Friendswood High’s ambitious ‘Les Mis’ snares 4 Tune Awards
Friendswood High has scored four Tommy Tune Awards for its production of the school edition of “Les Misérables.”
The honors for best ensemble/chorus, musical direction, scenic design and lighting design were awarded at the 15th annual Tommy Tune Awards came April 18 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Houston.
Friendswood had been tied with Clear Springs High School for having the most nominations - 14. Clear Springs came away with a win for best crew and technical execution for its production of “Big Fish.”
Forty-five Houston-area schools competed in this year’s Theatre Under the Stars program.
Friendswood leading actor nominees Alex Rudd as Jean Valjean performed part of “Bring Him Home.” and Max Morgan sang an excerpt from ”“ABC Café / Red and Black.”
Rudd, whose mother and stepfather are Caroline and Peter Clarke, and classmate Kathleen Sharp, the daughter of Alfred and Cheryl Sharp, were awarded $1,000 Tommy Tune scholarships during the ceremony.
Emily Mesa, who played Eponine in “Les Misérables,” opened the medley of best leading actress nominees with a crowd-pleasing taste of her character’s show-stopping ballad, “On My Own.”
Accepting the best lighting award for the school was Meredith Fraga, a junior who programmed the lighting and wired all the lanterns. Accepting for best set design were seniors Logan Newsom and Max Rittenhouse, who were construction crew heads for the set. Best musical direction was accepted by senior choir students Kylee Hill and Ally Eckart.
Seniors Kyle Dickens and Elaina Roher accepted the award on behalf of the school for best ensemble.
Noticeably absent from the proceedings was Tommy Tune himself, marking the first time he’s missed the awards named in his honor.
All 36 students nominated for acting awards in lead and supporting categories opened the Tommy Tunes by singing “Our Favorite Son” from “The Will Rogers Follies,” a 1991 Broadway musical for which Tune won Tony Awards for best direction and choreography.
Friendswood supporting actor nominees were Clayton Senter as Enjolras and Cade Tucker as Thenardier.
As one of eight top contenders for best musical, the Friendswood cast also got to perform a number, ending the award ceremony’s first half with the stirring anthem, “One Day More.”
“Standing in the wings stage left as members of our cast performed ‘One Day More,’ I was overwhelmed with pride and honor as they gave the performance of a lifetime,” Friendswood theater director Kathy Powdrell said. “From backstage left where I was standing in the wings, I could not see the standing ovation but I could hear it and I saw it in their eyes and their faces.” This of course will be a moment that our students will never forget.”
The show closed with two students from each of the 45 participating schools, including Clear Lake and Clear Brook high schools performing “Shine On,” with music and lyrics by the ceremony’s musical director and conductor, Michael Moricz.
The ceremony was live-streamed at www.abc13.com. It will be broadcast 1-3 p.m. Sunday, June 11 on ABC Channel 13. Winners in each category can be found on Facebook posts at https://www.facebook.com/TommyTuneAwards/?ref=ts.
Don Maines is a freelance writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org