Hampton's 'Big Fish' reels in 10 Kelly Award nominations
Hampton High School's spring musical production, “Big Fish,” was a whopper for the judges in the 27th Annual Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater.
The show received 10 nominations, including Best Musical and Best Ensemble Cast.
Hampton also received “Best” nominations for the categories Scenic Design, Costume Design, Lighting Design, All-Student Orchestra, Music, Choreography, Crew and Direction.
The show was presented at Hampton on April 7, 8, 21 and 22.
“Big Fish” tells the larger-than-life tale of Edward Bloom, a man who leads an extraordinary life according to the stories he tells his son, Will. But Will, who is getting married and expecting a child of his own, doesn't think there's any truth to the extravagant tales his father tells.
Big Fish” was directed by Dan Franklin, fine arts and theater instructor and drama club adviser at Hampton. The spring musical featured a cast of 57 high school students and 12 third- and fourth-graders. There were approximately 140 students involved with cast and crew, according to Franklin.
Co-director and choreographer Jennifer Lavella said schools with best musical nominations perform one show number at the May 27 awards ceremony. Hampton will perform “Be the Hero,” which features the full cast.
Lavella said the cast must pull off the performance rehearsing only the day of the event, including just 15 minutes with a professional orchestra.
‘It's fast-paced, but a really fun day,” she said.
Lavella said she wasn't too surprised by the “Best Musical” nomination since the show was “phenomenal.” A teacher at the senior high, she noted the competition in Allegheny County is “so talented.”
The Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, which sponsors the competition, said 27 schools participated and qualified for nominations this year.
Hampton also was nominated for best musical in 2016 for “Spamalot.”
Lavella said it was great teaching such a wide-range of dance styles in this production and acknowledged student choreographer Braylee Gaertner for her hard work as well.
“Win or lose, it's great to know that the kids have been recognized for their hard work and talents,” said Lavella.
Orchestra director Ryan Meyer, who is also a music teacher at Hampton, said his orchestra students were excited to hear about the nominations, especially the music-related nods, and said it is a “testament to everything they have done to help make the Hampton High School musical a success.”
Hampton competes in Budget Level II, along with Woodland Hills, Elizabeth-Forward, Pittsburgh Central Catholic and other high schools.
The Kelly Awards are named in honor of the legendary dancer/singer/actor from Pittsburgh. The May 27 awards show will be at 7:30 p.m. at the Benedum Center in downtown Pittsburgh.
Natalie Beneviat is a Tribune-Review contributor.