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Forsyth County schools compete for musical theater honors

West Forsyth's 'Oliver!' nominated for 12 Shuler Awards

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April 01, 2013
FORSYTH COUNTY, Ga. — When it comes to high school musical theater awards, there's nothing more prestigious in the state than the Shuler Hensley Musical Theater Awards April 18.

And two area schools — Milton High School and West Forsyth High — are leading the way in the number of nominations.

"We call it the Tony's for high school musical theater," said Barkley Russell, spokeswoman for the Cobb Energy Centre, where the awards ceremony will be held.

Eric Gray, the fine arts chairman for West Forsyth High's Studio West Productions, said he is proud of the 12 nominations for "Oliver!" — out of 16 possible — and several honorable mentions.

"We have been nominated every year we have been a part of the Shuler Awards and have had the honor of winning the [four performance awards] Shuler in 2011 for "Oklahoma!' but this set of nominations is so overwhelming," Gray said. "'Oliver' is a very hard show to do at the level we like to perform because it goes to the dark side and has some unpleasant moments and undesirable characters."

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The Shuler Awards encompass 47 high schools from throughout the state representing 16 school districts. A total of 73 ensemble members are participating.

Milton Theatre's Director Larry Smith and Spamalot Director Renee Denney say they feel gratified by all of the Shuler nominations this year.

"We received nominations in all 13 categories for which we were nominated, so we justifiably proud of this achievement," Smith said. "To be rated so highly out of the 50 schools which were involved with the Shuler awards this year is a testament to the dedication and hard work of all the 70 students involved in the production."

Two Shuler Award recipients will take away more than a gleaming, glass trophy. The Lead Actor and Lead Actress award winners will go on to New York in June for a week of experience and a chance to land a $100,000 scholarship to New York University.

"The final result can be pretty major for those interested in the performing arts," Russell said.

The Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, the Shuler Hensley Awards (GHSMTA), celebrates excellence in high school musical theater.

In this fifth anniversary year, the program has the largest number of both schools and ensemble members in its history.

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Milton Theatre's production of "Spamalot" received 13 nominations this year. In 2011-12, Milton won Best Show for "The Drowsy Chaperone."

Lambert High's production of "Little Women" received a nomination for Best Orchestra and Best Leading Actress.

Chattahoochee High School was nominated for "Disney's Beauty and the Beast" in the Best Featured Performer category.

Alpharetta High School's "Hairspray" received a Best Supporting Actress nomination.

The awards will air live on WSB's Me-TV digital channel number 248 in Comcast's cable system beginning at 8 p.m.

Tickets for the awards ceremony 7:30 p.m. April 18 are $16. Tickets may be purchased through Visit for more information.

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Managing Editor, Appen Media.

Milton High School for "Spamalot"

• Nominees: Best Actor, Jason Byrd; Best Actress, McKenzie Kurtz; Best Supporting Actor, Brad Burnham; Best Featured Performer, Crawford Horton, Best Ensemble, all cast members; Best Technical Execution; Best Scenic Design, Best Lighting Design and Best Sound Design for Sim Jones; Best Musical Direction, Drew Bowers; Best Orchestra Chris Shumick; Best Director, Renee Denney and Best Overall Production.

West Forsyth High for "Oliver!"

• Nominees: Best Ensemble and Best Overall Production; Best Featured Performer, David Fowler; Best Supporting Actress, Lizzie Powers; Best Leading Actress, Lily Dickinson; Best Lighting Design, Dylan Murphy; Best Sound Design, Max Aldis; and Best Direction, Costume Design, Scenic Design, Technical Execution and Music Direction, Eric Gray.

Lambert High School for "Little Women"

• Nominees: Best Leading Actress, Jordan Forte; Best Orchestra, Julie Rosseter Sweeney.

Chattahoochee High School for "Disney's Beauty and the Beast"

• Nominee: Best Featured Performer, Hank Goldmon.

Alpharetta High School for "Hairspray"

• Nominee: Best Supporting Actress, Natalie Nuckolls.

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