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Perennial Utah high-school musical powerhouse Woods Cross High won the top trophy at the seventh annual Utah High School Musical Theatre Awards.
The Davis County school's production of "Beauty and the Beast" was named Best Musical at the May 13 ceremony at downtown Salt Lake City's Eccles Theater.
Actors Jessica Lewis of DaVinci Academy and Levi Hopkins of Ridgeline High School will represent the state in New York City next month as they participate in 10 days of private coaching, master classes and rehearsals with leading theater professionals, culminating in the Jimmy Awards program at the Minskoff Theatre. They were honored for their performances in "Fly by Night" and "The Addams Family," respectively, at the award ceremony presented by Logan-based Utah Festival Opera and Musical Theatre.
"The response from the audience was palpable and almost deafening," Vanessa Ballam, UFOMT's education director, said in a news release.
"I am blown away by the abilities of these high-school students," added Ballam's father, UFOMT founder Michael Ballam, who emceed the evening.
The evening showcased 10 production numbers by high schools nominated for Best Musical and medleys performed together by all contenders in the four acting categories.
Nineteen judges traveled to 29 Utah high-school musicals over the past six months to score the productions and choose the finalists. The UHSMTA gives awards in 19 categories, including the new Sheldon Harnick New Works Award, which recognizes student-created works. This year's winner in that category was Alex Lambert of Logan High, who created "Echoes Never Die," an original musical celebrating the school's centennial.
The other winners were:
Best Supporting Actor • Liam Hunsaker, Layton High
Best Supporting Actress • Brie Bauer, Juan Diego Catholic High
Best Cameo Performance • Connor Talbot and Aidan Piner, Uintah High
Best Direction • "Beauty and the Beast," Woods Cross High
Best Choreography • "The Music Man," Alta High
Best Ensemble • "Fly by Night," DaVinci Academy
Best Scenic Design • "Little Women," Park City High
Best Orchestra • "Little Women," Park City High
Best Costume Design • "The Little Mermaid," Layton High
Best Lighting Design • "The Little Mermaid," Layton High
Best Technical Crew • "Beauty and the Beast," Woods Cross High
Best Student Choreography • Shelby Moon, Layton High
Best Student Scenic Design • Xander Bachison, DaVinci Academy
Best Student Costume Design • Katie Neff, Northridge High
Best Student Lighting Design • Alek Burden, DaVinci Academy
More information on the awards program is at utahfestival.org.