May 22, 2017

Playhouse Square Holds Second Annual Dazzle Awards on May 20; 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 second annual Dazzle Awards ceremony on Saturday, May 20. 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 Broadway director/choreographer Rommy Sandhu and hosted by Natalie Herbick of Cleveland’s Own Fox 8. 200 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. 

At the start of the show, Playhouse Square President and CEO Art J. Falco announced that the Dazzle Awards would from this time forward be known as the Dazzle Awards presented by Patricia and John Chapman. Longtime supporters of Playhouse Square, the Chapmans rallied behind the Dazzle Awards as soon as Playhouse Square began developing the program. John has been a Playhouse Square trustee for nearly 30 years, and in that time, he has served with distinction. He was instrumental in starting the young professionals group Playhouse Square Partners. He has served as a Vice Chair of Development, and was on the committee to originally acquire what is now the KeyBank Broadway Series, then expand it to two weeks, and most recently expand it to three. His wife Pat serves on the Community Engagement & Education committee.

“John and Pat were active with their high school musical theater program – Pat, on stage and John, behind the scenes – so the Dazzle Awards are really near and dear to their hearts,” said Falco. “We could not be more grateful for their support and believe Northeast Ohio high school musical theater is fortunate to have them as champions.”

Throughout the evening, Dazzle Awards were presented to outstanding musical theater productions and students in 13 categories. The 2017 Dazzle Awards recipients are:

The Nancy and A.J. Stokes Best Student Orchestra
Wadsworth High School, Aida

Best Scenic Design
Open Door Christian Schools, Annie  

Best Technical Execution
Aurora High School, Anything Goes 

Best Costume Design
Marion L. Steele High School, Guys and Dolls

Best Choreography Execution
Magnificat High School, Annie

Best Ensemble/Chorus
Magnificat High School, Annie

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Featured Performer
Jacob Johnson, CMSD All-City Arts Program (‘Royal Gatekeeper’ in The Wiz)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Supporting Actress
(There is a tie in this category.)
Cassandra Knaggs, Hawken Upper School (‘Mme. Thenardier’ in Les Miserables)
Miraya Russell, CMSD All-City Arts Program (‘Addaperle’ in The Wiz)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Supporting Actor
Noah Pigza, Willoughby South High School (‘Benny Southstreet’ in Guys and Dolls)

The Connor Family Best Musical (Tier 1 – Budget less than $10,000)
Rocky River High School, Legally Blonde
(Rocky River also won the 2016 Dazzle Award in this category.)

The Connor Family Best Musical (Tier 2 – Budget $10,000 or more)
Hawken Upper School, Les Miserables (School Edition)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress
Reyna Moran, Akron School for the Arts (‘Vanessa’ in In the Heights)

The John and Patricia Chapman Best Actor
Brandon Schumacker, Rocky River High School (‘Emmett Forrest’ in Legally Blonde)

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

As recipients of the John and Patricia Chapman Best Actress and Actor Awards, Reyna Moran (junior) and Brandon Schumacker (senior) will represent Northeast Ohio at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (“The Jimmy Awards”) on June 26. Playhouse Square presented Reyna and Brandon each with checks for $1000.

Public, private and charter high schools located in Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, Portage and Summit Counties were invited to apply for participation in the Dazzle Awards. Information and applications for the 2018 Dazzle Awards will be available online at playhousesquare.org/dazzleawards in late summer. 

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The largest performing arts center in the country outside of New York, the not-for-profit Playhouse Square is Northeast Ohio’s destination for Broadway and more great entertainment. Playhouse Square is a champion of arts education and downtown Cleveland, and proud to be the home of Cleveland Play House, Cleveland State University Department of Theatre and Dance, DANCECleveland, Great Lakes Theater and Tri-C JazzFest.

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) impacts more than 50,000 students who participate in high school musical theatre competitions sponsored by presenters of Touring Broadway productions throughout the United States. A Best Actress and Best Actor winner from each of these competitions is sent to New York for a week-long theatre intensive of coaching and rehearsals with industry professionals in preparation for a one-night-only showcase on Broadway, where a panel of judges crowns the nation’s top performers.  Also known as The Jimmy™ Awards, named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $1,000,000 in educational scholarships. In 2012, the program inspired preeminent broadcaster WGBH Boston to produce a 3-part documentary series called “Broadway or Bust,” which follows students on a journey from their hometown competitions to their debut on Broadway. The series remains popular viewing at pbs.org. Presented by The Broadway League Foundation, the ninth annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards will take place on Monday, June 26, 2017 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. For more information, please visit JimmyAwards.com.