Spotlight Society shines at Musical Theater Competition of America and National Performing Arts Festival – Morning Journal


Spotlight Society, formerly the Caryl Crane Youth Theater competition team, won 15 awards including First Place Musical Revue and First Place Production Number from the 2022 Musical Theater Competitions of America and the National Performing Arts Festival over two weekends in February.

The group, which is made up of 26 middle and high school students from 12 area schools, won first place for their performance of a revue featuring music from songwriting team Stiles and Drewe at the Musical Theater Competitions of America. in Los Angeles, as well as first place for their performance of “Silly Symphony” from Disney’s On The Record, and second place for their production of All Shook Up.

At the National Performing Arts Festival in Orlando, the team received the Superior Rating trophy and seven individual awards, including first place for Caylin McCormick (Huron High School) and Natalie Kwasny-Jackson (Edison High School), for their duet ” The Night Bus,” from the new musical Becoming Nancy.

Members of the Spotlight Society are shown. (Submitted)

At the Musical Theater Competitions of America, Bryce Nevison (Huron High School) won first place for Male Soloist and Jordyn Freetage (Jackson High School) received fourth place for Female Soloist. Kate Doyle (Norwalk High School) won third place for the Technical Theater Competition and Ryan Humphrey (Vermilion High School) won the third place trophy for Hair and Make-up Design. Spotlight Society Director Brian Marshall received special recognition for his commitment to arts education.

At the National Performing Arts Festival, in addition to their first duet, Natalie Kwasny-Jackson and Caylin McComick received Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress awards, respectively, for their performance in Never Land: A Spotlight on Stiles and Drewe. Bryce Nevison received the Best Actor trophy and Ben Parnell (Perkins High School) and Nathan Reynolds (Briar Middle School) received the Supporting Actor trophies and Jessica Hartley (Elyria High School) received a double trophy for supporting actress, as well as outstanding student choreography. .

Of these competitions, Marshall says, “We think of these festivals as the Winter Olympics of musical theater for middle and high school students! And this year, we’re bringing home the gold!

According to a statement from the group, Spotlight Society students compete against more than 7,500 other young actors from around the world at these festivals, and being recognized is an accomplishment. The fact that our students are consistently rated as the best means that we as a program are doing something right. As an educational training program, the awards are a wonderful validation of our hard work as a team. Spotlight Society is 100% organized and run by volunteers who believe that the exposure to being part of a global community of peers who love the arts is a life-shaping experience that our young artists cannot find anywhere else.

“As an educator, the awards take a back seat to seeing our students stand in front of a room of 2,000 other students and show their love for the theater arts by singing, dancing, performing and demonstrating theatrical skills in the wings. The awards are fantastic, but seeing our students achieve their theatrical dreams is beyond words to me,” Marshall said.

Because the team scored so well during festival season, Spotlight Society was invited to participate in the Nationals, the annual highlight of all musical theater festivals, in Phoenix in July. The auditions for the high schoolers’ participation in the Spotlight team at the national championships will take place in the coming weeks, so stay tuned! The organization itself will be hosting a Night at the Races fundraiser later this spring to help us keep student training fees tuition-free.

Participation in the Spotlight Society festival was sponsored by Fair Publishing in Norwalk. To learn more about Spotlight Society and ways to get your budding artist involved, follow @spotlightsocietyohio on Facebook.


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