Local Arts

Best among Charlotte high school musicals? Verdict’s in: Here are the 2018 Blumey winners

Blumey nominees in Sunday’s opening number.
Blumey nominees in Sunday’s opening number.

Sunday night’s Blumey Awards crowned a best actor and best actress, and winners in more than a dozen other categories, as Charlotte’s high-school equivalent of Broadway’s Tony Awards turned seven.

Named for the hosting Blumenthal Performing Arts Center, the Blumeys recognize top work in high school musical theater in the Charlotte region. And some Blumey winners have gone on to national, even international acclaim: Eva Noblezada, named best actress here in 2013, was a Tony nominee last year for her work in “Miss Saigon” on Broadway. (Famously, she was cast in the London production while still at Northwest School of the Arts.)

Taking home the acting awards this year were Reneé Rapp, also of Northwest, who played Sandra in “Big Fish,” and Ethan Holtzman of Charlotte Latin, who was The Baker in “Into the Woods.” Both advance to national finals June 25 in New York, with all-expense-paid trips to what’s known as the Jimmys: the National High School Musical Theater Awards.

A time-lapse look at rehearsal for the 2018 Blumeys, courtesy of Blumenthal Performing Arts.

Best musicals were named in two tiers, based on production budget. Nation Ford’s “Seussical” won among schools spending less than $10,000 (along with four other awards), while Ardrey Kell’s “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” was tops among those who spent more.

Arts criticism shared the stage: Of 14 students who had reviewed competing musicals, Trevor Moore of Weddington High turned in the winning essay, receiving the Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award.

Two students – Khalil Cabble from Central Academy of Technology & Arts, and Hannah-Kathryn Wall from Northwest School of the Arts – were awarded the Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarships, each worth up to $10,000 and annually renewable.

And Sophie Feher of Ardrey Kell was awarded the Gordon Hay Scholarship: $5,000 toward learning opportunties in a non-performing area, within the performing arts.

Forty-six schools participated in the competition.

Musicals do more than entertain, pointed out Blumenthal president/CEO Tom Gabbard: “Mounting a musical is one of the most collaborative activities imaginable, combining the talents of performers, tech crews, marketers and others. Every one of these schools has reason to celebrate.”

The awards show will be broadcast on WTVI several times in upcoming weeks: at 8 p.m. May 29, and at 9 p.m. May 31, June 26 and June 29.

The rest of the Blumey list:

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, “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.

Best overall direction: Nation Ford, “Seussical.”

Best ensemble/chorus: Nation Ford, “Seussical.”

Best choreography execution: Nation Ford, “Seussical.”

Best student orchestra: Providence, “Cinderella.”

Best costume creation: Piedmont Community Charter, “Into The Woods.

Best set construction: Nation Ford, “Seussical.”

Technical achievement award: Emily Harris, Stuart W. Cramer High.