The 2013 Tommy Tune Awards winners have been announced! To a crowd of more than 2,500 people, Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) declared the winners of TUTS’ eleventh annual Tommy Tune Awards on the evening of Tuesday, April 16, at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. Adding extra excitement to the evening, the award ceremony’s namesake and nine-time Tony Award winner Tommy Tune made a special appearance to kick off the show and to present the night’s top honor.
“The talent present in the high school musical theatre level impresses me more each year of the Tommy Tune Awards. The students from across our city are producing some truly amazing pieces of theatre, and TUTS could not be more proud to host this awards program to give a platform for these students and their work,” said John Breckenridge, TUTS President and CEO.
Developed by TUTS, the Tommy Tune Awards honor musical theatre excellence at the high school level. After reviewing and evaluating the 45 participating Houston-area high school productions during the 2012-13 school year, a team of 29 Houston-based theatre professionals made 163 nominations in 15 categories. The winners are as follows:
In addition to the Tony-awards-style ceremony, the evening featured many noteworthy performances. Tommy Tune kicked off the show with an “Applause, Applause” medley along with the all the nominees for Best Leading Actor and Actress as well as Best Supporting Actor and Actress. Other memorable acts included performances from nominees in the Best Musical category, a musical medley with this year’s Best Leading Actor and Best Leading Actress nominees, and a grand finale including two students from each participating school.
Co-hosts for the award ceremony include Jim Bernhard and Sarah Pepper. Bernhard has written several original productions that have debuted at TUTS and authored the theatrical history Stars in Your Eyes. Pepper is the morning host of The Hot Show on HOT 95.7 FM. Presenters this year included Carrie Adamian, who appeared in several TUTS shows including TUTS’ first ever production of Annie as the title character. Among the other notable presenters were TUTS Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin, Miller Outdoor Theatre’s Managing Director Cissy Segall Davis, KUHT’s Ernie Manouse, NPR’s The Front Row’s St. John Flynn, ABC 13’s Bob Slovak, Broadway veteran and TUTS’ Humphreys School of Musical Theatre graduate Michelle DeJean and TUTS Scholarship Committee Chairperson Amy Pierce.
TUTS’ Tommy Tune Awards are designed not only to acknowledge remarkable musical theatre talent at the high school level, but also to encourage future development. TUTS presented ten scholarships to outstanding participating students of the Tommy Tune Awards including the Ruth Denney Scholarship, named in honor of Tune’s mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Students under consideration were required to meet specific criteria set out by the Scholarship Committee, as well as submit an application and essay. The winners include Alric Davis (G. W. Carver Magnet High School), Camila Devereux (The Woodlands High School), Madison Goeringer (The Kinkaid School), Jennifer Laporte (Episcopal High School), Amanda Melvin (James E. Taylor High School), Ryne Nardecchia (Klein Oak High School), Katherine Pepin (St. Agnes Academy), Jack Rodgers (Spring Woods High School) and Claire Stephen (Kingwood High School). The prestigious Ruth Denny Award, which carries an increased stipend, was presented to Morgan Starr of Klein Oak High School.
As Best Leading Actor and Actress, Anderson and Nardecchia will go on to compete at the national level for the Jimmy Award at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. Established in 2009, the Jimmy Awards are named after Broadway theater owner and producer, James M. Nederlander. This year, the program will bring the country’s best high school performers together to compete on Broadway at the Minskoff Theatre on Monday, July 1, 2013.
Theatre Under The Stars will cover all expenses for Anderson and Nardecchia to represent TUTS in this week-long national event. While in New York, Jimmy Award participants will have the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and master classes; receive one-on-one coaching from theater professionals; be seen by casting agents; meet and converse with Broadway actors; and compete for scholarships and other prizes. The week’s events will culminate in a live awards show where the Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented.
The Theatre Under The Stars Tommy Tune Awards are named for 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.
Sponsors for the 2013 Tommy Tune Awards include The Brown Foundation, Inc. and ConocoPhillips.
Theatre Under The Stars 2012-13 “A Lot To Love” Season is generously sponsored by St. Luke’s Episcopal Health System. For all of Theatre Under The Stars’ 2012-13 shows, air transportation is provided by United Airlines, the official airline of Theatre Under The Stars. Media sponsors include ABC-13 and Houston Chronicle. Season support is funded in part by grants from the City of Houston through the Theater District Association and the Texas Commission on the Arts.
Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is Houston’s acclaimed nonprofit musical theatre company whose mission is to enrich life through the experience of quality musical theatre and to positively impact lives beyond the stage through innovative education & community engagement programs. Currently TUTS engages more than 200,000 people annually through productions at Sarofim Hall and Zilkha Hall at the Hobby Center and at Miller Outdoor Theatre. TUTS was the first theatrical organization in Houston to perform free to the public when it was founded in 1968 at Miller Outdoor Theatre in Hermann Park and is the only Houston arts organization that has performed there free to the public every year since the theatre opened. Founded by Frank M. Young and currently under the direction of President and CEO John C. Breckenridge and Artistic Director Bruce Lumpkin, TUTS has produced more than 300 musicals including many local, national and world premieres such as Kopit and Yeston’s Phantom, Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, Jekyll & Hyde, and Irving Berlin’s White Christmas as well as critically acclaimed re-inventions of classics Cabaret and Les Miserables. Through its membership in the Independent Presenters Network, TUTS has helped bring Bombay Dreams, 9 to 5, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Spamalot, Legally Blonde, Ragtime, Curtains and The Color Purple to Broadway and ultimately back to Houston audiences.
In support of TUTS’ mission, TUTS’ Education & Community Engagement programs provide instruction and stage experience for more than 48,000 Houstonians annually. The Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT) offers technique-driven classes for all ability levels and ages, ranging from four to adult. Through The River Performing and Visual Arts Center (The River), TUTS provides an accessible and inclusive arts education for individuals of all abilities that will enhance their development into confident, balanced individuals. TUTS Education & Community Engagement provides extended on-site programming as well as off-site programming for children in schools, hospitals and other community-based sites. TUTS’ community partnerships include collaborations with the Houston Independent School District and Region IV school districts, the YMCA of Greater Houston, M.D. Anderson Children’s Cancer Center, Texas Children’s Hospital and Shriner’s Hospital – Houston, among several other Houston-area organizations. TUTS also annually presents the Tommy Tune Awards, honoring the best and brightest in Houston's high school musical theatre programs.