By Hayden Wiggs

EXTRA (from left) - Jacob Lenz, Nick Warren, Presley Dale, Karrie Bryson, Hayes Stewart, and Trevor Dodge
Enjoying the red carpet arrival to the Shuler Awards were (L-R): Jacob Lenz, Nick Warren, Presley Dale, Karrie Bryson, Hayes Stewart, and Trevor Dodge. Photo credit: David Hanks

The tenth annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards (colloquially known as the Shuler Awards) were held at Atlanta’s Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center on April 18, 2019. The Shuler Awards are an annual celebration of achievements in high school musical theatre across the state. Much like Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Shulers recognize accomplishments in all categories both on and off the stage.

The Buford High School Wolf Pack Players submitted their production of Company for adjudication. The musical earned three nominations for Kimberly Staples’ costume design, Best Ensemble, and Best Performance by a Leading Actress for Chloe Bonds’ performance as “Joanne”. Company was also recognized in the Honorable Mention category, earning nods for Direction (Kimberly Staples), Choreography (Ashley Smith), Best Performance by a Leading Actor (Trevor Dodge as “Robert”), Best Performance by a Supporting Actress (Keighly Brown as “Marta”), and Overall Production. Of her recognition, Keighly said she was “so excited to receive an honorable mention. It’s always so nice to be recognized for something I love doing; theatre will always be my number one passion.”

Keighly Brown and Jesse Hanks
Keighly Brown and Jesse Hanks waiting for the event to begin. Photo credit: David Hanks

Students from the department were also featured in the Shulers’ Opening and Closing Numbers. Junior Jesse Hanks and senior Keighly Brown performed on the Cobb Energy stage in explosive dance numbers that introduced and concluded the ceremony. “We rehearsed the Friday, Saturday, and Wednesday before the show, and then the day of,” said Jesse Hanks when asked about the preparation process. “I was in a section from On the Town, and in a special ballet part along with being in the front line at the end, all in Opening Number. Everyone there was super friendly and made it so fun.” Keighly was also featured in a solo and trio in the closing number, “Come Alive”. “I am so glad I was chosen to be in the Shuler Ensemble,” she said. “I was able to perform on live television, which is something I’ve never done before. It was also super cool to be able to put together two performance-ready numbers in such a short time.” Their performance, as well as that of Chloe Bonds’ in the Leading Actress medley,  were the highlights of the night.

A replay of the 2019 Awards can be viewed on the Arts Bridge Foundation website.


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