Theater students vie for another Blumey win

Feb. 13, 2014 @ 10:38 AM

The third annual "Blumey" awards will be held in May and as in previous years, several Union County schools will be vying for awards. 

The show is held by the Blumenthal Performing Arts Center in order to honor regional high school theater. The best actor and best actress award winners go on to compete in New York City at the national "Jimmy" awards. 

Union County has performed well in previous years.

In the first awards ceremony Taylor Neal, a Cuthbertson student, won best actress for her portrayal of Belle in Beauty and the Beast. She went on to compete at the national awards. Cuthbertson also received the Blumey for best costume creation for Beauty and the Beast. 

In 2013, TJ Schmidt from Central Academy of Technology and Arts, won best supporting actor for his portrayal of Igor in Young Frankenstein. Central Academy's production of Young Frankenstein also won best overall direction, best costume creation and best hair and makeup design. 

At this year's ceremonies, awards will be given for best musical, best actor, best actress, best supporting actor, best supporting actress, best featured performer, best ensemble/chorus, best student orchestra, best choreography execution, best overall direction, best costume creation, best set construction and The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award.

The Charlotte Observer Student Critic Award is sponsored by The Charlotte Observer. This year, 12 students were selected out of about 23. The students will work as theater critics and write reviews for the newspaper of the school's performances. One of the writers will receive the student critic award. 

Four of the student writers competing are from Union County Public Schools–Colton Carmichael from Weddington High School, Madison Lorello from Parkwood High School, Mary Alex Staude from Weddington High School and Grace Wallace from Central Academy of Technology and Arts. 

In addition, two scholarships will be awarded to students, thanks to funding from the Mary Doctor Performing Arts Scholarship Fund. Directors from each school can nominate up to two students from their production, onstage or backstage. 

The judges consist of arts professionals and supporters, who receive training prior to judging shows. According to the Blumenthal Center, scoring will be based on each school's "unique resources and challenges." Awards criteria emphasize student achievement, not size or elaborateness of production.

There are 40 high schools–public, private and charter–competing in this year's Blumey Awards.

From Union County, CATA will be competing with their production of Pippin, Cuthbertson High School will be competing with their production of Shrek: The Musical, Marvin Ridge High School will compete with Barnum, Parkwood High School will compete with You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown, Sun Valley High School will compete with The Drowsy Chaperone and Weddington High School will compete with a production of The Sound of Music.

“We are thrilled to see such a positive response to the third year of this program,” Education Director Ralph Beck said in a statement. “Thirty-two area high schools registered on the first day, which is an amazing response and says something about how local theater teachers, schools and students have embraced this opportunity. The strong response continues a pattern of growth seen since the first year of the program, when 20 schools participated."

The high schools will perform in March and April and the Blumeys will be held May 18 at the Belk Theater. Best production, best actor and best actress nominees are given a chance to perform on the stage at the Belk.