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Stars of tomorrow shine at ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards


Sophia Donnell (left) and Casey Likes (right) pose with Colleen Jennings-Roggensack after accepting their awards for best lead female and best lead male. Photo by Tim Trumble

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June 06, 2019

The fifth annual ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards took the stage on Saturday, May 25. The Tony Awards-inspired red-carpet affair included performances from nominated high schools and the announcement of the winners in 14 categories. 

Mingus Union High School won the best musical award for its production of "Newsies." Casey Likes of Chandler High School won best lead male for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in "Les Miserables." Sophia Donnell of Hamilton High School won best lead female for her performance of Jo March in "Little Women." 

Likes and Donnell will spend a week in New York City where they will compete in The Jimmy Awards (named after the famed Broadway producer, James M. Nederlander) on June 24 at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway.  Students from across the nation will participate in trainings with professionals with the hopes of winning the nationwide title of best performance by an actor or best performance by an actress. 

The ASU Gammage Leadership Award is presented to graduating seniors for their leadership not only on the stage, but in their community and school. This year, both Gianna Agostinelli from Chaparral High School and Christian Perez from Shadow Ridge High School took home the award, along with $500 to use toward furthering their education. 

“The ASU Gammage High School Musical Theatre Awards is an event that allows us to showcase some of the incredible talent in younger generations right here in Arizona,” said Colleen Jennings-Roggensack, executive director of ASU Gammage and ASU vice president for cultural affairs.  

The students of Mingus Union High School perform a number from "Newsies" at ASU Gammage on May 25. Photo by Tim Trumble

Participating schools included American Leadership Academy — Ironwood, American Leadership Academy — Queen Creek, Arizona School for the Arts, Casteel High School, Centennial High School, Chandler High School, Chaparral High School, Desert Mountain High School, Dobson High School, Hamilton High School, Higley High School, Marcos DNiza High School, Maricopa High School, Mesa High School, Millennium High School, Mingus Union High School, Mountain View High School, Phoenix Country Day School, Queen Creek High School, Red Mountain High School, Saguaro High School, Shadow Mountain High School, Shadow Ridge High School, South Mountain High School, Valley Vista High School and Williams Field High School.  

Winners were selected by a panel of adjudicators comprised of theater professionals, teachers and enthusiasts in Arizona. The adjudicators attended the participating high schools’ performances and submitted scores and feedback. 

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