Saugus High School’s theater arts program took home three Jerry Herman High School Musical Theatre awards, which honor excellence in public and private high school theater performances, Monday.
The high school was nominated in eight out of 12 categories and won awards for Best Ensemble, Best Musical Direction and Best Live Performance.
“When they called our name we were so surprised,” Saugus High School Theater Director Gina Painter said. “We weren’t expecting since it was our first year out so I think that added to how amazing it was.”
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.
This was Saugus High School’s first time entering the awards. The program received nominations and awards for its production of “Fiddler on the Roof.”
The high school was also one of three schools chosen to perform its opening number on the Pantages Theatre stage in Hollywood during Monday’s awards show.
“That was really the highlight of the evening,” Painter said. “It was an incredible experience for them they were flying for the whole night.”
Before their performance, the students also had a chance to explore the sets, dressing rooms and backstage areas of the Pantages Theatre, which is currently presenting “The Book of Mormon.”
“We got there early for our sound check and the kids got to look backstage and see the dressing rooms of the Pantages,” Painter said. “Being in a professional setting like that is just an incredible experience whether you win a trophy or not.”
Painter said another highlight for the students was reconnecting with students from other high schools they met at award shows and festivals earlier in the year.
“It was a good night, it was fun,” she said. “One of the best things about these award shows and festivals is that we get to know students at other schools.”
The group also appreciated seeing students from high schools across California perform and share their talent with the audience.
“The talent around southern California is pretty spectacular too… Being able to see other schools and watch what they’re doing and hear the best actor and actress nominees perform was incredible,” Painter said. “There’s amazing theater in California.”
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