Pella Christian High School's Theatre Troupe earned six awards Monday evening, June 3, 2013, at the Des Moines Performing Arts Civic Center in its inaugural Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards showcase. Honoring more than 300 young artists performing this past year in nine different high school musical theatre productions across the greater Des Moines area, the first ever awards showcase celebrated the extraordinary achievements of young musical theatre student artists.
PCHS's fall production of "Footloose" was awarded an Outstanding Scene for "I'm Free / Heaven Help Me" which was the gym scene just before intermission. Other honors from the production included: Cali Beyer, as Ariel, with an Outstanding Performance in a Leading Role; Nicholas Dahm, as Ren, with Special Recognition for a Performance in a Leading Role; and Sarah Fopma with Special Recognition for Student Achievement in Lighting Design.
In addition, Cory Van Gilst and Cali Beyer were nominated to audition for two spots in representing Iowa in late June at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City. Only 18 local students were nominated, spending a day in private and group coaching with Broadway guest artists Sara Brians (who choreographed "Billy Elliot") and Julie McBride (who is a Musical Drama educator for The Juilliard School). Eventual winners were Kellen Schrimper and Bridget Johnston, both from Waukee High School.
All nine high school productions were reviewed by a panel of adjudicators over the past year that included performing arts professionals and educators. Each school was then able to present a medley from their own musical production on the Civic Center stage at the evening's awards showcase. In addition, representatives from all the high schools participated in the opening group dance number which included songs from "Newsies", "Pippin", "Matilda" and "Next to Normal." A closing Finale was also performed by all senior members attending the showcase, from the class of 2013.
The Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards program aims to create visibility and support for local high school musical theatre programs and to highlight the importance of arts education. Pella Christian's theatre program is directed by Marlo Van Peursem with assistance from Tim Van Voorst (Music), Brenna Vogel (Choreography) and Daryl Van Zee (Tech).