Two central Ohio students will appear on Broadway in New York City later this month, thanks to the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts' inaugural CAPA Marquee Awards program.
The awards, recognizing high school students' musical-theater talent, were presented June 3 at the Lincoln Theatre, 769 E. Long St., Columbus.
Receiving top honors were Caleb Jingo, who won an award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of Carl Hanratty in Westerville South High School's "Catch Me If You Can," and Dublin Jerome High School's Maeve Gallagher, who won for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her portrayal of Cinderella in "Into the Woods."
Amy Handra, CAPA's director of education, said three adjudicators visited 10 high school productions and submitted scores for each contest category between Jan. 10 and April 28.
She said the CAPA Marquee Awards is a feeder program for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards, and includes more than 100,000 students at 1,700 high schools that participate in musical-theater competitions sponsored by presenters of touring Broadway productions throughout the U.S.
Jingo and Gallagher have been designated as Jimmy Award nominees and will receive a CAPA-sponsored trip to attend "Jimmys Week" Monday, June 17, through June 25 in New York City, where they will receive professional training with theater professionals and industry experts, Handra said.
They also will compete at Broadway's Minskoff Theatre on June 24 for the 2019 Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor and the 2019 Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actress.
"For me, to have won Best Actor in a Leading Role means more than words can say," Jingo said. "I have exceeded even my own wildest expectations. It is utterly crazy to believe that I get to perform on a Broadway stage a mere month after graduating."
He said CAPA's Marquee program is representative of the passion for the arts in Columbus, and it's hopefully just the jumping-off point for future generations of artists in central Ohio.
Jingo plans to attend Ohio Northern University this fall to pursue a bachelor's degree in musical theater.
Gallagher, a junior at Dublin Jerome, said she's so excited for the amazing opportunity she has been given.
"It's crazy," she said. "I never would have thought this would have ever happened. I didn't plan a speech because I'm seriously blown away."
Eastmoor Academy High School won for Best Musical Production and Outstanding Ensemble for "Rent (School Edition)."
Seth Harms, Eastmoor's theater director, received resounding applause when accepting the Marquee Award for Best Musical.
"Thank you so very much, CAPA, Amy Handra, for recognizing the excellence that takes place on high school stages on a day-in, day-out, on a monthly basis," he said. "This is fantastic."
Harms said Eastmoor theater tells stories of the people in the community and stories outside the community, and he appreciates the recognition of the students.
"Thank you for the recognition of us being exceptional," he said.
Winning the Marquee Award for Best Direction was Cathy Swain-Abrams for Olentangy Orange High School's production of "Seussical."
"I'm very humbled by this award," she said. "My students, oh my gosh, thank you for all you give. You let me make art with you, and that's such a gift. You give people the gift of feeling. And with this show, it was joy and wonder."
The Marquee Award for Outstanding Student Orchestra went to Hilliard Darby High School for "Young Frankenstein."
Alice Prosser, who plays bass, accepted the award on the orchestra's behalf.
"Thanks to everyone," she said. "It was the hardest music I ever played. I loved every second of it."
Other winners included:
Backstage Excellence -- the set and stage crew of Olentangy Orange's "Seussical."
Outstanding Technical Achievement -- tie between Dublin Jerome's Grace Mayo for scenic design and Caitlin O'Brien for stage management for "Into the Woods."
Best Actor in a Supporting Role -- Mikey Masciola of Olentangy Orange for his role as JoJo in "Seussical."
Best Actress in a Supporting Role -- Caroline Darling of Thomas Worthington High School for her role as Eve in "Children of Eden."
Modeled after the Tony Awards, the event included live performances from the nominees for best musical, actor and actress, as well as opening and closing numbers that featured nominated students from all participating high schools.
Handra said applications were accepted in September for any private, public or charter school in a seven-county radius to participate in the Marquee Awards program to commemorate CAPA's 50th-anniversary celebration.
The first 10 schools that applied and met the requirements were accepted into the program, which is expected to expand, Handra said.
The 10 chosen were Watterson, Dublin Jerome, Eastmoor, Groveport Madison, Hilliard Darby, Olentangy Orange, Pickerington North, Thomas Worthington, Westerville Central and Westerville South.
Their musical-theater students had opportunities to attend free master classes with the casts of national touring productions, including "Rent" and "Aladdin," and they participated in workshops for dancing, singing and acting.
Handra said she had the pleasure of seeing all 10 musical performances throughout the year, as well as rehearsals for the awards program's Student Showcase.
"I have been impressed how they support each other, encourage each other and rise to every bar we set," Handra said.
She said applications for the 2019-20 Marquee Awards will open on CAPA's website, capamarqueeawards.com, at noon Sept. 4.
All participation information for next year is expected to be updated and on the website in late July.
Chad Whittington, CAPA president and CEO, said there are a lot of incredibly talented students in central Ohio.
He said it isn't only about the award winners but also the incredible talent of more than 740 students and staff who participated this year.
The Jimmy Awards will be streamed live at 7:30 p.m. June 24 at JimmyAwards.com.
Named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander, the program has been the catalyst for more than $2 million in educational scholarships.
For more information, visit JimmyAwards.com.