PHS Theatre has been nominated for 15 Jester Awards by Music Theater Wichita, it was announced Tuesday afternoon.
During the past eight months, MTWichita judges were invited to review 115 performances from 38 Kansas schools.
“The abundant talent shown throughout Kansas once again proved to be inspirational and exciting,” said Angela Trotter of MTWichita.
On May 5, PHS Theatre will be recognized at the 18th Annual Jester Awards Ceremony at the Century II in Wichita, and will perform excerpts from their Jester-nominated show, “Aida.”
PHS nominations include:
Overall Production - Aida
Direction of Show - Greg Shaw
Leading Actress - Addy Campbell (Amneris)
Leading Actress - McKenna Shaw (Aida)
Supporting Actor - Gabe Anderson (Mereb)
Ensemble/Chorus - Aida
Production Number - "The God's Love Nubia" (Aida)
Orchestra Direction - Cooper Neil
Vocal Direction - Susan Laushman
Artistic Guest - Maggie and Mollie Stephens (Choreographer)
Stage Crew - Aida
Technical Achievement - Hazel Harper (Hair & Makeup)
Scenic Design - Chuck Boyles & Greg Shaw (Aida)
Sound Design - Elisabeth Brown (Aida)
Design Guest - Kyle Newby & Kole Perez (Aida)
New this year: each of the 20 leading actor and leading actress nominees will perform a brief solo from the show in which they appeared, which will be evaluated by a team of professional judges and who will then determine winners.
The ten school productions which have been nominated as Outstanding Overall Production will also each perform an excerpt from their school production, with additional entertainment provided by The Trust Company of Kansas Music Theatre Wichita Teen Choir.
Honorees in 24 categories will be announced during the ceremony, and several of the honorees will perform. Scholarship awards will be presented to three students, lead male and female honorees and a technical theatre recipient.
Tickets to the ceremony are $10 each in advance (online only), or may be purchased the day of the show for $15 each. Director Greg Shaw will be announcing ticket information and transportation details soon for PHS.
Past Jester nominations have been made for PHS productions of “Shrek,” “Seussical,” “Band Geeks,” “Addams Family,” and “Little Mermaid.”
If you or someone you know is considering replacing a mattress in your home, now is the time. We invite you to attend the PHS Band/Theatre Mattress Fundraiser on Sunday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., in the PHS Gymnasium.
Twenty-five styles of brand-name mattresses will be on display for you to try. All beds are made to order, have full factory warranties, are available in all sizes, and are priced below retail.
In addition to beds, several styles of luxury pillows and even adjustable power bases will be on display!
Delivery and financing are available. Do you work at Pittsburg State University, for Pittsburg Community Schools, or are you a veteran, military personnel, or first responder? You'll receive a 10 percent discount
Want to see it in action? Check out this quick video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h_pQ6O8aVus
Don't need a mattress, but want to help students in the PHS Band and Theatre program? Save this photo to your phone and text it to your friends, family, and co-workers!
Due to circumstances beyond his control, Broadway performer Adam Pascal will be unable to come to Pittsburg on Friday. Plans were for him to conduct master classes with PHS Theatre students and cast members of the All-State Show “Bring It On,” and to perform in a public concert with students that night.
PHS Theatre and Memorial Auditorium, which were partnering to host the event, will ensure that each ticket-buyer receives a full refund as soon as possible.
“We’re grateful for the support shown over the past several weeks by area businesses and individuals who wanted to help make this event possible,” said Director Greg Shaw. “It means a lot that so many people were on board with us. We’re of course sad that it’s not going to happen, but wish Adam all the best."
Shaw said planning for this event had opened up doors for other opportunities for students to work with high-calibre performers, and that it was something PHS Theatre would pursue in the future.
OK so this is big.
PHS Performing Arts students as well as theatre enthusiasts from throughout the region will have an incredible opportunity on Feb. 1: they’ll get to spend some time on stage with a Tony Award-winning Broadway performer and film star.
Having learned about the recent successes of the PHS Theatre program, Adam Pascal’s agent contacted PHS Theatre Director Greg Shaw to inquire about conducting private and public master classes and performing in a concert with students.
Pascal starred as Roger in the original Broadway production “Rent,” starred as Radames in the original Broadway version of Disney’s “Aida,” and portrayed Roger in “Rent,” the film, as well. He played the Emcee in the revival of “Cabaret,” and most recently played Most recently, he played William Shakespeare in the Tony Award-winning musical “Something Rotten.” He recently was chosen to step into the lead role of Edward Lewis in the Broadway show, “Pretty Woman.”
Pascal will conduct a private master class with PHS students the morning of Feb. 1 at Memorial Auditorium and Convention Center in Pittsburg. Then, from 2 to 4:30 p.m., he’ll conduct a master class there with some of the state’s best theatre students from not just Pittsburg, but other schools, as well. Ticket holders for the evening’s “Student Showcase” concert at Memorial may observe the master class at no additional charge.
The “Student Showcase” concert will feature solo numbers by Pascal as well as cabaret numbers by master class students and group numbers by the casts of “Aida” and the upcoming production of “Footloose.” The concert will start at 7 p.m.
Tickets are $25 for balcony seating, $35 for reserved main floor and center balcony seating, and $100 for a VIP package, which includes seating in the first three rows in the center section of the main floor, a 30-minute meet-and-greet reception with Pascal prior to the show, and professional photos taken with Pascal available online for download. Nearly all of the VIP packages have sold. Group rates for reserved seating are available.
The event is being co-hosted by Memorial Auditorium and by Friends of PHS Performing Arts. Proceeds will benefit the PHS Theatre program, which last weekend won a statewide competition and was chosen to perform at the International Thespian Festival in June.
“For a performer of this notoriety and caliber to come to Pittsburg to work with students and perform for the public, especially at this price point, is an incredible opportunity,” said PHS Theatre Director Greg Shaw. “We’re anticipating people driving in from as far away as Kansas City and Wichita to attend.”
This isn’t the first time his students have gotten to work with a Broadway star; in 2017, actress Janine Davita, who played the lead role in “Urinetown,” the musical, worked with the cast of PHS’s production of “Urinetown” as well as individual students in a master class. That show would go on to be chosen for State and for Nationals.
Buy tickets at www.memorialauditorium.org, at the box office at 503 N. Pine, or by calling 620-231-7827.
Twelve Pittsburg High School Theatre students have qualified to perform at the national level after winning accolades at the state level in Wichita.
For the first time, PHS competed in the One-Act Play category at the Kansas Thespian Festival, a state-wide event held in Wichita Jan. 3-5.
The show, “Dog Sees God,” was directed by junior McKenna Shaw and acted by eight students: Julian Archuleta, Franchesca Brownhanney, Hannah Casper, Griffin Cooper, Aidan Harries, Jazmin Havens, Maddy Shawn, and Dominic Stefanoni. The play reimagines characters from the popular comic strip Peanuts as degenerate teens and covers issues like drug use, suicide, eating disorders, rebellion, and sexual identity, and packs an emotional punch.
Their first-place win qualifies them to perform at the International Thespian Festival, held each June at the University of Lincoln-Nebraska.
Additionally, sophomore Sarah Stebbins qualified to perform in the National Individual Event Showcase at the ITF by earning three “Superior” scores on her musical theatre vocal audition.
And, three students — Gabe Anderson, Emma NooNoo, and McKenna Shaw — were part of the cast of the Kansas All-State Show, “Bring It On,” which was chosen to be performed at the ITF. Shaw was in the lead female role, while Anderson was in the ensemble and NooNoo served on the technical crew.
PHS Theatre Director Greg Shaw was production manager for the show, and Jason Huffman, technical director at Memorial Auditorium who has been a frequent contributor to PHS shows, served as sound director.
This is the second year in a row that PHS has qualified in Individual Events and a performance at the ITF; last year, “Urinetown,” the musical, earned the right to perform at the ITF after having been chosen as a main stage production at State.
Fundraising efforts led by Friends of PHS Performing Arts raised money to send all 50 cast, crew, and band members to Lincoln to perform at the week-long festival, which attracts several thousand students from the 4,700 schools that have chapters of the International Thespian Society.
Fundraising efforts will begin soon to send the 12 PHS students chosen for the honor this year.
“It’s thrilling that our students will once again represent the very best work in high school theatre across the country,” said Greg Shaw. “In the one-act competition, for it to be our first time to enter and for us to have won with it being 100-percent student-driven is phenomenal. Having three of our students representing Pittsburg in the All-State Show, as part of nearly 50 students from 24 districts across the state, is something we can all be proud of, as is having a sophomore qualify in an I.E.”
“This program is now consistently qualifying students at the state and national level, and we’re very excited about where our program is headed,” Shaw said.
PHS also earned Gold Troupe recognition at the Kansas Thespian Festival, based on their body of work during the previous year and their community service, and Shaw was named Teacher of the Year for Region 4.
Friends of Pittsburg High School Performing Arts is once again planning an Evening With the Stars Cabaret as a fundraiser to support the trip by PHS Music Rep Theatre to the prestigious International Thespian Festival in June.
The 50-member cast, crew, and band of "Urinetown," the musical, were invited to perform at the festival as one of only 11 schools in the nation. The cost to attend and transport sets, costumes, and students is $45,000.
The fundraiser cabaret will be held at 6:30 p.m. on May 25 at the Circle B Event Center between Pittsburg and Girard. It will include individual, duet, and ensemble performances by several alumni and current students active in the award-winning performing arts program at PHS.
Guests will be treated to an appetizer buffet and desserts, and a cash bar will be available.
Non-performing students will be wait staff for the evening. A raffle and silent auction also will be conducted using prizes donated by area businesses and individuals. Tickets are $25. Seating is limited to 150; tickets may be purchased online at http://bit.ly/2vk6z9A
A free public performance of "Urinetown" will be held on June 3 at Memorial Auditorium as a send-off; donations will be accepted at the door in support of the trip.
Photo courtesy Erin Kata Photography/Jester Awards 2018
Pittsburg High School Theatre came away with seven Jester Awards from Music Theatre Wichita on Sunday based on achievements for “The Little Mermaid,” the musical.
This school year, 102 judges viewed 127 performances of 41 productions, involving more than 2,800 students and 41 schools across Kansas.
“Being involved in the Jester's organization is great for our program, and to be recognized in 17 categories for one show is a huge honor,” said Director Greg Shaw. “It’s certainly humbling that they think highly of what we're doing here.”
The awards PHS earned this year are Outstanding Stage Crew, Outstanding Technical Achievement (Hazel Harper/Hair and Makeup), Outstanding Artistic Guest (Maggie Stephens and Mollie Stephens/choreography), Outstanding Direction of Show (Greg Shaw), Outstanding Lead Actress (McKenna Shaw/Ariel), a $1,250 Technical Scholarship (Hazel Harper), and a $2,500 Performer Scholarship (McKenna Shaw).
Awards were presented at the Jester Awards Ceremony — a red carpet, black tie affair — held in the Century II Convention Center in Wichita. During the ceremony, the nine high schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Production, which included PHS, each performed a medley from their shows, and the lead actor and lead actress nominees, including PHS’s Cassie Hurt-McLarty, a senior, and McKenna Shaw, a sophomore, each performed solo excerpts.
“It's always nice to get feedback, especially from people who see lots and lots of theater, that you're doing things at a high level,” Shaw said. “Our kids being featured on stage at Jester’s is a feather in their cap and something they will always remember.”
This is the third year in a row PHS has participated in the Jester Awards program and the third year in a row PHS has earned nominations.
In 2017, PHS earned 17 nominations for two shows (“Seussical” and “The Addams Family”), coming home from the awards ceremony with 11 Jester Awards. In 2016, PHS earned 18 nominations for two shows (“Shrek” and “Band Geeks”), coming home with 15 awards.
This year, rules stipulated that each school could be judged on just one production. PHS opted to have “The Little Mermaid,” performed in February at Memorial Auditorium, judged for consideration.
Other nominations PHS earned this year for “The Little Mermaid” were: Overall production, leading actress (Cassie Hurt-McLarty/Ursula), supporting actor (Matt Buck/Flounder), cameo performer (Gabe Anderson/Chef Louise), best ensemble/chorus, orchestra direction (Cooper Neil), vocal music direction (Susan Laushman), scenic design (Chuck Boyles/Greg Shaw), design guest (Todd Hoover-Holthus and Phillip Hoover-Holthus/costume design, Jason Huffman/sound design, and Kyle Newby/lighting design), and graphic design (Anita White/poster).
PHS Theatre also has enjoyed other successes this year; the fall musical, "Urinetown," was chosen for State in January, and then qualified as one of only 11 schools in the nation to be performed at the International Thespian Festival in June.
A fundraiser is underway to send students in Music Rep Theatre, Band, and Stagecraft classes, who together comprise the cast, crew, and pit band of “Urinetown,” to the festival.
For the 11th year, Pittsburg High School’s Rep Theatre class is shining a spotlight on a national social issue in the form of an original theatrical performance.
This year, the theme is bias, hate, and discrimination, and it will come to life on stage at Memorial Auditorium, 503 N. Pine in Pittsburg, April 18 and April 20, under the direction of Greg Shaw, PHS theater teacher.
Past years have seen the class research and commission an original play by professional playwright Debbie Lamedman on timely topics such as school violence, eating disorders, climate change, bullying, prescription drug abuse, dating violence, Autism and differences, socio-economic diversity, technology addiction, and mental illness/depression. Their shows have drawn national attention and helped secure a national Character Education award for PHS.
Lamedman, who lives in Oregon, is also a director, acting coach, and author and editor of eight acting books.
This year's show is called "The Chasm Between Us: A close examination of bias, hate and discrimination in America.”
“The idea behind this piece is to present and portray various situations where we evidence discrimination, bias and hate in daily life,” Lamedman said.
For senior Miranda Madden, an award-winning member of the theatre program’s technical crew, it was a chance to be on stage again — something she doesn’t do often. It also was an eye-opening experience.
“I haven’t experienced bullying or discrimination, but I’ve struggled with self-image,” Madden said. “This play has really opened my eyes and shown me that everyone has a story. It’s made me realize that it’s OK and I’m not alone.”
“My character says, ‘We are all fighting the same battle every day. To love ourselves, as we are.’ The play has taught me that we’re all more alike than we are different, but those differences are what make us unique.”
In one scene, neighbors discussing a crime that happened the previous day blame a Muslim family.
“They don’t ever say anything rude straight to my character,” said Mona Estes, a sophomore who plays a member of the Muslim family, “but they definitely make me out to be a monster.”
Estes, who is African-American, said prior to being in the play, her definition of discrimination was limited to what she has experienced herself, including racism and sexism.
“But there is ageism and slandering those who have grown up in a different country,” she said. “Being in this play has opened my eyes to a lot of things. It’s also taught me to take more time to judge a person — their outside appearance does not always equal what’s inside. There’s a lot that I hope people learn from watching this play.”
Shaw said the show is relevant not just locally, but nationally. Data released by the FBI in 2017 indicate hate crimes are on the rise, particularly against Jews, Muslims, and LGBT people, the data shows. There were more than 6,100 reported incidents of hate crimes in 2016, up from 5,800 the year before, according to the report.
According to data released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics in 2015, white Americans use drugs more than black Americans, but blacks are arrested for drug possession more than three times as often as whites. The U.S. Sentencing Commission found that black men receive prison sentences that are 19.5 percent longer than those of white men who committed the same crimes.
The 45-minute production will be appropriate for middle and high school aged students. After each show, the cast and community members will take the stage to conduct a 15- to 20-minute "talk-back" Q&A session with audience members, who may ask questions of the cast or the director.
There will be one public performance at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, April 18. School performances will be held during the day on Friday, April 20. Schools should call Memorial Auditorium at 620-231-7827 prior to April 20 to register so seating can be reserved. There is no cost to attend and no tickets required. For more information, email Shaw at email@example.com