MECHANICSBURG – During this past school year, Mechanicsburg High School has been a participant in the Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards (MVHSTA), a new program designed to celebrate, support, and advocate for high school theatre education throughout the Miami Valley region. The MVHSTAs celebrate high school plays, musicals, students, and educators by formally recognizing the extraordinary achievements of our community’s productions. The program is organized through the Office of Education and Engagement at the Victoria Theatre Association, based in Dayton, Ohio.
“During these few years of the new musical theatre program at Mechanicsburg High School, we have been blessed with some truly remarkable talent,” said Matthew Smith, music director for the program at Mechanicsburg High School. “We decided to participate in the MVHSTAs to showcase the work being done in musical theatre at MHS. It is important to us as a production team to highlight the value of theatre education even in a small school district, and to give our very worthy students an additional opportunity to shine and be recognized for the incredible work that they are doing.” Other members of the main production team include Mimi Ault, director, and Amy Marsh, producer.
For the 2018-2019 school year, MVHSTA adjudicated 40 separate productions at 22 participating area high schools. Mechanicsburg High School’s production of “Grease” was adjudicated by trained theatre professionals from the Miami Valley during the show’s run (March 8-10, 2019). From the scores and comments given by three separate adjudicators, several honors were presented for that show during the MVHSTA Awards Showcase on June 11, 2019, at the Schuster Center in Dayton. Grease received five separate awards:
· Alex Miller: merit for a lead actor in a musical (Danny Zuko)
· Isaac Bryant: outstanding performance for a supporting actor in a musical (Doody)
· Joseph Mascadri: merit for a lead actor in a musical (Kenickie)
· Josh Spinner: outstanding performance for a supporting actor in a musical (Sonny LaTierri)
· An award for merit was also given for the overall production of Grease
In addition to their respective awards, Alex Miller and Isaac Bryant were selected to perform during the opening and closing numbers of the MVHSTA Awards Showcase on the stage at the Schuster Center. The two young men had the opportunity to work with talent from other area high schools, as well as a professional choreographer and musicians to develop those two selections for the performance.
Born from the strong foundation laid by the DayTony High School Theatre Awards, the Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards (MVHSTA) celebrate the accomplishments of area high school teachers and students by recognizing achievements in productions by participating Miami Valley area high schools. To participate, schools register to have their productions reviewed by a qualified team of adjudicators, who then provide directors with valuable feedback. During the spring, the Miami Valley High School Theatre Awards presents an Awards Showcase to recognize the outstanding achievements of high school productions and students. Learn more about MVHSTA, award categories, and participating schools at mvhsta.org.
Spring musicals have been a tradition at Mechanicsburg High School since 1985, when choral educator Jacquelyn Howell staged the first at MHS. Musicals continued for the next two decades, until a 12-year hiatus began in 2005. In 2017, through the efforts of local volunteers, the school produced Oklahoma! on three nights to a sold out crowd, followed by Cinderella in 2018. Grease marks the third consecutive year of the newly revitalized spring musical program. In addition to the main production team of Ault, Smith, and Marsh, many with experience and even professional careers in theatre have volunteered their time in order to help make these productions successful, including Lindsay Good, Sawyer Shafer, Christa Wolf, and Kathryn Cramer. Planning has already begun for a production in February 2020, with a fourth performance being added thanks to the overwhelming support of the community.
Information from Mechanicsburg High School.