Tommy Tune Award Winners 2020 Announced by TUTS in Streaming Event
Theatre Under the Stars’ annual show celebrated high school musicals with featured student performances and Broadway stars’ surprise appearances including Kristin Chenoweth and Audra McDonald
The annual celebration of high school musical theatre in the Greater Houston area has been hosted at the Hobby Center since 2002, but due to the coronavirus crisis, organizers had to get creative.
“Knowing that it would be impossible to host the live event this year, we didn’t want the participating students to lose out on yet another important milestone in their lives,” said TUTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges. “The show must go on, so our team quickly moved towards creating a virtual experience. With the help of some of Broadway’s biggest names, we provided Houston’s young artists a really special evening.”
The streaming event kicked-off with students showcasing their creativity, retelling their high school’s musical in 30 seconds; followed by an introduction from Taylor Louderman, Tony® nominee for Broadway’s Mean Girls.
“I’m so excited that we’re doing a virtual show for the first time ever,” said Louderman. “It’s super sad that tonight’s ceremony had to be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic that our world is facing, however it’s incredible that all of you can tune in via Facebook and YouTube tonight!”
A program of Theatre Under The Stars, the Tommy Tune Awards recognize and reward excellence in the artistry of musical theatre by high school students and their teachers in the greater Houston metropolitan area.
The winners of the 2020 Tommy Tune Awards are:
Best Musical: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone
Best Leading Actress: Jocelyn Dorsey from G.W. Carver Magnet High School as “Deloris Van Carter” in Sister Act
Best Leading Actor: Eric Jensen from Friendswood High School as “Miss Trunchbull” in Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical
Best Supporting Actress: Cami Moses from Kinder HSPVA as “Sofia” in The Color Purple
Best Supporting Actor: Luke Centanni from Stratford High School as “Aldolpho” in The Drowsy Chaperone
Best Featured Performer: Tomi Akinwande, Alexandria Collins and Keri Palmer from Kinder HSPVA as “The Trio (Doris, Darlene & Jarene)” in The Color Purple
Best Ensemble: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone
Best Scenic Design: Spring High School, Aida (featured photo)
Best Costume Design: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone
Best Lighting Design: Spring High School, Aida
Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution: Houston Christian High School, Crazy For You
Best Musical Direction: G.W. Carver Magnet High School, Sister Act
Best Orchestra: Klein Cain High School, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Best Choreography: Kinder HSPVA, The Color Purple and The Emery/Weiner, Head Over Heels
Best Direction: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone and G.W. Carver Magnet High School, Sister Act
Presenters and special guests for the awards show included Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award®-winner for You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Wicked, “Glee”), Audra McDonald (six-time Tony Award-winner best known for her starring role in Ragtime), Rob McClure (Mrs. Doubtfire, Beetlejuice), Laura Osnes (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, South Pacific, Bonnie & Clyde), Diane Paulus (Tony Award-winning director of Jagged Little Pill, Waitress), Andy Blankenbuehler (three-time Tony Award-winner for Hamilton, Bandstand, In the Heights), Adrienne Warren (TINA, Shuffle Along), Jeanine Tesori (Tony Award-Winning composer of Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Carolee Camello (three-time Tony Award nominee for Parade, Lestat, and Scandalous), Orfeh and Andy Karl (Pretty Woman, Legally Blonde: The Musical), Alex Newell (NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Once On This Island, “Glee”), Jason Gotay (Bring It On, Freaky Friday), Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodriguez (“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”), Michael James Scott (Disney’s Aladdin, Something Rotten!), Bobby Conte Thornton (Company, A Bronx Tale), and Jason Sherwood (set designer for The Academy Awards®,” “RENT Live”).
Additionally, $44,350 in college scholarships were awarded to 14 students during the Tommy Tune Awards show. The scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in the arts.
The Tommy Tune Awards are named for Broadway legend, Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus Tommy Tune. A performer, director and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President Bush.
Photos courtesy of TUTS