Nevada High School’s drama students have got talent, and now they have the recognition that proves it.
On Monday, June 3, Nevada High School’s cast of "The Music Man" traveled to the Civic Center to participate in the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards Showcase. The Nevada High School cast and crew achieved an Outstanding Hair and Makeup award, as well as an Outstanding Scene award. In addition to those honors, they were also recognized for outstanding community support due to the donations received for the new auditorium.
Individual recognition was given to Brandon Russom for Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role, and Eric Wirth received Special Recognition for a Performance in a Leading Role.
Nevada’s students got to perform a selection of scenes during the Awards Showcase, as did each school that was there. Wirth said he thought the performance at the showcase was better than the original performances in Nevada.
"The energy was completely different, being down there," Wirth said. "When we got out on stage it was amazing to look out and see a sea of people; it made everyone really gung-ho about the experience."
To be selected for the showcase, Director Karen Niblock had to apply on behalf of the school’s performance. After applying, the showcase sent four adjudicators to each school’s performances, one or two for each performance. The cast and crew were graded on every single aspect of the performance, Niblock said. The schools received the adjudicators’ comments in January, and the groups who were deemed eligible for the showcase were notified in May.
During the showcase, there was also a triple threat performance, an opening number and senior performance, all of which included representatives from each participating school.
Members of the Nevada High School drama program performed a medley of scenes from "The Music Man," as well as taking part in all three other performances.
The triple threat performance was comprised of eight boys and 10 girls in leading roles who had been nominated by the adjudicators. Wirth was nominated to represent Nevada, as was Kelsey Haley. The group competed for two spots; the winners would get the opportunity to go to New York City to compete in nationals and perform on a Broadway stage, Wirth said.
"Everyone wanted everyone to win," Wirth said, but it wasn’t cut-throat. "It was the most wonderful atmosphere, where everyone was really working for the best of the show and not the best of themselves."
The night began with an opening number, a medley of choreographed songs, which was performed by selected representatives of each of the eight participating schools. Nevada High School sent Trinity Barker, Bre Hilton, Gabrielle Sutton and Cooper Patterson to learn the choreography and songs the Friday before the showcase.
After all the schools gave their performances, the graduating class of 2013 performed a five-minute medley. Nevada’s participating seniors were Eric Wirth, Brandon Russom, Chelsea Armstrong and Brie Dolley.
Niblock was grateful the students had the opportunity to perform at the showcase.
"I’m so thankful they did it," she said. "It was amazing. The students had the ability not only to observe other people, but to collaborate with other students who share the passion for musical theater, and to learn so many new things."
She plans on continuing to apply for the showcase for future productions.
"I think that this experience has taken Nevada High School drama to a new level, and I have no intention of letting that go."