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3 schools in hunt for theater honors

West's 'Oliver!' leads the way

POSTED: March 29, 2013 12:28 a.m.

Three Forsyth County high schools have received accolades for the upcoming annual Shuler Hensley Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards.

With a dozen nominations and two honorable mentions, West Forsyth has had a stellar year with its production of “Oliver!”

“We were nominated in almost every category we’re eligible to be nominated in, and that says a lot for the program, especially when there are 50 schools from all over the state,” said Eric Gray, West fine arts teacher.

“It’s the Georgia Tony’s for high school musical theater ... just getting nominated, you’ve already won, the recognition of your program is already statewide.”

West will perform during the awards ceremony, which is set for April 18 at the Cobb Energy Centre.

In addition to best ensemble, featured performer, leading actress, supporting actress, and sound, lighting, costume and scenic design nominations, “Oliver!” is up for a best overall production award.

Lambert High’s production of “Little Women” received a nomination for best orchestra and leading actress, as well as honorable mentions for best overall production, musical direction and featured performer.

South Forsyth received a music direction honorable mention for its production of “Anything Goes.”

A nomination, however, is just that. It wasn’t long ago West’s production of “Beauty and the Beast” also garnered 12 nominations, but took home just one technical award.

“I don’t think I’ve gotten anything until we win something,” Gray said. “I never take it for granted. I’m always humbled by the opportunity.”

In 2011, West took home the top prize — a Shuler Hensley Award for best production for “Oklahoma.”

“The Shulers have become kind of a big thing to us,” Gray said. “Having won the Shuler, it becomes sort of a state title. You want to defend it every year.

“It’s a national musical theater award, so obviously winning any category puts us at the national level ... you’ve set your program separate from bunches and bunches of programs and I think that, to the kids, that’s just a big deal.”


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