PHS Theatre Receives 17 Nominations for Jester Awards

PHS Theatre Receives 17 Nominations for Jester Awards
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Music Theatre Wichita officially announced on Monday that Pittsburg High School is among the nominees for the 16th Annual Jester Awards, a program designed to celebrate excellence in high school musical theatre. Each year, trained volunteer judges attend and evaluate dozens of performances. Last year, PHS was nominated for 18 awards, receiving 14 plus a Jester scholarship.

This year, 94 judges viewed 129 performances of 44 productions, involving more than 2,500 students and 38 schools across the state of Kansas. The program began in Wichita, but now extends as far as Liberal, Hays, Salina, and Pittsburg, in addition to the greater Wichita area.

In total, PHS received 17 Jester nominations this year. They are:

Overall Production (Seussical), Direction of Show (Greg Shaw/Seussical) Leading Actress (McKenna Shaw as Gertrude McFuzz/Seussical) Leading Actor (Andrew Ortolani as Gomez Addams/Addams Family and Sammy Jameson as Horton/Seussical) Supporting Actress (McKenna Shaw as Wednesday Addams/Addams Family) Instrumental Performer (Zach Uttley for Ukulele serenade/Addams Family) Ensemble/Chorus (Seussical) Small Ensemble (The Wickershams: Gabe Abarca, Matt Buck, Griffin Cooper, Maddy Emerson, Chance Estes, Jazmin Havens, Journey Jaramillo, PJ Monsour, Dominic Stefanoni/Seussical) Orchesetra (Cooper Neil/Seussical) Vocal Music Direction (Susan Laushman/Seussical) Choreography/Staging (Maggie Stephens and Molly Stephens/Seussical) Stage Crew (Addams Family) Scenic Design (Addams Family) Costumes (Todd Hoover-Holthus and Philip Hoover-Holthus/Seussical) Lighting (Kirsten Burke and Olivia Ellison/Seussical) Sound (Jason Huffman, Miranda Madden, Kaity Rhea/Seussical)

“It’s great to be able to direct students with this caliber of talent and to have them nominated in so many categories,” Pittsburg High School Theatre teacher Greg Shaw said. “It is also rewarding for our program to be able to see what other schools are doing and celebrate with them their nominations and awards.”

The Jester Awards Ceremony will take place at the Orpheum Theatre in Wichita on Friday, May 12, at 7 p.m. Honorees in 24 categories will be announced during the ceremony, and several of the honorees will perform numbers from their shows, including Pittsburg High School. One leading male honoree and one leading female honoree will receive a scholarship award of $2,500, and one student will receive a scholarship for their achievements in technical theatre.

“The Jester Awards program has become one of the most gratifying aspects of Music Theatre Wichita,” said Producing Artistic Director Wayne Bryan. “The dedication of these students and teachers is a vibrant reminder of the how powerful the arts can be in opening minds, unlocking potential, and enriching a community.”