WITH MOST SCHOOLS UNABLE TO PRODUCE MUSICALS, TUTS HAS FOUND ANOTHER WAY TO SUPPORT HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE IN LIEU OF THE TOMMY TUNE AWARDSThis morning, Theatre Under The Stars announced a special program — the TUTS High School Musical Theatre Celebration— that will take place this spring in lieu of the 2021 Tommy Tune Awards program and show, which will not take place this year due to the ongoing pandemic.
TUTS is inviting students to submit a video highlighting an innovative way they’ve found to create musical theatre art throughout the pandemic. Songs must be either an original work or, if it is an existing song in the musical theatre canon, done with piano accompaniment or a capella. Videos must be between 90 seconds and two minutes in length, and must be submitted to TUTS by Sunday, March 31.
Submissions will be featured on the TUTS Facebook page from April to May, and will culminate in a special live event episode of the TUTS Spotlight Webcast on Sunday, May 16.
“Since most schools are unable to produce shows right now, we wanted to find a way to continue to celebrate high school musical theatre,” said Israel Jimenez, Director of Community Engagement for TUTS. “We’re so excited to honor the creativity and resilience of Houston’s talented students.”
The Tommy Tune Awards, which began in 2002, celebrates musical theatre productions in Houston-area schools. The annual high school musical theatre awards program traditionally sends industry professionals, serving as adjudicators, to attend the participating high school musical theatre productions. Students compete in multiple categories related to performance and production skills. The awards ceremony traditionally takes place at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts, allowing nominated schools to perform segments of their productions for a packed house of enthusiastic students, arts educators, families and arts supporters. Last May, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was moved online, where over 2,300 people viewed the show on Facebook and YouTube.
“This is a difficult time for all non-profit performing arts organizations, but we continue to stay true to our mission and enrich lives everyday,” said Hillary Hart, Executive Director of TUTS. “Though certainly no substitute for the in person experience, we are proud to offer new and innovative ways for our community to stay connected, support our students, and celebrate the transformative and healing power of musical theatre.”
During the pandemic, TUTS has brought Houstonians live streaming concerts featuring renowned Broadway stars. The 52-year-old non-profit organization has also continued to serve the Houston community through it’s two theatre schools, The River and the Humphreys School of Musical Theatre. Both education programs have adapted by offering online courses for their students. Additionally through the company’s Public Works Houston program, TUTS works with five community partners providing teaching artists and programming specifically tailored to meet the needs of the partners. TUTS also partnered with Kinder HSPVA to provide teaching artists and curriculum for the school’s musical theatre track.
More information about the TUTS High School Musical Theatre Celebration can be found on the TUTS website.