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Entertainment
Theatre Under the Stars
News Release
Friday, April 21, 2017

HOUSTON – Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) is excited to announce the winners of the 15th annual Tommy Tune Awards!  

Hosting the awards show this year was local actor and a favorite of Houston audiences, Dylan Godwin.  He was joined on stage a number of times by the always-entertaining special guests Snoopy and Woodstock. In celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Tommy Tune Awards, this year’s awards show took a look at the past, present and future of the Tommy Tune Awards. The night included appearances by two past Tommy Tune Award winners,  Stephanie Gibson and Stephanie Styles, who both appeared via video; as well as two-time Tony Award winner, Jeff Calhoun, who presented the award for Best Musical also via video.  

One particularly special moment took place during the opening of the show when students from HISD’s Crespo Elementary appeared on stage to highlight the future of the Tommy Tune Awards as they performed “Hooray for Our Favorite Son” from The Will Rogers Follies along with another Houston favorite, Logan Keslar, the Best Lead and Supporting Actor and Actress nominees.

Presenters for the evening included Jose Antonio Diaz, Kaitlin Hopkins, Dr. Rob Shimko, Amy Pierce, Brad Blume, Lauren Anderson, Kevin Rigdon, Cissy Segal Davis, Muhammad Yunus, Tom Koch, Ernie Manouse, Hillary Hart, Jim Bernhardt, Michael Tapley, Debs Ramser, Mark Grady and Logan Keslar.

The winners of the 15th Annual Tommy Tune Awards are:

Best Musical:

The Boy Friend    Second Baptist School

Best Leading Actor:

Ian Tonroy from Klein High School as Sweeney Todd in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Leading Actress:

Jasmine Rogers from Stephen F. Austin High School as The Witch in Into the Woods

Best Supporting Actor:

William Chambers from Second Baptist School as Lord Brockhurst in The Boy Friend

Best Supporting Actress:

Divina Ito from Westfield High School as Evillene in The Wiz

Best Featured Performer:

Ryan Esparza from Klein High School as Adolfo Pirelli in Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street   

Best Ensemble/Chorus:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Scenic Design:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Costume Design:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

Best Lighting Design:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution:

Clear Springs High School        Big Fish

Best Musical Direction:

Friendswood High School        Les Miserables, School Edition

Best Orchestra:

Klein High School            Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Best Choreography:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

Best Direction:

Second Baptist School        The Boy Friend

The 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 George W. Bush. Tune is currently taking an autobiographical stroll in Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales where he dances, sings and tale-tells through more than 50 years of showmanship.

Scholarships

TUTS’ Tommy Tune Awards are designed not only to acknowledge remarkable musical theatre talent at the high school level, but also to encourage future artistic development.   In addition to the awards, TUTS also gives out scholarships annually to a number of deserving students. These include the Ruth Denney Scholarship, named in honor of Tune’s mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Ruth Denney was the founder and first director of the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Houston and then Professor of Drama Education at the University of Texas at Austin.  She died in 2007, just a few days before her 93rd birthday.  

Students under consideration for scholarships were required to meet specific criteria set out by the Scholarship Committee, and were also required to submit an application and an essay.  The scholarship committee, composed of TUTS board members, has carefully reviewed all of the applications and will announce the scholarship recipients during the awards ceremony.

This year, TUTS is adding a new scholarship created in memory of Sean Rudolph, who was a successful business owner in Houston, a devoted patron of the arts and a Broadway producer.  Over the past 14 years, TUTS has awarded 115 college scholarships totaling $316,000 to Tommy Tune students.  

This year’s scholarship recipients are as follows.

Recipients of $1,000 Scholarships:

Karoline Thomas
Kendall Swendsen
Kathleen (Katie) Sharp
Evan Rosen
Madison Eden
Alex Rudd
Kayla Johnson
Chance Jarvis

Recipients of $3,000 Scholarship:

Kerry Sullivan
Ian Tonroy
Brendan Morrow
Grace Nardecchia
Austin Karkowsky
Emma Singleton 

Recipients of $5,000 Ruth Denney Scholarship:

Elizabeth “Brock” Looser 

Recipients of $5,000 Sean Rudolph Scholarship:

Ryan Simon 

Jimmy™ Awards

The Best Leading Actor and Actress will go on to compete at the national level for the Jimmy™ Award at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. Established in 2009, the Jimmy™ Awards are named after Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander.  This year, the program will bring the country’s best high school performers together to compete on Broadway on June 26.  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™ Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented. 

Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital is the official healthcare partner of Theatre Under The Stars and the Humphrey’s School of Musical Theatre; and the official sponsor of the 2016/17 Season. United Airlines is the official airline partner of Theatre Under The Stars. KTRK ABC13 is the official media partner of Theatre Under The Stars.  The Tommy Tune Awards are sponsored by the generous support of ConocoPhillips, The Brown Foundation, Inc., the Vivian L. Smith Foundation, Tricia and Alan Ratliff, David and Marsha Taylor, and the Sean Rudolph Scholarship Fund. 

To learn more about TUTS’ Education and Community Engagement programs, visit TUTS.com/EDU. 

Theatre Under The Stars is Houston’s leading Musical Theatre Company since 1968, with a focus on education and community engagement. TUTS is a 501(c)(3) Non Profit Organization that relies on the generous support of our donors to deliver first-rate theatre experiences. For more information and to purchase tickets, please visit www.tuts.com. For more information, please visit www.tuts.com.

 

Founded in 1972, the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre (HSMT), the nationally-recognized educational wing of Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS), offers the only technique-based musical theatre training program in the Houston area.  HSMT educates and develops musical theatre students of all ages and is fully committed to providing our community with the very best in performing arts education.  Focusing on the principle of process over product, students learn the fundamentals of musical theater performance through year-round courses, productions, workshops, and master classes, all geared toward equipping students with the tools they need to be successful in musical theatre and in life.  Visit TUTS.com/hsmt for more information!




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