charlotte Christian.

• Charlotte Bedell, a junior at Covenant Day.

• Lindsey Fisher, also a junior at Covenant Day.

• Lauren Andersen, a senior at Covenant Day.

• Porter Yelton, a junior at Gaston Day.

• Hannah Silver, a sophomore from the home school group CYC Players.

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