High school theatre students and instructors across Kansas City and in nearby communities on May 1 received their nominations for the 12th annual Blue Star Awards from Starlight Theatre. Starlight leaders and staff personally delivered 117 nominations to 34 area high schools. On Thursday, May 22, the Blue Star Award winners will receive their honors in a public ceremony on Starlight Theatre’s Cohen Community Stage.
Starlight’s Blue Star Awards, modeled after Broadway’s Tony® Awards, marks its 12th anniversary with the 2013-14 school year. Sponsored by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City, the educational program annually recognizes achievement and excellence in high school musical theatre. This year, a total of 46 high schools producing 52 musicals participated. While the majority of schools are in the metropolitan area, some nominated schools are in surrounding communities such as St. Joseph and Excelsior Springs, Mo., and Leavenworth, Kan.
The culmination of the program each year is the annual Blue Star Awards Ceremony at Starlight Theatre. This year’s awards ceremony will begin at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 22. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Parking is $5 per vehicle.
At the Blue Star Awards ceremony, Kansas City’s arts community leaders will hand out awards in 20 categories, including Outstanding Overall Production, Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Lead Role, Outstanding Orchestra and Outstanding Ensemble. In addition, several categories recognize artistic contributions and technical excellence in staging a high school musical, including Outstanding Scenic Design and Construction, Outstanding Costume Design, Outstanding Lighting Design and Outstanding Hair and Makeup Design.
(Click to see the complete list of nominations.)
“Starlight Theatre and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City are truly honored to be able to publicly recognize and celebrate the talented students and dedicated teachers who create outstanding musical theatre productions throughout our community,” said Rich Baker, Starlight’s new president and CEO, who joined the theatre in March. “We’re also very proud of the part this awards program plays in helping thousands of young actors, singers, dancers, musicians, designers and artists pursue their performance dreams.”
A panel of three adjudicators attended the musical productions of each participating school during the fall 2013 and/or spring 2014 semesters. These judges provided critiques of both performance and technical categories to Starlight’s Education Department. Additionally, their comments were compiled and shared with each school’s theatre teacher and students. The Blue Star Awards Nomination Committee, made up of select adjudicators, convened to deliberate and select final nominees and award winners.
Several nominated schools and students will perform on Starlight’s stage at the May 22 awards ceremony. Performances will include a number from each of the six schools and musicals nominated for Outstanding Overall Production, as well as musical medleys performed by the 12 nominees for Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Lead Role.
A final highlight of the annual Blue Star ceremony is the awarding of Rising Star Scholarships to two high school seniors. The $2,500 college scholarships are presented to one male and one female senior who have contributed the most to his or her high school theatre department and demonstrated exceptional theatrical achievement.