ATLANTA — Studio West Production’s musical “Oliver!” took home four awards during the prestigious Shuler Hensley celebration at the Cobb Energy Center.
For the fifth year, the Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, named after the Tony award-winning stage actor, honored several high school musicals on April 18.
West Forsyth High School’s “Oliver!” won the best direction and best overall production awards, both given to performing arts veteran Eric Gray, of Studio West Productions.
“We had almost 70 students involved with this production,” Gray said after the awards presentation. “We are so grateful for the awards we have received.”
“Oliver!” also received the technical execution award, in addition to the sound design award presented to Max Aldis.
“This musical is a drama and a comedy and altogether a show for everyone despite the darker situations and characters,” said Barbara Macko, associate director and costume designer.
Gray thanked Macko, who helped with the production, and Autumn Morgenstern and Lily Dickinson for the choreography.
“I am proud of the younger children that helped to make this possible,” he said. “I am so proud of my students and the hard work they have accomplished. It will be a memory for them that can never be taken away.
“It is with the strong administration support and incredible parental support that Studio West has that continues to make West Forsyth one of the best musical theater programs in the state,” Gray said.
Gray has received nominations at the Shuler Awards for the last four years and also received the direction and overall production awards two years ago for the school’s musical “Oklahoma!”
West Forsyth High School had 12 nominations this year, and Milton High School topped all schools with 13 nominations for “Spamalot.”
Four of the “Spamalot” awards were in acting categories. Sophomore Crawford Horton won the featured performer award for his doubly challenging part as both Not Dead Fred and Prince Herbert.
Horton said the script played well to the Milton HS Drama Department’s strengths.
“Most shows have a lot of pressure, but this show comes naturally to our talented comedic cast,” Horton said.
“Spamalot” also won the best ensemble award.
“We aren’t like a family, we are a family,” Horton said.
One standout performance was McKenzie Kurtz, who won the lead actress award for her portrayal of the Lady of the Lake.
This also means Kurtz, a sophomore, will get the opportunity to go to New York City for a weeklong training session and a chance to win a $100,000 scholarship to New York University.
This article was published in the Forsyth Herald April 24, 2013 edition