Woodland Hills, Elizabeth Forward, big winners with ‘Mamma Mia’ at Gene Kelly Awards | TribLIVE.com
Theater & Arts

Woodland Hills, Elizabeth Forward, big winners with ‘Mamma Mia’ at Gene Kelly Awards

Joe Napsha
Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Pine-Richland’s Tyler Hepler, winner of Best Actor in the Gene Kelly Awards
Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera
Baldwin’s Morgan Traud, who won Best Actress for her portrayal of Mame Dennis in “Mame.”

The musical “Mamma Mia!” and schools performing the popular musical turned out to be the biggest winners of the night at the Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater Saturday.

Three schools performing “Mamma Mia!” — Deer Lakes, Elizabeth Forward and Woodland Hills — won in the first, second and third budget levels respectively for best scenic design. In the best lighting category, Moon and Woodland Hills won in budget level two and three, respectively. Braddock Hills broke the string with a victory in the first budget level for “Once on This Island.”

Elizabeth Forward won for best execution of choreography, direction and musical direction, while Woodland Hills’ crew won best technical execution.

Two of three best musical awards were given, based on budget levels, to schools performing “Mamma Mia!” :

• Level I: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, “Once Upon a Mattress”

• Level II: Elizabeth Forward, “Mamma Mia!”

• Level III: Woodland Hills, “Mamma Mia!”

Pine-Richland’s Tyler Hepler was named the best actor for his portrayal of Sky Masterson in “Guys and Dolls” and Baldwin’s Morgan Traud won Best Actress for her portrayal of Mame Dennis in “Mame.”

Hepler and Traud will travel to New York City to represent Pittsburgh in the Jimmy Awards on June 24, according to the Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera, which sponsors the awards presented at the Benedum Center in Pittsburgh.

“Sister Act” was the vehicle for the best performing actor and actress. Chartiers Valley’s Samuel Kagle won for his portrayal of Eddie Souther and Rhiannon Passmore at Pittsburgh Creative and Performing Arts Magnet School won for her portrayal of Sr. Mary Lazarus.

The awards, named after East Liberty native Gene Kelly, were launched in 1991 as a means to recognize and encourage student achievement and to focus the attention of the community and school districts on the importance of musical theater and arts education. The event celebrates the power of the arts to improve all areas of education, according to the Civic Light Opera.

High school theater programs are the real winners as show business veterans and community celebrities help to spread the word about the achievements of high school students and their school’s musical theater programs, the CLO said.

See the full list of winners at www.pittsburghclo.org/education/gene-kelly-awards/gene-kelly-award-winners.

Joe Napsha is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe at 724-836-5252, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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