For the first time, Saugus High School’s theater arts program was nominated for eight Jerry Herman High School Musical Theatre Awards, which honor excellence in public and private high school theater performances.
“We are so surprised and so thrilled,” Saugus High School Theater Director Gina Painter said. “It’s really exciting to put our names out there and be nominated, we’re really honored.”
Established in 2009, the Jerry Herman Awards aim to elevate the importance of theatre arts education in school and reward excellence in student performance, according to the organization’s website.
Public and private high schools from across Los Angeles County submit their productions for consideration in the 12 different performance and technical award categories each year.
This was Saugus High School’s first time entering in the awards. The program received nominations in eight categories for its production of “Fiddler on the Roof,” which tells the story of Tevye, a poor milkman, as he weighs his family’s happiness against his village’s century-long traditions.
Nominations for the school include: best orchestra, best ensemble/chorus, best technical crew, best staging/choreography, best musical direction, best supporting actor for Mikey Burson who played Perchik, best supporting actress for Bethany Farnell who played Yente and best production.
Painter said she was most excited about the school’s nominations for best staging/choreography and best production.
“We work hard for a really long time,” she said. “I had auditions in November, we started learning music in December and then came back full-force in January.”
On Monday, Saugus High School also found out that it was one of three schools chosen to perform its opening number on the Pantages Theatre in Hollywood.
“They’re over the moon that they get to perform on the Pantages Stage,” Painter said. “Because we were invited to the opening number tradition, they’re all getting to perform since they’re all in that opening number.”
Painter attributes Saugus High School’s success to the dedication and passion of her students, who spend countless hours rehearsing every year.
“I think the students here just work really hard,” she said. “We’re really meticulous about every detail. They’ve put in hours and hours of work.”
The awards will be announced and presented to schools at the 6th Annual Jerry Herman Awards June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Pantages Theatre.
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