Waxahachie High School won the top award of Best Musical for their production of “Matilda the Musical” in the 10th annual DSM HSMTA. They also won the award for Best Direction of a musical for “Matilda.” Cedar Hill High School won the Best Costume Design award for their production of “The Wiz.” Evan Lee, a student at Duncanville HS, received Special Recognition for his performance in “Dreamgirls.”
The prestigious competition for North Texas high school students, teachers, and theater departments was streamed virtually June 11. The Dallas Summer Musicals High School Musical Theatre Awards ceremony featured live performances along with award presentations. This year scholarships totaling $55,000 were awarded to students.
DSM HSMTA celebrates the power of the arts and its ability to significantly improve all areas of education. The annual DSM HSMTA recognizes artistic and educational achievements of North Texas students and their high school programs. Judges from the North Texas theater community evaluated 41 performances from 39 participating high schools.
Best Musical “Matilda” the Musical
The 2021 Best Musical Award went to Waxahachie High School’s production of Matilda The Musical, the Best Actor award was presented to Parker Jackson (Guyer High School), and Best Actress went to Shantel Williams (Plano Senior High School). Megan Moore (Melissa High School) and Kelly Thomas (Poteet High School) received Outstanding Educator Awards, and 15 scholarships were awarded to deserving students pursuing degrees in both theatre and non-theatre majors.
In addition, Dallas native and Broadway veteran Liz Mikel was presented the 2021 Fullinwider Award in honor of her accomplishments within the North Texas theater community and beyond.
“Congratulations to all of the hardworking students and faculty involved in this year’s ceremony,” says Ken Novice, president of Dallas Summer Musicals. “The talent and dedication never cease to amaze us, and we are so proud to recognize and celebrate all of the 2021 nominees and winners!”
The livestream ceremony, hosted by award-winning performer Denise Lee, opened with 2021 nominees performing “Oh, What A Beautiful Mornin’” from Oklahoma!. Awards were then presented to students in 15 categories and $55,000 in scholarships were given in Theatre Major, Theatre Ambassador, Backstage Excellence, and DSM Spirit Award categories. Students and teachers from each school nominated for Best Musical were throughout the ceremony.
Best Actor and Best Actress nominees performed “La Vie Boheme” and “Seasons of Love” from RENT. Students joined 2021 Fullinwider Award recipient Liz Mikel in a performance of “Livin’ it Up on Top” from Hadestown. Two-time HSMTA Best Actress Haley Dortch announced the Best Actor and Best Actress awards. Liz Mikel returned to present the Best Musical award. The ceremony closed with a finale performance of “Yorktown” from Hamilton. All performances were accompanied by a live band led by Music Director Cherish Love Robinson.
Virtual Ceremony on YouTube
The virtual ceremony can be watched at YouTube.com/DSMusicals. A list of all 2021 winners, participating high schools, and their productions can be found on the DSM website.
Since DSM’s first HSMTA in 2012, the program has developed regionally, accepting schools as far away as Lubbock, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Mississippi as well as new and returning schools from the DFW Metroplex. DSM’s HSMTA has grown to be one of the largest programs of its kind in the nation. DSM HSMTA has been recognized by The National High School Musical Theatre Awards as their official affiliate program for North Texas.
Since 1941, the non-profit Dallas Summer Musicals Inc. (DSM) has presented the Best of Broadway to North Texas audiences. DSM promotes excellence in live musical theatre with year-round performances for diverse audiences of all ages, impacting the lives of children and families through education and community outreach programs, while enriching the cultural landscape of North Texas and the Southwest Region.