National Youth Theatre Awards

The Vally Youth Theatre production of Alice in Wonderland is nominated for several National Youth Theatre Awards

The Western regional ceremony of the National Youth Theatre Awards takes place this Sun, Aug 21, at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

Participating theaters include several who are also eligible for AriZoni Awards, as well as some who don’t participate in the AriZonis — including Valley Youth Theatre of Phoenix.

Valley Youth Theatre is nominated in several categories, including outstanding production (“Grease”) and outstanding ensemble (“Alice in Wonderland” and “Grease”).

I’m partial to the ensemble category because I’m big on recognizing the collective work of youth, and felt proud last year when my daughter Lizabeth was part of the cast honored for their performance of “The Laramie Project” with Greasepaint Youtheatre and QSpeak.

In addition to VYT, ensemble nominees this year are Starlight Community Theatre, Desert Stages Theatre, East Valley Children’s Theatre, Actor’s Youth Theatre, Creative Stages Youth Theatre, Desert Foothills Theater, Spotlight Youth Theatre and Greasepaint Youtheatre. (Musical Theatre of Anthem is an outstanding ensemble nominee in the junior division.)

The Starlight Community Theater production of The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee is one of several outstanding ensemble nominees

Also Mesa High School (“Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat”) and Xavier/Brophy Theatre (“Fiddler on the Roof”). Mesa High School is also nominated for outstanding set design (also for “Joseph”) and Xavier/Brophy for outstanding lead actor in a musical (also for “Fiddler”).

Other Valley schools nominated for a 2010-2011 National Youth Theatre Award are Horizon High School and Sandra Day O’Connor High School. Schools and theater companies from other Western states, including Arkansas, Colorado and Texas, are nominated for awards as well.

The awarding organization recently changed its name and focus — from National Youth Theatre Awards to National Youth Arts — and reports plans to honor youth music, dance, film and writing as well.

The Western regional ceremony this weekend will also honor achievements in outstanding youth orchestra and y0uth choral performance.

The Musical Theatre of Anthem production of Honk! is also a National Youth Theatre Awards nominee (Photo by Olga Smirnoff)

Creative Stages Youth Theatre, soon to open its third season, is the sole orchestra nominee — for “Merry Christmas Frankenstein.” Choral performance nominees include Horizon High School for “Phantom of the Opera Medley” performed at their “Broadway Under the Stars 2010” event and Valley Youth Theatre for “Imagine” performed at their “The Most VYTal Event of the Season 2010” event.

Valley Youth Theatre’s “Most VYTal Event 2011” takes place Sat, Aug 20 at the Herberger Theater Center — making this an especially busy weekend for VYT, which is also performing “Hairspray” at the Herberger Theater Center through Aug 28.

The Valley Youth Theatre production of Grease is also nominated for several National Youth Theatre Awards

Valley Youth Theatre has another reason to celebrate this week as Emma Stone — who performed with VYT before launching her movie career —  stars in a newly-released (though long publicized) movie called “The Help.” Lizabeth and I are eager to see the film, which also stars Tony Award winner Viola Davis.

Appearing with Tony Award winners in lovely, but I’m eager for the day when Valley youth start bringing home their own Tony Awards. In the meantime, it’s a thrill to watch them participate in ceremonies for the National Youth Theatre Awards and the AriZoni Awards.

— Lynn

Note: Congratulations to 21st annual Business in the Arts Awards winners –Rural Metro/Southwest Ambulance (large business), Changing Hands Bookstore (small business), Vern Mathen (advocate), Zelda Faigen (board member) and Elizabeth Berkshire (volunteer).

Coming up: Lynn and Liz explore the Lied Discovery Children’s Museum in Las Vegas, “Stage Mom” reviews “The Help,” From childhood crush to CloPet

Update: Click here to see a list of winners and here to see a list of additional nominees

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