From June 26-July 1, 62 teenagers — who hailed from 31 regions across the United States — prepared for the 2013 National High School Musical Theater Awards, which took place at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre hosted by 2013 Tony Award nominees Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.
Throughout the week students met with seasoned Broadway performers and creative artists, attended vocal coachings and rehearsals to stage this year's ceremony, where they performed and represented musical theatre competitions (where they were previously presented with an award for their performance in their high school production) sponsored by professional theatre organizations in cities across America. A panel of judges determined the recipients of the Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress awards.
Benton Felty and Emily Homburger represented the Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards in Hershey, PA, for their respective performances as Freddy in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Annie Oakley in Annie Get Your Gun.
Felty and Homburger's exclusive blog takes readers behind the scenes and into the rehearsal rooms. Click here for the first blog from Felty and Homburger from June 26-27. Click here for Felty's June 30 blog.
Benton Felty: July 1
Wow! All I can say is "wow." I just lived my dream of performing on Broadway. Now all I want to do is perform some more!
When I hit the stage with all of my castmates, my legs couldn't stop wobbling, and I knew that the stage was where I belonged. The big night was phenomenal and incredibly euphoric. Not only did the opening and closing numbers go without fault, but the medley I performed in provoked this response from Jimmy Awards host Santino Fontana: "Those singers must be on steroids! Those songs were in the original key!"
I could never be more proud. I hit all my notes flawlessly, and that B-flat in my song from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels was the purest note I ever produced. I want to perform again… I have to!
In the end, no one from my medley was a finalist, but the amazing performers who took it all, Taylor Varga and Sarah Lynn Marion, deserved every bit of their prize.
If I had the chance to do it all again I would, because it was the most fun I have ever had in my life.
Emily Homburger: July 1
This could pass for the greatest night of my entire life. Hitting that stage with my new family was amazing, and hearing how loud the audience roared was unbelievable.
Being on that stage was a moment that I will never forget. Getting that feeling of knowing this was where I belonged made all of this process worthwhile.
My medley was an absolute blast. When it came time for the closing number, I was already crying…and once we left the stage for good, the tears just kept on coming.
It honestly breaks my heart knowing I might never see these people again. They have become such a huge part of my life. I can never imagine my life being the same without them.