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Tunes for Tots

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Tommy Tune (left) with last year’s scholarship winners. Photo by Bruce Bennett Photography.

Tommy Tune’s annual awards show recognizes excellence in high school musicals.
by Donalevan Maines
WEB ONLY

Teenagers in cool pajamas, “Steam Heat,” and a joyous picnic on that “Once a Year Day” set the bar for the 2012–2013 Tommy Tune Awards competition when the High School for the Performing and Visual Arts presented The Pajama Game in October.

It was the first Houston entry among 45 shows in the 11th annual project that Theater Under the Stars (TUTS) sponsors to honor excellence in Houston-area high school musicals. Three-judge panels of local theater professionals and enthusiasts score the shows, with nominations and awards in 15 categories, including best musical, leading actor and actress, supporting actor and actress, featured performer, scenic design, lighting design, costume design, orchestra, musical direction, ensemble/chorus, crew/technical execution, choreography, and direction.

The best leading actor and actress advance each June to the National High School Musical Theater Awards and a theater intensive on the campus of New York University. Last summer’s finals were hosted by Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, who recently starred in the national tour of Jekyll & Hyde at the Hobby Center. PBS-TV Channel 8 recently broadcast a three-part series on the 2012 awards, which culminated in a one-night-only showcase at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.

The honors are named after favorite gay son Tommy Tune, who hosts the Tony Awards-style ceremony each year at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. He tells the crowd how the late Ruth Denney launched his career in musical theater by casting him as sharpshooter Frank Butler in Irving Berlin’s Annie Get Your Gun.

The 1946 Broadway musical is Austin High School’s entry in this year’s competition.

Tune made his film debut as Ambrose Kemper in Hello, Dolly!, which will be performed at Pasadena Memorial High School.

Spring High School’s Gypsy was the first show out of the gate this year, followed by The Pajama Game, then You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown at Cypress Falls and Seussical at Northland Christian. That show, which starred Rosie O’Donnell on Broadway, will also be performed in February at James E. Taylor High School in Katy, and in March at Episcopal High School, which has won the Tommy Tune Award for best musical three of the past four years.

This month’s Tommy Tune entries include Into the Woods at Westchester Academy, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Kingwood), Thoroughly Modern Millie (Cypress Woods), and Bye, Bye Birdie (John Cooper).

The Rodgers and Hammerstein classic South Pacific will be performed in December at Foster High in Richmond, as well as Pearland High in January and Memorial High in February.

Other shows receiving multiple productions will be Once Upon a Mattress, Legally Blonde, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and The Wizard of Oz.

Among recent Tony winners, The Color Purple is the entry for G.W. Carter Magnet High, while Clear Springs High will perform Curtains.

Last year, Dallas Summer Musicals launched a North Texas version of the Tommy Tune Awards and is currently conducting its second contest.

The Tommy Tune Awards ceremony, set for April 16, 2013, is open to the general public, and tickets will be available for purchase beginning on April 2, 2013. For information on the 2013 Tommy Tune Awards ceremony, call 713/558-2600 or visit tuts.com/tommytune.

Here is the complete list of this year’s Tommy Tune entries:

·     Austin High School, Annie Get Your Gun (January 25, 26, February 1, 2 at 7 p.m.)
·     Cesar Chavez High School, Joseph…Dreamcoat (February 27, 28 at 4 p.m. and March 1, 2 at 7 p.m.)
·     Clear Falls High School, Once Upon A Mattress (January 17, 18, 19, 24, 25, 26 at 7 p.m.)
·     Clear Springs High School, Curtains (January 31, February 1, 2, 3, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 3 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     Conroe High School, A Funny Thing Happened…Forum (January 17, 18, 19 at 7 p.m.)
·     Cypress Creek High School, Spamalot (January 31, February 1, 2, 4 at 7 p.m. and February 3 at 3 p.m.)
·     Cypress Falls High School, You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown (October 18, 19, 20, 22 at 7 p.m.)
·     Cypress Woods High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie (November 1, 2, 3 at 7 p.m. and November 3 at 2 p.m.)
·     Dekaney High School, The Wiz (January 25, 26 at 7 p.m.)
·     Energized for STEM (Southeast): title and dates to be determined
·     Episcopal High School, Seussical (March 1, 2 at 7:30 p.m. and March 3 at 3 p.m.)
·     Foster High School, South Pacific (December 7 at 7:30 p.m. and December 9 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     Friendswood High School: title to be determined (February 22, 23, March 1, 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     G. W. Carver Magnet High School, The Color Purple (January 10, 11 at 7 p.m.)
·     George Ranch High School, Footloose: dates to be determined
·     Houston Christian High School, The Wizard of Oz (February 28, March 1, 2 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.)
·     High School for the Performing and Visual Arts, The Pajama Game (October 10, 11, 12, 13 at 7 p.m. and October 14 at 2 p.m.)
·     James E Taylor High School, Seussical (February 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 10 at 2 p.m.)
·     John Cooper School, Bye Bye Birdie (November 15, 16, 17 at 7 p.m. and November 17, 18 at 2 p.m.)
·     Katy High School, Joseph…Dreamcoat (January 31, February 1, 2 at 7 p.m. and February 3 at 2 p.m.)
·     Kerr High School, Avenue Q – School Edition (January 18, 19 at 7 p.m.)
·     Kingwood High School, How to Succeed… (November 1, 2, 3, 5 at 7:30 p.m.)
·     Kinkaid School, Chicago (March 1, 2 at 7 p.m. and March 3 at 2 p.m.)
·     Klein Collins High School, Legally Blonde (January 31, February 1, 2, 4, 5 at 7 p.m. and February 2 at 2 p.m.)
·     Klein Forest High School, 25th Annual…Spelling Bee (January 31, February 1, 2 at 7 p.m.)
·     Klein High School: title and dates to be determined
·     Klein Oak High School: title and dates to be determined
·     Magnolia West High School, Once Upon A Mattress (January 17, 18, 19, 21 at 7 p.m.)
·     Mayde Creek High School, The Wizard of Oz (February 7, 8, 9 at 7 p.m.)
·     Memorial High School, South Pacific (February 21, 22, 23, 28, March 1 at 7:30 p.m. and March 2 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     Northland Christian School, Seussical (October 25, 27 at 7 p.m. and October 28 at 2 p.m.)
·     Pasadena Memorial High School, Hello, Dolly! (February 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 7 p.m. and February 3 at 2 p.m.)
·     Pearland High School, South Pacific (January 18, 19, 20 at 7:30 p.m.)
·     Sam Rayburn High School, Grease (January 30, 31 at 7:30 p.m.)
·     Second Baptist School: title to be determined (February 28, March 1, 2 at 7 p.m. and March 2 at 2 p.m.)
·     Seven Lakes High School, The Drowsy Chaperone (February 7, 8, 9 at 7 p.m. and February 9 at 2 p.m.)
·     Spring High School, Gypsy (September 27, 29, October 4, 6 at 7 p.m. and September 29, October 6 at 2 p.m.)
·     Spring Woods High School, Children of Eden (February 1, 2, 3, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 2, 9 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     St. Agnes Academy, Legally Blonde (dates to be determined)
·     St. John’s School, Kiss Me, Kate (March 1, 2 at 7:30 p.m.)
·     Stratford High School, Crazy For You (January 31, February 1, 2, 7, 8, 9 at 7:30 p.m. and February 2, 9 at 2:30 p.m.)
·     Texas City High School: title and dates to be determined
·     Westchester Academy, Into the Woods (November 1, 2, 3, 8, 9, 10 at 7:30 p.m.)
·     Woodlands High School, Oklahoma! (January 17, 18, 19 at 7 p.m.)

Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.


Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart magazine.


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Donalevan Maines is a regular contributor to OutSmart Magazine.

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