In partnership with The Fabulous Fox, The Muny and The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation, the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards announced today the shift from in-person celebrations to virtual for their 2019-2020 season. 

The new date for this year’s medallion ceremony, also known as the nomination ceremony, will be April 28, 2020 with the awards ceremony slated for May 24, 2020. Both streamed live online at no charge, these virtual celebrations will honor each of the 42 participating schools in the 2019-2020 season, including the schools who were unable to produce their productions due to the unprecedented circumstances associated with COVID-19. Exact times and streaming information will be released at a later date. 

The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards are proudly sponsored by Carol B. Loeb. KTVI FOX2 and KPLR 11 are the proud media sponsors of the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards. For more information about the St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards and this year’s virtual celebrations, please visit slhsmta.org

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About The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards
The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards (SLHSMTA) are produced by The Fabulous Fox, The Muny and The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation. This program is designed to celebrate outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre. Participating schools will have their productions evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals. The year-long adjudication process culminates in an awards ceremony modeled on the Tony Awards®. 

The Third Annual St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards winners were announced Sunday, June 2 at the Fabulous Fox Theatre.

The ceremony was hosted by KTVI Fox 2’s Mandy Murphey and directed by Tony Parise.

The winners were named in 14 categories (plus WOW! Performance Awards and Special Recognition Awards) including the Outstanding Lead Actress and the Outstanding Lead Actor who will go on to compete in the Jimmy Awards/National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Monday, June 24 at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City, presented by The Broadway League Foundation.

The pair going on to The Jimmy Awards were in Cor Jesu Academy’s “42nd Street” — Anna Gassett, who played Peggy Sawyer, and Michael Harp, who played Billy Lawlor. Anna is a recent graduate of Cor Jesu who plans to major in musical theatre at Texas State University. Michael will be a senior at Althoff Catholic High School in Belleville. He lives in Swansea.

Outstanding Lead Actress:

Anna
Gassett | Cor Jesu Academy

Outstanding Musical – Level 1
Budget:

Timberland High School, The Addams Family

Outstanding Supporting Actress:

Abi Mirikitani | Lafayette High
School

Outstanding Musical Direction:

Cor Jesu Academy

Outstanding Ensemble:

Westminster Christian Academy

Outstanding Choreography:

Kirkwood High School

Outstanding Technical Execution:

Cor Jesu Academy

Outstanding Lead Actor:

Michael Harp | Cor Jesu Academy

Outstanding Musical – Level 2
Budget:

Westminster Christian Academy, Meet Me In St. Louis

Outstanding Supporting Actor:

Kyle Rehme | Timberland High School

Outstanding Direction:

Chaminade College Prep

Outstanding Scenic Design &
Execution:

Central Visual and Performing Arts

Outstanding Costume Design &
Execution:

Timberland High School

Outstanding Orchestra:

Kirkwood
High School

Special Recognition Awards and
WOW! Performance Awards for outstanding work in support of the production were
also given out.

The Extra Mile:                                                                          Behind the Curtain:                                                                                                                       
                                                  

St.
Dominic High School, Les Misérables                                  Lindbergh
High School, Legally Blonde

Westminster
Christian Academy, Meet Me In St. Louis

Spirit of Theatre:                                                                                                                                                                             Union High School, Big Fish   

WOW! Moment:

Awarded for an outstanding performance in a
role not eligible for a nomination.

Ethan Budge | Rockwood Summit                                               
Brooke Hance | First Baptist Academy

Grant Morgan | Jerseyville
Community High School                  Hannah Wozniak | Lafayette High School

About
The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards

The St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards (SLHSMTA) are produced by The Fabulous Fox, The Muny and The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation. This program is designed to celebrate outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre. Participating schools will have their productions evaluated by a panel of theatre professionals.

The year-long adjudication process culminates in an awards ceremony modeled on the Tony Awards©. The winners of the Outstanding Actress and Outstanding Actor categories will travel to New York (all expenses paid) to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (Jimmy Awards©) program and to participate in a week-long professional development experience

About
The Jimmy Awards® / National
High School Musical Theatre Awards®

The Jimmy Awards®/The National High School Musical
Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®) program impacts more than 100,000 students who
participate in high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters
of Touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. Presented by the
Broadway League Foundation, the program sends a Best Actress and Best Actor
winner from each of these competitions to New York for a week-long theatre
intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation
for a one-night-only talent showcase on Broadway. Named for Broadway impresario
James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than
$2,000,000 in educational scholarships. The eleventh annual Jimmy Awards will
take place on Monday, June 24, 2019 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.
Coaching and rehearsals for this one-of-a-kind event will be held Monday, June
17, 2019 through Monday, June 24, 2019 in New York City. For more information,
please visit www.JimmyAwards.com.

About The
Thomas A. Kooyumjian Foundation

The Thomas A. Kooyumjian Foundation is a not-for-profit
corporation organized and operated exclusively for charitable purposes and in
particular to preserve Armenian Culture of Americans of Armenian descent and support
other educational and charitable organizations.

*pronounced [coo-YUM-jun]

By Lynn Venhaus
Managing Editor
RISING STARS: Seeing talented teenagers passionately follow their dreams is such a thrill. The Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation is ahead of the game, for it fosters, promotes, and encourages young people in the St. Louis region to discover and participate in the joy and wonder of live performances.
Besides the St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, the Fox Performing Arts Charitable Foundation also produces a variety of other performing arts programs that focus on youth including Kids’ Night at the Fabulous Fox, Broadway Master Classes, Educational Encores, and is a producing partner of the 2nd Annual St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards.
This Sunday, they are sponsoring a free event that will feature 25 entertainment acts, including finalists from the 8th Annual St. Louis Teen Talent Competition and nomineees from the 2nd Annual St. Louis High School Musical Theatre Awards:

The High Schooll Musical Theatre Awards representatives include: Outstanding Lead Actress winner Maggie Kuntz and nominees Paige Terch. Meg Gorton and  Sydney Jones
Outstanding Lead Actor nominees Tony Merritt and Jared Goudsmit.
Outstanding Supporting Actress nominees Annelise Laakko, Natalie Brown and Haley Driver.
The Teen Talent Showcase representatives include pianists John Yanev and Robyne Sieh, singers Morgan Taylor, Josh Royal, Bennett English and Jennifer Ferry; dancers Arielle Adams, De’Jai Walker, Madison Alexander, Megan Mayer, Brooke Reese, Hillary Zgonina, Kelsey Carnes and DessaRae Lampkins; alto sax player Kameron Huff and TBD (Lilliana Matthews, Aaron Moore, Everett Remstedt, Allan Stacy and Jalen Thompson.
The Rising Stars Showcase featuring the Stars of Tomorrow will take place on Sunday, Aug. 5, at 2 p.m. at The Sheldon Concert Hall, 3648 Washington Blvd., St. Louis. Admission is free and it is open to the public. For more information, visit: www.foxpacf.org.
 
Photo Maggie Kuntz, Dolly Levi in Cor Jesu’s “Hello,Dolly!” She went on to compete in the National Jimmy Awards.
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EXPLORE ST. LOUIS:  St. Louis will be rolling out the red carpet when throngs come to the city for the 100th PGA Championship Aug. 6 – 12 at the Bellerive Country Club.
Have you seen the four commercials that award-winning actor and St. Louis native Sterling K. Brown has done for the St. Louis Visitors and Convention Bureau? The 30-second segments are “Arch,” “Blues,” “Family Fun” and “Neighborhoods.”

Local actor, playwright and theater booster Stephen Peirick played Merriwether to Matt Lindhardt’s Lewis in the “Arch” commercial. He said Sterling was kind and introduced himself before they started working on the spot.
If you want to see the commercials or find out more about what’s happening here in August, check out www.explorestl.com.
 
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GO SEE A PLAY POLL: Meet at the Muny for “Meet Me in St. Louis,” the finale of the Muny’s Centennial Season! Those who send in their choice in the poll will be placed in a drawing for two tickets to any performance of “Meet Me in St. Louis” from Aug. 4 – 12 at the Muny in Forest Park.
“Meet Me in St. Louis” was a 1944 MGM movie before it was adapted as a stage musical in 1989, although the Muny presented it before that.in the 1960s and ’70s.
This 2018 production will feature a revised book by Gordon Greenberg and new orchestrations by John McDaniel is the first since 2009, and the eighth overall.
McDaniel, a Grammy, Tony and Emmy-winning producer, composer, conductor and pianist is from St. Louis. He was Rosie O’Donnell’s talk show bandleader from 1996 to 2002, and has worked with the Muny before, on the 2012 “Pirates!”
Poll Question for Ticket Drawing: What is your favorite movie that either takes place in St. Louis or was shot in St. Louis?
“The Game of Their Lives”“The Great St. Louis Bank Robbery”“King of the Hill”“Meet Me in St. Louis”“Up in the Air”“White Palace”
Send your selection by email to: [email protected] by 10 p.m. Friday, Aug. 3. Please include your phone number. The winner will be notified, and arrangements will be made with the Muny for the night you choose.
Our July 28 poll winner was Robert Kapeller of St. Louis. He won two tickets to “Evita” at The Rep on Sept. 7. As for the favorite girlfriends musical, “Wicked” won in a landslide.
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DOWN MEMORY LANE: The first time I saw the movie “Meet Me in St. Louis” was at a free showing at the downtown Famous Barr department store the summer of 1974. They had special events and exhibits in honor of the 70th anniversary of the World’s Fair in St. Louis and showed the movie for free in their ninth floor exhibition hall. (That’s what was transformed into the holiday world extravaganza at Christmastime.) At the movie, they sold specially-priced iced tea and hot dogs, two refreshments who made their debut in 1904.
Sally Benson’s “Kensington Stories” was the basis for the movie, and her family lived at 5135 Kensington in north St. Louis city. The house is long-gone but this is what it once looked like, pictured at left.
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TRIVIA TIME-OUT: Forty years ago, the first National Lampoon movie, “Animal House” premiered. This groundbreaking movie first shown on July 28, 1978 spawned many knockoffs and launched the careers of many young stars, including the first film by SNL breakthrough John Belushi. (And is very helpful in the “Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon” game).
Question: Who are the two people associated with the movie that have a local connection?
Answer: Writer Harold Ramis attended Washington University, Class of 1966, and used his college days as a member of Zeta Beta Tau for inspiration. He would go on to fame as a writer, actor (“Ghostbusters”) and director (“Groundhog Day”), and returned to his roots here. He served two terms on the Washington University board of trustees and was master of ceremonies for Homecoming in 1984. Here is a 1979 photo of him back in a Wash U frathouse.

Karen Allen, who played Katy, was born in Carrollton, Ill. Her mother was from Jerseyville and her father from Roodhouse, and she spent summers visiting her grandparents in Jersey County after his FBI work took them to other cities for her first 10 years. Her father went to Washington University after her parents married; they met at Illinois College in Jacksonville.
I interviewed the delightful and very active Allen two years ago when she was being honored by the St. Louis International Film Festival. She said she enjoys seeing cast members at film reunion events.

At left she is shown with Peter Riegert. “Animal House” was her first movie.
To read more about her life, here is my feature in the Belleville News-Democrat. https://www.bnd.com/living/magazine/article114225998.html
***WORD: Wise advice from the late great screenwriter, actor and director Harold Ramis:
“There’s a great rabbinical motto that says you start each day with a note in each pocket. One note says, “The world was created for you today,” and the other note says, “I’m a speck of dust in a meaningless universe,” and you have to balance both things.”
“No one will laugh at how great things are for somebody.”
“My only conclusion about structure is that nothing works if you don’t have interesting characters and a good story to tell.”
― Harold Ramis (1944 – 2014)
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WINNERS CIRCLE: Cinema St. Louis handed out awards for the St. Louis Filmmakers Showcase on July 22. This year’s event featured 107 films, and some advanced to the 27th annual St. Louis International Film Festival Nov. 1 – 11. These are the juried award winners that were written, directed, edited, or produced by St. Louis residents or films with strong local ties.
DOCUMENTARIES
Best Use of Music: Busking on the Wagon, Randy Shinn and Drew Gowran
Best Sound: Such and Such, Cory Byers
Best Editing: Gateway Sound, Justin Fisher and Patrick Lawrence
Best Cinematography: Lingua Francas, David Christopher Pitt
Best Local Subject: The Man Behind the Merferds, Phil Berwick
Best Direction: Lisa Boyd, An American Tragedy
Best Documentary Short: For a Better Life, Yasmin Mistry
Best Documentary Feature: Gateway Sound, Justin Fisher
EXPERIMENTAL
Best Experimental Film: Passages in Revisiting: I Hear Someone Playing Urheen, Xinyue Deng
NARRATIVES
Best Costumes: Shutter, Nancy Eppert and Maude Vintage
Best Makeup/Hairstyling: East Plains: Get Out!, Jessica Dana
Best Use of Music: The Wedding Song, Ben Stanton, Thia Schuessler and Will Dickerson
Best Sound: Strings, Ross Mercer, Ryan Kneezle and Theo Lodato
Best Production Design/Art Direction: Parallel Chords, Gypsi Pate
Best Special/Visual Effects: Dawn of Man, Vlad Sarkisov
Best Editing: MLM, Benjamin Dewhurst
Best Cinematography: Parallel Chords, Kyle Krupinksi
Best Screenplay: Foxes, Tristan Taylor and Garrick BernardBest Actor: Ayinde Howell, Foxes
Best Actress: Jackie Kelly, Mother of Calamity
Best Direction: Richard Louis Ulrich, Steve
Best Animated Film: Tiffanys, Caitlin Chiusano, Sean Esser and Zhara Honore
Best Comedy: Cabin Killer, Michael Rich
Best Drama: Saint Sinner, Brian Cooksey
Best Narrative Short: Foxes, Tristan Taylor
Best Narrative Feature: Parallel Chords, Catherine Dudley-Rose
To see the list of films selected for SLIFF, visit www.cinemastlouis.org
Pictured are Best Actor Aynde Howell of “Foxes” and Best Actress Jackie Kelly of “Mother of Calamity” on the Showcase program.
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Have any tidbits for the column? Please contact Lynn Venhaus at: [email protected]
Featured photo of ‘Meet Me in St. Louis” from Tams-Witmark. Harold Ramis photos from Washington University archives.