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Central Catholic, North Hills students win top Kelly honors

| Sunday, May 29, 2011

Central Catholic High School student Luke Halferty and North Hills High School student Kirstin Hoover won the 2011 Gene Kelly Awards for best actor and best actress Saturday night.

The awards recognized Halferty for his performance of Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof" and Hoover for her performance as Nanette in "No, No, Nanette."

As best actor and actress award recipients, Halferty and Hoover will represent Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera's Gene Kelly Awards in the third annual National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City on June 27.

In all, 21 awards were conferred last night at the 21st annual Pittsburgh Civic Light Opera Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater at the Benedum Center, Downtown.

Named for singer, dancer, actor and Pittsburgh native Gene Kelly, the awards emphasize the importance of arts education and recognize the time, energy and dedication that local high schools and students devote to their musical productions each spring.

Patterned after Broadway's Tony Awards, the ceremony included live performances from each of the nine student productions nominated for best musical. Nominees for best actor, best actress and best supporting actor and actress gave live performances.

Twenty-nine Allegheny County high schools participated in this year's competition.

Award winners

The recipients of the 2011 Gene Kelly Awards:

Best Musical

Budget Level I: Pittsburgh Schenley for "Seussical"

Budget Level II: Hampton for "West Side Story"

Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Best Actor

Luke Halferty of Central Catholic for Tevye in "Fiddler on the Roof"

Best Actress

Kirsten Hoover of North Hills for Nanette in "No, No, Nanette"

Best Actor in a Supporting Role

Matt Augustyniak of North Hills for Billy Early in "No, No, Nanette"

Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Stephanie Higgins of North Hills for Lucille Early in "No, No, Nanette"

Best Scenic Design

Budget Level I: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for "Little Shop of Horrors"

Budget Level II: Chartiers Valley for "Footloose"

Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Best Costume Design

Budget Level I: St. Joseph for "Beauty and the Beast"

Budget Level II: Central Catholic for "Fiddler on the Roof"

Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Best lighting design

Budget Level I: Our Lady of the Sacred Heart for "Little Shop of Horrors"

Budget Level II: Chartiers Valley for "Footloose"

Budget Level III: Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Best All-Student Orchestra

Pine-Richland for "Les Miserables"

Best Ensemble

North Hills for "No, No, Nanette"

Best Crew/Technical Execution

Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Best Choreography

North Hills for "No, No, Nanette"

Best Direction

Woodland Hills for "Phantom of the Opera"

Special Judges Award

Andre Rand-Mathis and TaJaya Thompson who played Thing 1 and Thing 2 in Pittsburgh Schenley's production of "Seussical"

The Charles Gray Award for Special Achievement in Arts Education

Propel East School

Scholarship winners

• Hoover and Halferty each received a four-year scholarship to Point Park University's Conservatory of Performing Arts for musical theater.

• Pittsburgh CLO presented Gene Kelly cash scholarships totaling $10,000 to five high school seniors who have applied and been accepted to a school for the performing or technical arts: Matt Augustyniak, North Hills; Ryan Baker, West Mifflin; Niles Brandon, Pine-Richland; Connor McRory, Chartiers Valley; and Hoover.

• The Pittsburgh CLO Guild presented Constance T. Rockwell scholarships, totaling $32,000, to eight high school seniors who are pursuing an education in the performing arts: Amber Ardolino, Lincoln Park Performing Arts; Matthew Augustyniak, North Hills; Christian Beck, Freedom Area; Kara Cavanaugh, Seneca Valley; Kelly Ganley, Bethel Park; Llenelle Gibson, Charleroi; Patrick McMahon, Pine-Richland; and Hoover.

• The Pittsburgh CLO Guild also presented the Dolores and Walter Bold scholarship to Hope Anthony from Montour High School and the Charity Randall Scholarship to Nicholas Morgan from Norwin High School.

• The CLO Ambassadors awarded $3,000 in scholarships to two college-bound students who will be pursuing a major outside of the arts: Rachel Sonnet from Avonworth High School and Katie Withrow from Our Lady of the Sacred Heart.

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