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Tommy Tune Awards 2013 Nominees Announced; Let's Talk About It

Students from last year's Tommy Tune rehearsals seemed to be networking pretty well
Students from last year's Tommy Tune rehearsals seemed to be networking pretty well
Photo by Margaret Downing

Theatre Under the Stars has just released its list of finalists for the Tommy Tune Awards and as in years past, there will be a best actor and best actress and a best play and other bests at the April 16 program designed to honor outstanding work in local high school musical theater.

A casual onlooker might think this is a pretty cutthroat business, one school pitted against the other, a limited number of students battling for the top spot, stage parents standing by urging them on, but Geneva Cisneros, assistant manager of education for Theatre Under the Stars which has put on the show for 11 years, says the reverse is the case.

More than ever, kids from one high school travel to others during the performance year - not to scope out the competition (well maybe a little) but to support the friends they've met during the days of Tommy Tune rehearsals, she says.

Turns out, high school musical theater in the Houston area is getting chattier than ever before. "It's actually become just a huge camaraderie for these kids," she says. " They live in different areas, and that they never would have met otherwise but that they met at Tommy Tune awards backstage and they've became friends and so now they support their fellow students by going to see their shows and obviously with the insurgence of Facebook it's an easy way for them to keep in touch."

This year's finalists include the first time Spamalot got in, she said, as well as Avenue Q (the school edition so stop gasping now). There's also a Gypsy and a South Pacific. There's some schools we see every year and some new up-and-comers as well.

The show, scheduled for April 16, features performances in the Best Leading Actress and Leading Actor categories as well as two students from every school in a grand finale. The actor and actress winners then get to go on to New York City where they'll compete for the Jimmy Award at the National High School Musical Theater Awards there.

The following high schools and individuals were nominated by a review board whose members are local theater professionals:

Best Musical Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town Stratford High School, Crazy for You

Best Leading Actor Clear Springs High School: Mark Mendell (Lt. Frank Cioffi) Curtains Episcopal High School: Mark Hauptfleisch. (Horton) Seussical G. W. Carver Magnet High School: Trey Morgan Lewis (Mister) The Color Purple James E. Taylor High School: Camron Alexander (Horton) Seussical Klein High School: Nathan Eggen (Baker) Into the Woods Klein Oak High School: Ryne Nardecchia (Sweeney Todd) Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School: Matt Flowers (Emile de Becque) South Pacific Seven Lakes High School: Joseph Nicholson (Man in Chair) The Drowsy Chaperone Stratford High School: Graham Baker (Bobby Child) Crazy for You

Best Leading Actress Clear Springs High School: Libby Hart (Carmen Bernstein) Curtains Cypress Woods High School: Bethany Eggleston (Millie Dillmount) Thoroughly Modern Millie Episcopal High School: Jennifer Laporte (Gertrude) Seussical G. W. Carver Magnet High School: Amber Scott (Celie) The Color Purple Kerr High School: Melissa Ramos (Kate Monster) Avenue Q - School Edition Kinkaid School: Madi Goeringer (Roxie Hart) Chicago Klein Collins High School: Ashlyn Connor (Elle Woods) Legally Blonde Klein Oak High School: Morgan Starr (Mrs. Lovett) Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School: Allison Anderson (Nellie Forbush) South Pacific Best Supporting Actor Cypress Falls High School: Thomas Valdez (Snoopy) You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Episcopal High School: Henry Herbert (Cat in the Hat) Seussical G. W. Carver Magnet High School: Alric Davis (Harpo) The Color Purple High School for the Performing and Visual Arts: Wesley Whitson (Vernon Hines) The Pajama Game Pasadena Memorial High School: Alexis Vargas (Cornelius Hackl) Hello Dolly! Pearland High School: Nathan Agnew (Billis) South Pacific Second Baptist School: Ethan Hackett (Chip) On the Town St. John's School: Sam Burkett (Bill Calhoun) Kiss Me, Kate Stratford High School: McGregor Dalton (Bela Zangler) Crazy for You Best Supporting Actress Episcopal High School: Hayley Talkington (Jojo) Seussical Friendswood High School: Haley Holtje (Adelaide) Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School: Delaney Williams (Shug) The Color Purple Kinkaid School: Carrie Walker (Velma Kelly) Chicago Klein Collins High School: Miriam Richard (Paulette) Legally Blonde Klein Oak High School: Sarah Holevinski (Johanna) Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pasadena Memorial High School: Jaclyn Hernandez (Irene Malloy) Hello Dolly! St. Agnes Academy: Madeline Garvis (Paulette) Legally Blonde Woodlands High School: Devin Cherry (Ado Annie) Oklahoma! Best Featured Performer Clear Springs High School: Stephen Louis (Christopher Belling) Curtains Friendswood High School: Nathan Stevens (Arvide Abernathy) Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School: Sydney Malone (Sophia) The Color Purple James E. Taylor High School: Connor Woods (Gen. Genghis Kahn Schmitz) Seussical John Cooper School: Amelia Eskridge (Ursula Merkle) Bye Bye Birdie Klein Forest High School: Austen Smith (Mitch Mahoney) 25th Annual...Spelling Bee Klein Oak High School: Alec Michael Ryan (Judge Turpin) Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School: Matt Galindo and Marcus Lonardo (StewPot and Professor) South Pacific Second Baptist School: Bailey Wilkerson (Flossie) On the Town St. John's School: Spencer Lepow and Rohan Ramchand (First Man & Second Man) Kiss Me, Kate Stratford High School: Caitlin Ehlinger (Patsy) Crazy for You Woodlands High School: Elizabeth Kaplin (Dream Laurey) Oklahoma!

Best Direction Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Magnolia West High School, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town Spring Woods High School, Children of Eden Stratford High School, Crazy for You Best Choreography Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress Cypress Falls High School, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Episcopal High School, Seussical Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple James E. Taylor High School, Seussical John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Kinkaid School, Chicago Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town St. John's School, Kiss Me, Kate Best Musical Direction Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple Houston Christian High School, The Wizard of Oz High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, The Pajama Game John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town Stratford High School, Crazy for You Best Orchestra Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple George Ranch High School, Footloose High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, The Pajama Game James E. Taylor High School, Seussical Katy High School, Joseph.....Dreamcoat Klein Forest High School, 25th Annual...Spelling Bee Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Magnolia West High School, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Pasadena Memorial High School, Hello Dolly! Sam Rayburn High School, Grease Seven Lakes High School, The Drowsy Chaperone Texas City High School, Footloose Woodlands High School, Oklahoma!

Best Scenic Design Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical James E. Taylor High School, Seussical John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Katy High School, Joseph...Dreamcoat Kingwood High School, How to Succeed... Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Northland Christian School, Seussical Second Baptist School, On the Town Spring Woods High School, Children of Eden

Best Costume Design Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress Episcopal High School, Seussical G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple Houston Christian High School, The Wizard of Oz John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Kingwood High School, How to Succeed... Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Second Baptist School, On the Town Seven Lakes High School, The Drowsy Chaperone St. John's School, Kiss Me, Kate

Best Lighting Design Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical Katy High School, Joseph...Dreamcoat Kingwood High School, How to Succeed... Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Magnolia West High School, You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown Seven Lakes High School, The Drowsy Chaperone Spring Woods High School, Children of Eden St. John's School, Kiss Me, Kate Stratford High School, Crazy for You

Best Crew & Technical Execution Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress Clear Springs High School, Curtains Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Kingwood High School, How to Succeed... Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town Seven Lakes High School, The Drowsy Chaperone St. John's School, Kiss Me, Kate Stratford High School, Crazy for You Woodlands High School, Oklahoma!

Best Ensemble/Chorus Clear Springs High School, Curtains Episcopal High School, Seussical Friendswood High School, Guys and Dolls G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie Klein High School, Into the Woods Klein Oak High School, Sweeney Todd: School Edition Pearland High School, South Pacific Second Baptist School, On the Town Stratford High School, Crazy for You

The Tommy Tune Awards ceremony is open to the general public, and tickets will be available for purchase beginning on April 3. For information call 713-558-2600 or visit www.tuts.com/TTA. VIP tickets, which grant access to a pre-event reception and ensure prime, center orchestra seating, are available for $150. Box seats are available for $100. To purchase VIP tickets, call Development Director Gina Sullivan at 713-558-2655.

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