Johnathan Tarver Nominated For Broadway Dallas Outstanding Lead Performer

Johnathan Tarver as Sponge Bob
Photo courtesy Cedar Hill ISD

Cedar Hill Theatre Receives Multiple Nominations In Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards

(CEDAR HILL, TEXAS) The entire Cedar Hill High School Theatre Department tuned in for the live announcement of the Broadway Dallas High School Musical Theatre Awards (HSMTA) on Monday morning.

The group expressed jubilation when Cedar Hill junior Johnathan Tarver was nominated for Outstanding Lead Performer for his portrayal of the titular character in “SpongeBob: The Musical.”

Cedar Hill Theatre was also nominated for Best Costumes (a category they won in 2021 when the awards were called ‘Dallas Summer Musicals’) and Best Orchestra.

The awards will be announced on Friday, May 20 at Fair Park Music Hall in Dallas. The winner of Outstanding Lead Performer will win a 10-day all expenses paid trip to New York City.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” Tarver said. “My heart dropped when they made the announcement.”

Cedar Hill Theatre Director Bethany Kennedy, the 2021-2022 Cedar Hill High School Teacher of the Year, was proud of Tarver but not surprised.

“It takes a lot of hard work, and he’s just put in the work,” Kennedy said. “He definitely has a good support system, and he’s becoming his own person. He’s proven what he’s capable of doing.”

Tarver, 16, made his acting debut as a Permenter Middle School Eighth Grader in 2019. He played Les in “Newsies.” That was the same year that Tarver’s older brother, Jeremiah, won Best Featured Performer in “Newsies.”

The following year, Jeremiah was in college at University of North Texas, and Johnathan was Aaron Schultz in “Legally Blonde” and followed that up as The Scarecrow in “The Wiz.”

“Becoming a character is always a mental process for me,” Tarver said. “I had to step away from myself and into the character of SpongeBob.”

Tarver is planning for a future in musical theatre and would also like to try film. He’s considering studying Theatre at the University of Michigan.

Now, Tarver is focused on honing his acting skills, along with his academics. He works part-time at Chipotle in Cedar Hill.

Cedar Hill is expected to have several nominations in the Fort Worth-based Betty Buckley Awards.