Two high school performers from Utah are on their way to New York after winning Best Actress and Best Actor at the ninth annual Utah High School Musical Theater Awards held at the Eccles Theater in Salt Lake City on May 7. Savannah Carrasco of Skyridge High School in Lehi won for her role as Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha and Hayden Henderson of Northridge High School won for her portrayal of Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
These students will represent Utah State at the Jimmy Awards® in New York in June where they will experience 10 days of private coaching, masterclasses and rehearsals with theater professionals. The week culminates at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway when they perform and compete for the prestigious Jimmy Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Actress, as well as opportunities for career advancement and other awards.
“Dare to dream, dreams come true,” said Michael Ballam, founding executive director of Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater. Vanessa Ballam, Director of UHSMTA, added, “After a two-year hiatus, reuniting as artists in the beautiful Eccles Theater was nothing short of miraculous. The Utah Festival is honored to be part of this artistic journey”
The evening featured 10 high school production numbers nominated for Best Musical and medleys performed together by all of the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress contenders. . Davis High School in Kaysville won Best Musical for its production of Bright Star.
The Education and Outreach Department of the Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater in Logan is sponsoring and producing the event and is partnered with Magic Space Entertainment and Broadway at the Eccles as their national affiliate. The Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theater sponsors the Best Actor and Best Actress winners to fly to New York to compete nationally.
The Utah Festival has sent 19 professional judges to 43 Utah high school musicals over the past six months to score and respond to productions. Afterwards, the jury finalists took part in the official awards ceremony at the Eccles Theatre. The UHSMTA awards prizes in 19 different categories, from the Annette Macfarlane Award for Best Choreography to the Summerhays Music Award for Best Orchestra and the John & Melissa Lewis Award for Best Musical. Visit www.utahfestival.org for more information.