May 23, 2016

Playhouse Square Holds Inaugural Dazzle Awards on May 21; Awards Given in 13 Categories

Cleveland, OH – With the aim of inspiring performance and recognizing the importance of musical theater and arts education in Northeast Ohio high schools, Playhouse Square proudly held its inaugural Dazzle Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 21. The Dazzle Awards are affiliated with the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (“The Jimmy Awards”) presented by The Broadway League Foundation.

This regional program offered arts education opportunities throughout the school year and culminated with an awards showcase staged by Tony-nominated director/choreographer Dan Knechtges and hosted by Natalie Herbick and David Moss of Cleveland’s Own Fox 8. Nearly 80 students performed in fully choreographed opening and closing numbers. Each school nominated in the Connor Family Best Musical categories performed a song from their musical in full make-up and costumes, and the John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor and Actress nominees performed together in medleys.

“It was thrilling to see students from the 19 participating schools perform together on the Connor Palace stage,” said Daniel Hahn, vice president of community engagement and education at Playhouse Square, “and we are so proud to have been able to showcase their incredible talent. I’m looking forward to next year already!”

Dazzle Awards were presented to outstanding musical theater productions and students in 13 categories. The 2016 Dazzle Award nominees (*denotes recipient):

Best Student Orchestra

*Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
Akron School for the Arts, The Little Mermaid
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors
Rocky River High School, Catch Me If You Can
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

Best Scenic Design

*Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
Hawken Upper School, Into the Woods
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors
Open Door Christian School, Cinderella
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

Best Technical Execution

*Hawken Upper School, Into the Woods
Lake Ridge Academy, The Addams Family
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors
Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

Best Costume Design

*Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family
Lake Ridge Academy, The Addams Family
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors
North Royalton High School, Big Fish
Open Door Christian School, Cinderella

Best Choreography Execution

*CMSD All-City Arts Program, Kiss Me Kate
Euclid High School, West Side Story
Rocky River High School, Catch Me If You Can
Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

Best Ensemble/Chorus

*CMSD All-City Arts Program, Kiss Me Kate
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors
Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
Wadsworth High School, Footloose
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Featured Performer

*Joe Antal, Akron School for the Arts (‘Chef Louis’ in The Little Mermaid)
Wyatt Daulbaugh, Akron School for the Arts (‘Grimsby’ in The Little Mermaid)
Adriana Figueroa, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Ronnette’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Bridget Miozzi, Solon High School (‘Dragon’ in Shrek the Musical)
John Suwarna, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Audrey 2’ in Little Shop of Horrors)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Supporting Actress

*Larissa Richards, Wadsworth High School (‘V. Moore’ in Footloose)
Karyn Bellush, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Chiffon’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Sara Phillips, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Crystal’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Da'Jzhanae Smith, CMSD All-City Arts Program (‘Lois/Bianca’ in Kiss Me Kate)
Gracie Thanasiu, Akron School for the Arts (‘Flounder’ in The Little Mermaid)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Supporting Actor

*Shawn Hammel, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Orin DDS’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Ken Ernst, Saint Joseph Academy (‘Mr. Mushnik’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Corbin Gray, Euclid High School (‘Action’ in West Side Story)
Stephan Hall, CMSD All-City Arts Program (‘1st Man’ in Kiss Me Kate)
Erik Taylor, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Mr. Mushnik’ in Little Shop of Horrors)

The Connor Family Best Musical (Tier 1 – Performance Budget Less than $10,000)

*Rocky River High School, Catch Me If You Can
Lake Ridge Academy, The Addams Family
Willoughby South High School, The Addams Family

The Connor Family Best Musical (Tier 2 – Performance Budget Greater than $10,000)

*Solon High School, Shrek the Musical
CMSD All-City Arts Program, Kiss Me Kate
Marion L. Steele High School, Little Shop of Horrors

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress

*Kate Klika, Akron School for the Arts (‘Ariel’ in The Little Mermaid)
Ashley Johnson, Euclid High School (‘Maria’ in West Side Story)
Danielle Stanek, Solon High School (‘Fiona’ in Shrek the Musical)
Danielle Vivcharenko, North Royalton High School (‘Young Sandra’ in Big Fish)
Clairissa Walker, CMSD All-City Arts Program (‘Lilli/Katherine’ in Kiss Me Kate)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor

*J.R. Heckman, Solon High School (‘Donkey’ in Shrek the Musical)
Dylan Grosh-Hoy, Brecksville-Broadview Heights High School (‘Callahan’ in Legally Blonde)
Steven Huynh, Marion L. Steele High School (‘Seymour’ in Little Shop of Horrors)
Logan Sword, Parma Senior High School (‘Leo Frank’ in Parade)
Colin Trudell, Rocky River High School (‘Frank Abagnale Jr.’ in Catch Me If You Can)

The Connor Family awarded $1000 to the recipients of The Connor Family Best Musical Tier 1 and Tier 2 categories, Rocky River and Solon, for use toward their next high school musical productions.

As recipients of the John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress and Actor Awards, Kate Klika (sophomore) and J.R. Heckman (freshman) will represent Northeast Ohio at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (“The Jimmy Awards”) on June 27. To make it possible for their families to attend the ceremony with them, Playhouse Square presented Kate and J.R. each with checks for $1000.

Public, private and charter high schools located in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and Summit Counties were invited to apply for participation in the inaugural Dazzle Awards. Information and applications for the 2017 Dazzle Awards will be available online at playhousesquare.org/dazzleawards in late summer.