Each year, the Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards give out thousands of dollars in training scholarships from organizations across the area to outstanding participating students. And though this year’s Awards have gone virtual (join us Sunday, May 31st at 7:30pm), there are still scholarships to be announced!
The Scholarship Committee has thoroughly reviewed all applications for this year, and recipients have been selected. So let’s get to it!
Receiving the 2020 GAHSMTA Training Scholarship from the Long Center’s College Audition Program is… ERICA CORTINA from Weiss High School!
Erika’s scholarship includes full tuition for the CAP program, as well as general college application support and writing assistance from Dr. Susan Ansorge.
At CAP, Austin-area high school students take their theatre careers to the next level. Individualized consultation, specialized training, and practical preparation help students gain the skills and confidence to tackle the college audition process. The program culminates in a group trip to Chicago’s Unified Auditions.
Former students have attended such prestigious schools as The Boston Conservatory, Carnegie Mellon, CCM, Millikin, DePaul, USC, Boston University, UNCSA, OU, and so many more.
Congratulations to the CAP class of 2020 on your college commitments!
Josh Nett DePaul, Acting
Evan Vines Carnegie Mellon, Acting
Hannah Sedlacek Pepperdine University, Musical Theatre
Maryanna Tollemache Malloy College/CAP 21, Musical Theatre
Cassie Martin Pace, Acting
Jordan Williams Pace, Musical Theatre
Colette Phillips Millikin University, Musical Theatre
Roselyn Gray AMDA, Acting
Justin Duggan Roosevelt University, Acting
Abigail Storm Ball State University, Musical Theatre
Abbie Brown Long Island University Post, Musical Theatre
Breckin Murphy Texas Tech University, Musical Theatre
Receiving the 2020 GAHSMTA Training Scholarship from Texas Arts Project is… CHRISTIAN BROWN from St. Andrew’s Episcopal School!
The sleepaway training camp is on pause this year, but that doesn’t stop Texas Arts Project. The TAP team is taking training online with On TAP, a virtual intensive focused on private coaching plus building and clarifying your online presence as a performer and a professional.
Receiving the 2020 GAHSMTA Training Scholarships from Zach Theatre’s Pre-Professional Company are… MCKENLEE WILSON & HELENA LAING
The ZACH Theatre Pre-Professional Company (PPC) is an audition-based program for serious students looking for a professional training experience in Musical Theatre. PPC students study year-round in a conservatory-style structure.
Congratulations 2020 training scholarship recipients! Best of luck on your next adventure!
FINDING MY PASSION FOR THE ARTS AT HOME
Like many celebrities, Christian Brown has “it” — a huge personality, he’s adored by students and faculty, a great student, positive, athletic, genuine and loyal. However, as a rising senior it’s the theater that has his heart. Every day his mother drives him from Killeen to the St. Andrew’s Upper School campus in Southwest Austin, starting early to beat traffic. Based on school and rehearsal schedules, Christian may not get home until 11:00pm or midnight. But it’s all worth it.
Christian joined cheer as a freshman and then tech theater the next year when all the art classes were full. After that year’s musical closed, Rick Garcia, the St. Andrew’s Upper School Theater Director, asked Christian if he could sing. He auditioned on the spot, igniting his passion for the performing arts.
Christian was accepted into Zach’s prestigious Pre-Professional Company for aspiring musical theater students and at the end of his sophomore year received his first Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Award nomination for Best supporting Actor in Jesus Christ Superstar. At the time, he didn’t know what ‘GAHSMTA’ was but knew he wanted to be a part of it.
After his first vocal rehearsal with Ginger Morris, Director of Long Center Education and Outreach (Edu), and Adam Roberts, Musical Director for Long Center Edu, he cried on the drive back home to Killeen that night. “I knew from that moment on that I could perform,” said Christian.
Performing on stage at the Long Center in front of a sold-out, extremely passionate crowd of almost 2,500 was what he called a ‘life-affirming moment’ that he will never forget. That sense of purpose and presence also confirmed all his feelings about his future.
Last fall, he auditioned for Select Ensemble, an intensive GAHSMTA program that begins in October with regular rehearsals, professional training, special performances, and public relations. It culminates in the Awards show each April that sells out in minutes — an event as big as prom and graduation that’s called ‘Austin’s version of the Tony Awards,’ complete with its own red carpet.
It was devastating when the Awards were cancelled this year. “When the pandemic first struck, I thought we were just going to be out a couple of weeks. We were all born after 9/11. We’ve never had to experience anything like this. This has been the biggest uncertainty of our lifetime. It was the first time we had to be adults,” said Christian.
Early on when shelter in place was just beginning, his mom asked him if the pandemic made him question if theater was his calling. But after some lengthy Zoom calls, plans were made for the official launch of the virtual GAHSMTA!
“They gave us the run down from the costumes to the choreography. It was nerve-wracking trying to film and learn everything from home, but then it became the reason I started getting out of bed. The show quickly turned into something that excited me and something to look forward to.”
Working on the Awards has been a haven for kids like Christian, who has remained in Killeen since March. “Art gave us an outlet and a chance to calm down and breathe. To be able to get on Zoom and see my friends and crack jokes and work on this program has been a stress reliever and motivator,” he said.
“The arts give me purpose at a time when everything is on pause. People I didn’t even know a year ago have become some of my best friends. We all come from different backgrounds and schools and different areas of Central Texas, and not one of us is the same.”
“The dance training from Sara Burke, Long Center Edu Choreographer/Dance Instructor, is fantastic; Adam is so good at what he does and has the best ear. Ginger is such a strong leader and her presence is calming and motivating.”
“Through the Long Center, I’ve gained the best connections, friendships, and training. I’ve gained confidence from doing shows and networking with producers. I wouldn’t be where I am without the Long Center’s connections and training.”
“My dream is to work towards a scholarship and attend a musical theatre school, move to NYC and make it on Broadway, then head to Hollywood. Eventually I want to come back to Austin and give back to the community. I’d love to teach at one of our local high schools and be like my director Rick Garcia and all the people who have impacted me so much. I want to let other poor, black, gay kids know that they can do it too,” said Christian.
Christian just got a job at Sonic for the summer and will be taking online dance classes before heading back to St. Andrew’s for his Senior year.
Support GAHSMTA, a year-long, free program for thousands of Central Texas students by becoming a Long Center Member for $10 a month or donating the cost of a ticket. And don’t forget to watch the Awards at 7:30pm, May 31st! Join our mailing list to make sure you’re getting the latest details.
Every week, the Mid-Week Intermission features what members of our staff and community are tuning into virtually, but today we wanted to take a moment to feature some of the students participating in this weekend’s Greater Austin High School Musical Theatre Awards.
Words cannot describe how excited we are to have the opportunity to still host this year’s Awards ceremony via YouTube this Sunday at 7:30pm. Our GAHSMTA Digital Creative Team and the students involved have poured their hearts into this project in order to re-imagine this event for the digital world. Hear from a few of the students about their experience and some of their favorite memories!
Hello! My name’s Evan Vines, and I am part of the graduating class of 2020 and can’t wait to finish off my high school experience with this year’s virtual GAHSMTA! I will be participating as a performer of Select Ensemble and am very excited to also be nominated in the category of Best Actor in a Leading Role, making it the third year that I have been nominated in this category.
I’m really looking forward to this year’s virtual GAHSMTA and the amount of creativity and passion that will be presented in this very unique show. Nothing can beat the memory of the crowd roaring when the curtains first opened last year and performing in such fun medleys with the nicest, amazingly-talented people.
This whole process taught me how to make do with what I have. I am very happy that I was able to still have fun performing and using my creativity to my advantage in order to entertain people in my own unique fashion.
Hi! I’m McKenlee Wilson, I’m 16 and I’ve been performing for about 13 years. I was nominated for Best Actress in a Leading Role as Ariel in the Little Mermaid. (I also really love chocolate chip cookies!)
One of my favorite GAHSMTA memories is from this year’s Nominations when they were announcing the nominees for Best Actress and my name was called! It was a crazy, unreal feeling and I’m so honored to have been nominated among so many other talented young ladies.
I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone’s creativity at home and getting together (virtually, of course) to celebrate all of our hard work and accomplishments.
My name is Abigail Storm, I’m a member of the Long Center’s Select Ensemble and am going to be a freshman musical theatre major at Ball State University in the fall.
My favorite memory is performing ‘Proud Mary’ on Nomination Day — Chrisitan rocked the house and even though that was a wicked dance number, it was a blast.
I am looking forward to the nominee medley — they’re always my favorite part and I’m so excited to see this year’s.
Make sure to tune in — help us give students like Evan, McKenlee, and Abigail their moment in the spotlight and share their excitement with the entire community. Help support the future of GAHSMTA and arts education by donating the cost of a ticket today.
POSTED ON MAY 19, 2020 BY LONG
This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our friend Justin Sherburn, composer & bandleader of Montopolis (and a Texas landscape aficionado). Photo credit: Sarah Annie Navarrete.
I first performed at the Long Center in 2010 with a beloved production by Tongue and Groove Theater called “The Red Balloon.” That show helped me coalesce some musicians that would later become my group “Montopolis.”
For the past ten years, I have had the honor of composing for these amazing artists with backgrounds in jazz, classical, and just about every other genre of music. We started out performing live scores to silent films, and now we create elaborate multimedia concerts with film and live narrators. There’s always a new challenge, and ti’s always pretty fun making art with my friends.
HERE’S HOW I’M SPENDING MY FREE TIME THIS WEEK
Violinist Leigh Mahoney and I have played tango at Esquina Tango for years. They are broadcasting all kinds of music, dance, and yoga classes right now. I don’t dance or do yoga much, but I like checking in on these wild Argentinians. Monica and Gustavo are always in a good mood!
My wife gave me this book by local author Jesse Sublett for my birthday. It’s a deep dive into some charismatic criminals that came to fame in 1960s’ Austin.
I’ve been researching drive-in movie theaters as potential new venues across the nation. This site is incredible. I have yet to reach out to the folks who created it, but I am very impressed with their passion for these venues and the attention to detail in their documentation. The site gives accurate, updated information on the current status of a truly American cultural phenomenon.
I bough a pizza pan and have been making my own pizzas. Best investment I ever made. It also takes me back to when I worked at Avanti’s Pizza in Fort Worth in high school. Good times.
WHAT MONTOPOLIS IS UP TO
We are all looking forward to our live concert that will be featured on the Long Center’s Facebook page on May 23. We’ll be performing abridged versions of our shows about Big Bend National Park and the Texas coast. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to play with Montopolis again and grateful to The University of Texas at Austin, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Long Center for helping us make this happen.
This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our partner and friend Tamra Jones, Public Affairs Manager for H-E-B. As a Texan who helps Texans during the workweek, let’s see what Tamra is tuning in to when she’s off the clock.
Tamra Jones here, from H-E-B. Most days, you can find me working behind the scenes coordinating our Partner volunteer and community engagements. H-E-B is a long-running supporter of the Long Center, where we’ve celebrated our 80th anniversary, hosted our Volunteer Partner Summit, and recognized our signature Women of Distinction Partners. The Long Center will especially always have a special place in my families’ heart because my daughter held her wedding the Kodosky Lounge a couple of years ago.
HERE’S HOW I’M SPENDING MY FREE TIME THIS WEEK
VIRTUAL ZUMBA CON DANITZA
Monday & Wednesday
Danitza keeps us dancing like no one’s watching, but in reaity, we are watching each other shake, shimmy, and hop from Lizzo to reggaeton to salsa. These workouts and this dance network have bonded us together while we stay home and continue to be active. Shout out to Foundation Communities for providing this service for free. P.S. you WILL be sore for 1-2 days after Danitza’s energetic workouts!
Speaking of music and dancing…
DJ MEL’S LIVING ROOM DANCE PARTY
Saturdays on Twitch / 6pm
DJ Mel’s Living Room Dance Party is a chill way to end my workweek and a great way to start the weekend! Plus, it’s described as a “germ-free, non-stop dance mix for you and your loved ones – all in the safety of your own home.” Put away the hand-sanitizer, move the furniture, and tune in. You can also participate by donating to local non-profits and show off your fly dance moves via Zoom!
And another personal long-time favorite…
AUSTIN CITY LIMITS LIVE
I miss live shows! I was able to catch Harry Connick, Jr., at the Long Center right before the shutdown. I loved Lukas Nelson’s show at ACL Live a while back and caught the re-broadcast of the concert last week. Check ’em out and tune in for their next viewing. The sound quality is superb and the behind the scenes insight from Austin City Limits Live staffers is priceless and humorous, too.
In the spirit of Texans helping Texans, we launched a foodie-inspired pilot program to help restaurants during the coronavirus crisis. Through these partnerships, select H-E-B stores sell ready-made meals from Austin locals Ramen Tatsu-ya, Fresa’s Chicken, and Picnik Austin. All proceeds from the sales of these chef-prepared meals will go directly to the restaurants. Find the location nearest you here.
Share what you are up to by using #TexansHelpingTexans
In the spirit of Texas and uplifting our community, we would love for you to inspire others and share how YOU are helping someone else.
Shoutout to our essential workers, first responders, frontline professionals, local restaurants, and our dedicated H-E-B Partners!
Stay healthy and helpful,
This week’s Mid-Week Intermission features our Marketing Coordinator, Sophia Lawson. She’s the most stylish person you’ll ever meet, has the 3-1-1 on the best shows to attend on any given night, and knows what pizza joint to hit up after.
I’m Sophia Lawson, the Long Center’s resident Marketing Coordinator and local music lover. Usually, when I’m not marketing music, or listening to it, I’m out on Red River photographing it.
I started photographing local bands 8 years ago when I moved home to Austin from college. Upon my arrival, I lucked out with the coolest internship ever: a photography internship at the Mohawk. I photographed local and national acts 7 days a week. It’s been years since I completed my internship, but I still venture out to Mohawk, Barracuda, or Cheer Up Charlie’s to get my fill of live music and shoot my favorite artists.
I’ve shuffled through my archive and picked out some of my favorite shots along with must-hear songs from each featured band. Read on to find your new #CreateInPlace jam!
HERE ARE FIVE BANDS YOU SHOULD CHECK OUT IMMEDIATELY
Retro pop-rock // for fans of Sunflower Bean, La Luz, BRONCHO
Annabelle Chairlegs has been one of my favorite local bands for a while now. Lindsey Mackin’s cagey vocals are what sweet psychedelic dreams are made of, and easily make songs like ‘Watermelon Summer’ and ‘Street Urchins’ get stuck in my head. Not like that’s a bad thing, you know?
Single song pick: ‘Candy Apple Red’ (Candy Apple Red, 2019)
Bedroom pop // for fans of The Beths, Soccer Mommy, Snail Mail
When I saw that Why Bonnie would be opening for Nada Surf at Mohawk in February, I knew I had to give them a listen. I worship Nada Surf, so I could only assume that I’d like Why Bonnie – and I was right! Their new EP Voice Box was released last month via Fat Possum Records, and it’s been my go-to for my early morning walks.
Single song pick: ‘Voice Box’ (Voice Box, 2020)
Post-punk // for fans of Beach Fossils, DIIV, Real Estate
I can’t talk about local bands without mentioning my friends, Glaze. I met the shoegazey trio through my best friend a few years ago and have been a superfan ever since. Last summer, Glaze released their EP GlazeTV and their song ‘Valentine’ has made appearances on many of my personal playlists.
Single song pick: ‘Valentine’ (GlazeTV, 2019)
Indie rock // for fans of Ben Lee, Ben Folds, The Bens
If you missed Ben Kweller at Blues on the Green last year, well, you missed out. Ben’s songs are like summer anthems, which is why you need to add his classics like ‘Sundress’ and ‘Commerce, TX’ to your next playlist. Also, don’t quote me on this, but I’m almost positive that Blues on the Green 2019 witnessed the first performance of his new single, ‘Starz.’
Single song pick: ‘Starz’ (Starz, 2020)
A GIANT DOG
Rock n’ roll // for fans of Mike Krol, Sheer Mag, Priests
Lately, like a lot of folks I’ve been talking with, I haven’t had too much energy in quarantine. I get a little lazy… but that’s where A Giant Dog comes in. I listen to A Giant Dog when I need that extra burst of energy. Whether that’s when I’m cleaning my apartment or going out for a run – I’m listening to A Giant Dog to get pumped. The key is to listen to their songs at the highest volume possible. I mean, you have to! It’s A Giant Dog.
Single song pick: ‘I’ll Come Crashing’ (Toy, 2017)
There are so, so many incredible Austin bands. And with that, I hope you will remember 2 things:
- This list is a small sample of all the amazing music Austin produces.
- A quote from the great Neil Young: Hey hey, my my, Rock and Roll can never die.