Regional high school theater programs honored at Playhouse Square’s Dazzle Awards

Playhouse Square celebrated and honored the hard work, dedication, and excellence in Northeast Ohio’s high school theater programs at the annual Dazzle Awards presented by Pat and John Chapman on Saturday, May 20.

The regional program, which offers arts education opportunities throughout the school year, is affiliated with The Broadway League Foundation’s Jimmy Awards (National High School Musical Theatre Awards).

Under the direction of Broadway director and choreographer Connor Gallagher, 200 students spent a week rehearsing before the awards showcase last Saturday, when they performed in fully choreographed opening and closing numbers. Schools nominated for Best Musical staged songs from their shows, and the Best Actor and Actress nominees sang medleys together. 

In addition to the performers on stage, the Dazzle Awards foster the passion of students who participate in behind-the-scenes work. Students who were selected as technical apprentices and musical apprentices observed the creative process with the director/choreographer and music director, applied their skills with the stage management team, or performed alongside professional musicians during the ceremony.

The Dazzle Awards student reporters worked on the red carpet before the show, as well as backstage, interviewing and photographing their classmates.

Dazzle Awards were presented to outstanding musical theater productions and students in 13 categories, including the “Spirit of the Dazzle Awards” category.

This award goes to the student who embodies camaraderie, passion, and an infectious positive attitude throughout rehearsal week. This year’s winner was Cidney Little of Mayfield High School.

The 2023 Dazzle Awards recipients are:

Best Student Orchestra

Hudson High School, “The Addams Family”

Hudson also won this category in 2022.

Best Technical Execution

Rocky River High School, “Bright Star School Edition”

Rocky River also won this category in 2022.

Best Scenic Design

Bay High School, “Disney’s Newsies”

Best Costume Design
Hudson High School, “The Addams Family”

Best Choreography Execution

Magnificat High School, “Chicago: Teen Edition”

Magnificat also won this category in 2017 and 2022.

Best Ensemble/Chorus

Magnificat High School, “Chicago: Teen Edition”

Magnificat also won this category in 2017 and 2022.

Best Supporting Actor

Graham Wilde, Mayfield High School (‘Younger Brother’ in “Ragtime School Edition”)

Best Supporting Actress

Nora Stipanovich, Magnificat High School (‘Hunyak/Juror One’ in “Chicago: Teen Edition”)

Best Actor

Savon Harris, Mayfield High School (‘Coalhouse Walker Jr.’ in “Ragtime School Edition”)

Best Actress

Calista Zajac, Magnificat High School (‘Roxie Hart’ in “Chicago: Teen Edition”)

Best Musical (Tier 1 – Budget less than $13,000)

Rocky River High School, “Bright Star School Edition”
Rocky River has won this category in each year it has been awarded. (This category was not awarded in 2020 or 2021 due to COVID-19.)

Best Musical (Tier 2 – Budget $13,000 or more)

Mayfield High School, “Ragtime School Edition”

 As winners of the Best Musical categories, Rocky River High School and Mayfield High School, each received a $1,000 award for use toward their next high school musical productions.

As recipients of the Best Actor and Actress Awards, rising senior Savon Harris and graduating senior Calista Zajac will represent Northeast Ohio at The Jimmy Awards on June 26.

Playhouse Square presented Harris and Zajac each with checks for $1,500. Travel to The Jimmy Awards is made possible by a gift from The Weisenberg Family Broadway National High School Musical Theatre Awards Fund.