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Updated Tuesday, June 5, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Liberty High's 'Little Shop' tops annual 5th Avenue Theatre Awards

In a gala show and ceremony Monday night, the 5th Avenue Theatre honored high-school theater productions across the state with awards in 21 categories.

Topping a competitive field was Liberty High School in Renton with "Little Shop of Horrors," which was named Outstanding Musical Production and received three more awards. Winning two awards each were Kentridge High School's staging of "Legally Blonde"; "The Boyfriend," by Eisenhower High School in Yakima; and two separate shows at Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane ("Zombie Prom" and "Legally Blonde"). Ballard High School's "Bye Bye Birdie" was honored for Outstanding Costume Design.

Students honored with lead-performance prizes were Caelan Creaser of Kentridge and Jesse Ward from Lewis and Clark, in separate productions of "Legally Blonde."

The awards bash treated a full theater of youths and parents to numbers from numerous shows, and marked the 10th anniversary of an expansive, popular and nationally known program that has encouraged and honored scores of budding theater folk and the adult artists who work with them.

Some teen winners have pursued professional entertainment careers. Others are simply enriched by their involvement in the fun and challenge of taking part in a student rendition of a Broadway musical — onstage or behind the scenes.

According to the 5th Avenue, this year 9,000 students were involved in participating shows at 93 high schools from throughout the Puget Sound region, and as far away as Spokane, Mount Baker, Sequim and Vancouver (Wash). The awards are chosen by a panel of theater professionals, based on firsthand evaluations of performances.

This year the 5th Avenue inaugurated a new honor for high-school drama teachers. The first recipient is Ruben Van Kempen, a revered Roosevelt High School drama instructor whose former pupils include Tony Award nominee and star of Broadway's "Memphis," Chad Kimball.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

Information

For a complete list of honorees, and more information about the 5th Avenue Theatre Awards, go to: www.5thavenue.org/education.


ELLEN M. BANNER / THE SEATTLE TIMES
Mikayla Day, left, and Dylan Rousseau, from Sultan High School's musical, "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," practice their introduction with other performers in an alley behind the 5th Avenue Theatre.




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