What: The 8th annual Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards
Where: Music Hall at Fair Park
The 411: High school students, parents, friends, arts advocates, celebrities, and city officials from all over North Texas gathered for a junior-size version of Broadway's Tony Awards, where scholarships were the main prize. The DSM HSMTA accepts schools as far away as Lubbock and Oklahoma, along with as new and returning schools from Dallas-Fort Worth. The program has grown to be the largest of its kind in the state of Texas, and one of the largest programs in the nation.
Nominees were chauffeured to the Music Hall by RideCentric and then walked the red carpet while photographers snapped away and media cameras from WFAA Channel 8 streamed live. Emcee Teresa Woodard introduced the opening number, specially arranged to showcase each individual category and accompanied by a live professional orchestra conducted by music director Mark Brymer.
The crowd cheered on their favorite Best Musical nominee performances, while the Best Actor and Best Actress nominees performed medleys choreographed by Penny Ayn Maas.
Awards were presented in 19 categories, and 14 scholarships were awarded to outstanding graduating seniors nominated by their teachers and selected by the DSM scholarship committee. This year's college scholarship program consisted of seven Ambassador Scholarships at $2,000 each, five Theater Major Scholarships (in all areas of theater) at $5,000 each, and two $5,000 scholarships for the winners in the Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress categories.
The Best Musical award went to Grand Prairie Fine Arts Academy's production of Bullets Over Broadway, while Frenship High School's Coby Rogers and Guyer High School's Haley Dortch won Best Actor and Best Actress. Each will receive a $5,000 scholarship and an all-expenses paid trip for five days to New York City to represent their high school in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (the Jimmy Awards) on June 24, hosted by Dear Evan Hansen's Ben Platt.
Broadway performer Hunter Ryan Herdlicka was the recipient of this year's Fullinwider Award for his impact in the Dallas theater community and beyond. Herdlicka is a Dallas native and graduate of Plano West Senior High School. He's best known for his nearly two-year run as Henrik in the Tony Award-winning revival of Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music, opposite Catherine Zeta-Jones and Angela Lansbury, followed by Bernadette Peters and Elaine Stritch.
The show was topped off with a shower of popping streamers and a finale of more than 100 performers made up of students from each participating high school.
Who: Tina Walsh, Glynis Brault, Dallas Summer Musicals president Kenneth T. Novice, and DSM HSMTA director Tracy Jordan.