Some of Iowa’s most promising singers, actors and dancers will be onstage in Des Moines next week both to perform and to collect accolades for their efforts.
The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase will recognize more than 400 students from 30 Iowa schools.
Eric Olmscheid, director of programming and education at Des Moines Performing Arts, says this is like the Tony Awards for Iowa high school musical performers.
“We have multiple schools being recognized for Outstanding Musical Production,” Olmscheid says. “We have many leads being recognized for Outstanding Leading Role and likewise for Supporting Role and Featured Dancers. We didn’t want one school that may have more resources or a bigger program to dominate over another school but rather for everyone to find success and to be celebrated for their achievements.”
Representatives were sent to each high school’s musical productions during the past school year to seek out the best of the best, and the showcase will feature the top soloists, duets, quartets and full-cast ensembles.
“We’ve seen this grow over time,” Olmscheid says. “This is our third year of the program. The first year we had nine schools, we grew to 17 schools last year and 30 schools this year. We continue to grow the radius within the state. It’s our goal that within five years, we can have this program to be statewide.”
Maybe one in ten high school performers will go on to seek the spotlight as a profession, but Olmscheid says this program isn’t about identifying the next Broadway star.
“For many students, the end of their high school career is the last time they’re going to step on a stage,” he says. “We wanted to find a way to honor that, appreciate that and really look at this as an arts education opportunity. This is far greater than just learning how to be a better actor, singer or dancer on stage, but really a part of something bigger.”
As the number of schools has grown, so has the audience, and Olmscheid says ticket sales are brisk and could sell-out. The showcase is scheduled for Monday night (June 1st) at the Civic Center of Des Moines.
Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards — 2014-2015 participating productions and schools:
URINETOWN, Ankeny Centennial High School
SONGS FOR A NEW WORLD, Bondurant-Farrar High School
LEGALLY BLONDE THE MUSICAL, Boone High School
THE MUSIC MAN, Carlisle High School
THE WIZARD OF OZ, Centerville High School
MARY POPPINS, City High School (Iowa City)
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Dallas Center-Grimes High School
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING, Dowling Catholic High School (WestDes Moines)
ANNIE, East High School (Des Moines)
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Forest City High School
WEST SIDE STORY, George Washington High School (Cedar Rapids)
THE MUSIC MAN, Grand View Christian School (Des Moines)
THE MUSIC MAN, Hampton-Dumont High School
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND, Hoover High School (Des Moines)
DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Hudson High School
GUYS AND DOLLS, Indianola High School
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT, John F. Kennedy High School (Cedar Rapids)
CHICAGO, Lincoln High School (Des Moines)
FOOTLOOSE, Mount Vernon High School
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Nevada High School (Alleman)
THE ADDAMS FAMILY, North High School
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, North Polk High School
THE SCARLET PIMPERNEL, Pella Christian High School
DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Perry High School
HAIRSPRAY, Roosevelt High School (Des Moines)
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Union High School (La Porte City)
CAROUSEL, Urbandale High School
THE WIZARD OF OZ, Valley High School (West Des Moines)
DISNEY’S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Waukee High School
GREASE, Williamsburg High School