TUTS announces 2016 Tommy Tune Awards

HOUSTON – Theatre Under The Stars (TUTS) announced the cancellation of the 14th annual Tommy Tune Awards ceremony yesterday due to Houston’s emergency level of flooding. However, the winners of the Tommy Tune Awards, along with scholarship recipients, were announced on the Tommy Tune Awards Facebook page at 8 p.m. yesterday evening by MC Sarah Pepper of Hot 95.7.

“The Tommy Tune Awards are such an exciting time for us at TUTS, and a presentation we work year-round to bring to Houston’s musical theatre community.  It was with heavy hearts that we made the decision to cancel last night’s ceremony,” said Amy Pierce, TUTS Chairman of the Board. “This year’s student participants are all amazingly talented individuals and we celebrate their wins with them.”

Created by TUTS in 2002, the Tommy Tune Awards recognize and reward excellence in the production of musical theatre by high school students and their teachers, providing scholarships and elevating Houston’s finest to compete on the national level at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City.  After evaluating the 45 participating Houston-area high school productions during the 2015-16 school year, a team of 30 Houston-based theatre professionals made 164 nominations in 15 award categories. 

The 2016 Tommy Tune Award winners are as follows:

• Best Musical – Stratford High School – Anything Goes

• Best Leading Actor – Muhammad Yunus as Usnavi in Foster High School’s In The Heights

• Best Leading Actress – Noelle Flores as Reno Sweeney in Stratford High School’s Anything Goes

• Best Supporting Actor – Morgan Lenamon as Officer Lockstock in Pearland High School’s Urinetown
• Best Supporting Actress – Sarah Harter as Smitty in Klein High School’s How To Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

• Best Featured Performer – Kirby Morris as Chastity (Angel #2) in Stratford High School’s Anything Goes

• Best Direction – Stratford High School – Anything Goes

• Best Musical Direction – Pearland High School – Urinetown
• Best Choreography – The Kinkaid School / G.W. Carver Magnet High School - Hairspray

• Best Orchestra – Obra D. Tompkins High School – Into The Woods and Klein Oak High School – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

• Best Ensemble/Chorus – Stratford High School – Anything Goes

• Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution – Stratford High School – Anything Goes
• Best Scenic Design – Clear Springs High School - Seussical

• Best Costume Design – Stratford High School – Anything Goes

• Best Lighting Design – Obra D. Tompkins High School – Into The Woods

Scholarship Recipients

TUTS’ Tommy Tune Awards are designed not only to acknowledge remarkable musical theatre talent at the high school level, but also to encourage future artistic development.  TUTS presented eight scholarships to outstanding participating students of the Tommy Tune Awards, including the Ruth Denney Scholarship named in honor of Tune’s mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Students under consideration were required to meet specific criteria set out by the Scholarship Committee, as well as submit an application and an essay.

The winners included Ashlyn Maddox (Cypress Woods High School), Alex Goeringer (The Kinkaid School), Gabrielle Adickes (Second Baptist School), Savannah Faith Rucoba (Houston Christian High School), Emily Lawrence (Kingwood High School), Alexandra Szeto-Joe (The Kinkaid School), and Carleigh Newland (Klein Collins High School).  The prestigious Ruth Denny Scholarship, which carries an increased stipend, was presented to Ty Doran (The Kinkaid School).

Jimmy™ Awards

As Best Leading Actor and Actress, Muhammad Yunus and Noelle Flores will go on to compete at the national level for the JimmyTM Award at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City on June 27. Established in 2009, the JimmyTM Awards bring the country’s best high school performers together to compete on Broadway and are named after Broadway theatre owner and producer, James M. Nederlander.

While in New York, Jimmy™ Award participants will have the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theatre professionals, be seen by casting agents, meet and converse with Broadway actors and compete for scholarships and other prizes.  The week’s events will culminate in a live awards show where the Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented.

TUTS’ Tommy Tune Awards are named for Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus, Tommy Tune.  A performer, director, and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards® for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies.  He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President Bush.  Tune is currently taking an autobiographical stroll in Taps, Tunes and Tall Tales where he dances, sings and tale-tells through more than 50 years of showmanship.

To learn more about TUTS’ Education and Community Engagement programs, visit TUTS.com/EDU.