Houston-area regional theatre Theatre Under the Stars streamed the 2020 Tommy Tune Awards, celebrating local high school musical theatre, on Facebook and YouTube April 28. The annual event is traditionally held at the Hobby Center, but moved online in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"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.”
On hand for special appearances during the ceremony were Taylor Louderman, Kristin Chenoweth, Audra McDonald, Rob McClure, Laura Osnes, Diane Paulus, Andy Blankenbuehler, Adrienne Warren, jeanine Tesori, Carolee Carmello, Orfeh, Andy Karl, Alex Newell, Jason Gotay, Michael James Scott, Bobby Conte Thornton, and Jason Sherwood. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series stars Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodridguez also joined the stream.
Stratford High School was the big winner of the evening, earning the Best Musical award for their production of The Drowsy Chaperone, with G.W. Carver Magnet High School's Jocelyn Dorsey and Friendswood High School's Eric Jensen taking home the honors for Best Leading Actress and Actor, respectively. Take a look at the full list of winners below:
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” inThe Drowsy Chaperone
Best Featured Performer: Tomi Akinwande, Alexandria Collins and Keri Palmer fromKinder 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
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
The evening also awarded $44,350 in college scholarships to 14 graduating seniors with plans to pursue careers in the arts.
Held since 2002, The Tommy Tune Awards are named for Broadway performer and director Tommy Tune, a Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus. Tune has won nine Tony Awards for work on productions of Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel, and The Will Rogers Follies.
Typically, the winning lead performers go on to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, known more commonly as the Jimmy Awards, in New York City; this year's ceremony, however, has been canceled due to the continued shutdowns.