GAHSMTA rolls out the red carpet


GAHSMTA photographer

Dressed in their finery, members of Cedar Park High School’s theatre department attended the third annual Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre awards.

Kerry Madden, Reporter

The events guests stride up the staircase and onto the terrace, the photographers buzz around and the sun sets over the backdrop of the downtown skyline. The attendees? High school musical theatre students from all over the greater Austin area. Just concluding its third year, the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards is an event and competition centered on supporting, showcasing and celebrating musical theatre at the high school level. What better way to celebrate theatre than putting on a Tony-style award show? Twenty-eight schools participated in this year’s competition and gathered Wednesday night at the sold out Dell Hall at the Long Center. The award show consisted of special presenters such as the mayor of Austin, surprise video messages from Broadway royalty such as Johnathan Groff from “Hamilton,” and musical numbers performed by schools nominated for best production as well as medleys from nominees from the best actor and actress categories. This year, Cedar Park theatre department’s production of “Phantom of the Opera” was nominated for five awards; best orchestra, best scenic design, best lighting, best musical direction and best actress in a supporting role.

The show opened with an energetic number that was performed by a group called the select ensemble, comprised of talents from schools across the area including Cedar Park. Sara Gray, sophomore and theatre student at CP, auditioned at the beginning of the school year for this select group and has been rehearsing ever since. During the first act of the award show, another one of our sophomores, Abigail Holtfort, was awarded a scholarship from a pool of applicants to attend Texas Musical Theatre workshop, a renowned and established program right here in Austin, this summer. Interspersed between the award presentations and acceptances, musical numbers keep the energy and excitement up.

The second act of the award show contained even more pizazz than the first. Performances from Hendrickson High School’s “Urinetown the Musical” grasped the attention of the audience and initiated an overflow of good feelings and Bowie High School’s “Tarzan” sent chills down our spines with balanced harmonies and impressive staging. Before the show moved into its final portion, announcing best actor, actress and production, a special award, which existence was unbenounced to us, was awarded to our very own Colin Falk for best student design. Falk, not knowing he was even under consideration for this award, proudly made his way to the acceptance podium and represented our department very well as he thanked the directors, his family and the cast and crew. The final numbers left to perform were the best actor and best actress medleys; crowd favorites. Both medleys teemed with showstopping talent and drew out uproarious reactions from the audience. After, Hendrickson High School was awarded best production. To conclude the event, the select ensemble was joined by two members from each school for a grand finale. Sophomore Daniel Williamson, who played the Phantom, and junior Savanna Theisen, who played Christine, represented Cedar Park’s show on the long center stage. And, to top it all off, the number ended in a burst of shimmering confetti. How more theatrical can it get?