Very brief thoughts on the HS Theater Awards, apparently now called the Metropolitan HS Theater Awards, previously called the Helen Hayes Youth Theater Awards until the Kennedy Center sent them a cease and desist for a 12 year old program:
- The Performing Arts Center was absolutely gorgeous.
- Naturally, my performing students showed up late. One didn't even have the pants for their costume. No surprises there.
- The bus showed up about fifteen minutes late, meaning we didn't see the opening video montage, first nominee for overall production, or the youth choir brought in to entertain us.
- "Comedians" Stone and Stone hosted, doing shtick that was a bit too blue for a HS audience packed with Catholic schools.
- The presenters were about 50/50 with actually being on board for the event. One choreographer/director ranted for about 10 minutes that he could be performing for Barbara Bush's birthday party but instead opted to be at the awards (so we better be grateful being the obvious subtext). A really short actor from Spring Awakening and the other young actor in Next to Normal were having a bit too much fun on stage, though I'm not going to speculate what, exactly, may have been provided for the presenters in the backstage area. It was a long night and everyone was a little loopy.
- My one student won for Outstanding Vocal Performance and used the opportunity to thank herself and our director.
- Another of my students won for Outstanding Instrumentalist. She decided not to go to the awards, so I got to meet one of my music direction idols on stage and give a speech in her name.
- After that, the night is a bit of a blur. I know my students held their own on stage for their 30 second lead actor/actress performances, though All Shook Up was rightly met with a wtf? reaction. The new drama director learned first hand what, exactly, our town is up against in the competition for asses in seats for program money with four stellar production numbers (dancing and singing and acting and harmonies and dynamics at the same time? fitted costumes and appropriate make-up? no lime green bras flashing through too slutty costumes? I must be dreaming) and she seems optimistic that she can push our students that far. And, most important of all, my wonderful students got a massive wake-up call as to how other schools do theater. I think they get it now. Fingers crossed, for I will not back down from a Cole Porter score and concede to re-orchestrations.
- Unfortunately, our principal decided that he "thinks our students were so much better than the other nominees" and that "the winners weren't anything special. We're just as good. No, better." Win some, lose some.
- And it only took us 2 and a half hours to complete a one hour bus ride due to a detour through the BX, the boogy-down itself, thanks to the first exit the bus driver saw for the Tappan Zee Bridge being shut down.
So that was my night. Now off to keep busting my ass for an upcoming audition. I've changed my audition set four times already and am generally being a bit too much of a perfectionist over the whole thing.