Bobby G Awards a celebration of Castle View, Valor Christian and Colorado high-school theatre

 

Awards celebrating achievements in Colorado high-school musical theatre are spread over 12 schools

While the popular musical Wicked played to a capacity crowd in the Buell Theatre next door, it was lyrics from two other iconic Broadway musicals that wafted from the lobby of the Ellie Caulkins Opera House, spread outside under the arch covering the Denver Performing Arts Complex and drifted throughout the nearby parking garage late Thursday night. Dozens of joyous students from Valor Christian High School were singing the irresistible refrain “Gimme, gimme that thing called love” from Thoroughly Modern Millie as they marched arm-in-arm to their cars while alongside them, others from Castle View High School belted, “I feel like I win when I lose” from the ABBA musical MAMMA MIA!

Abby Linderman. Photo by John Moore.

That song may be called “Waterloo,” but there were no losers on Thursday night. Rather, the seventh Bobby G Awards was heaven for two of Colorado’s youngest high schools, along with a crowd of about 2,000 students, educators, parents and theatre lovers.

Castle View High School, which only opened in Castle Rock in 2006, became the seventh different school to win the Bobby G Awards’ Outstanding Production of a Musical honor for its staging of MAMMA MIA! Director Rochelle Walter’s program won three awards for the second straight year, including Outstanding Direction and Scenic Design.

Meanwhile Valor Christian, which opened in Highlands Ranch in 2007, produced both the Outstanding Leading Actress and Actor: Seniors Abby Linderman, who played Millie in Thoroughly Modern Millie, and Kyler Hershman, who played Trevor Graydon. Both graduated just three hours before the start of the Bobby G Awards ceremony, and both are heading to Pace University in New York City in the fall.

Valor Christian Director Kurt Muenstermann with Outstanding Leading Actress Abby Linderman, left, and Kyler Hershman. Photo by John Moore.

“I am just stunned because these kids have such incredible hearts, and they have so many wonderful gifts. I am just glad to be a part of it all,” said Valor Christian Director of Theatre Arts Kurt Muenstermann, who previously directed 2017 Outstanding Leading Actress winner Elleon Dobias as well.

Linderman became the first student to win two Bobby G Awards on the same night. She and castmate Joshua Cellar, himself also nominated for Outstanding Actor, were part of a four-person Valor team that won for Outstanding Choreography. “I am so proud to be part of a community that is so passionate about storytelling,” said Linderman.

In all, 12 schools won at least one award on Thursday night while two – Vista Peak Preparatory and Fort Collins High School – took home two each.

The Bobby G Awards are the culmination of a year-long program administered by the Denver Center for the Performing Arts that emphasizes camaraderie and shared experiences while supporting, promoting and celebrating achievements in Colorado high-school musical theatre. This year, adjudicators considered musical productions from 45 Colorado high schools, of which 20 took part in workshops conducted by DCPA Teaching Artists. Thursday’s culminating celebration was another opportunity for theatre students from all over the state to commune, perform and mutually support one another’s work.

But there is also much at stake. The students named Outstanding Actor and Actress will go on to represent Colorado at The Jimmy® Awards/The National High School Musical Theatre Awards™ (NHSMTA) on June 24 at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City. Linderman and Hershman will participate in a 10-day series of intensive classes and workshops with Broadway actors, directors and designers leading up to the national awards ceremony, which is presented by The Broadway League Foundation and will be hosted this year by Broadway star Ben Platt (Dear Evan Hansen).

Students from the Bobby G Awards’ winning Orchestra from Palmer Ridge High School (‘Catch Me If You Can.’) Photo by John Moore.

Nine of the nominated Outstanding Leading Actors and Actresses. Photo by John Moore.

Each year, the 10 nominated Outstanding Actors and Actresses are invited to the Denver Center two weeks before the awards ceremony to prepare an original medley together in community and friendship, which they then perform at the ceremony. The current nominees are joined by the previous years’ winners in an annual ritual created anew each year by Denver Center Education Coordinator Claudia Carson. 2018 Outstanding Actress Abby Lehrer opened Thursday’s number with a clever sampling from the Les Misérables song “On My Own” – a reference to the absence of 2018 Outstanding Leading Actor Elisha Horne. He is currently performing in the Town Hall Arts Center’s production of Sister Act. Incidentally, one of the five 2019 Outstanding Actress nominees was unable to attend Thursday’s party for the same reason: Littleton High School junior Bella Hathorne is also performing in Sister Act.

In addition, casts from the five nominated Outstanding Musicals performed a number from their shows, each drawing thunderous response from the enthusiastic crowd. The challenge of resurrecting a musical number for the Bobby G Awards ceremony varies for each school because some of them staged their productions a few weeks ago, while others staged them last fall.

Presenter Candy Brown.

Among the highlights of the ceremony each year are remarks by presenters and winners alike. When student director Wesley Ferguson accepted his award for his part in Castle View’s MAMMA MIA, he drew cheers for saying: “No matter who you are, or who you were, or who you will be – you can always be someone else in theatre.”

Broadway veteran and theatre educator Candy Brown, who was in the original Broadway company of Chicago with Gwen Verdon, delivered stirring words to her future fellow performing artists before presenting four awards:

“Remember to be aware of everyone’s sacrifices, not merely your own. Remember to be responsible for yourself by showing up as the best you that you can be. Remember to support your tribe, cast, fellow students, coworkers, team, family. Remember to show up on time. … Remember to learn the history of those who came before you. Remember to always give above and beyond your best with no expectation. That way if you don’t get the applause or respect or whatever it is you expect, you won’t be disappointed. Relish the work, and then you will have great joy and gratitude for what you do receive. And above all, remember: You must never let casual become your beacon.”

The Master of Ceremonies for this year’s ceremony was Charlotte Movizzo, who won the 2016 Outstanding Leading Actress award for her portrayal of Charity Hope Valentine in Ponderosa High School’s Sweet Charity. “My involvement in the Bobby G’s helped me to make the decision to continue in performing,” said Movizzo, who is now pursuing a degree in musical theatre at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley. 

The cast of Castle View High School’s ‘MAMMA MIA!’ performs before winning the 2019 Outstanding Musical Bobby G Award. Photo by John Moore.

Bobby G Awards Outstanding Musicals: Through the years

  • 2013: Chaparral High School, Les Misérables
  • 2014: Cherry Creek High School, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • 2015: Durango High School, Les Misérables
  • 2016: Mountain View High School, Anything Goes
  • 2017: Valor Christian High School, Pippin
  • 2018: Denver School of the Arts, In the Heights
  • 2019: Castle View High School, MAMMA MIA!

Nominees for the Bobby G Awards are determined by scoring from a team of professional adjudicators who offer each school detailed, constructive feedback. Unlike other awards categories, the Outstanding Actor and Actress winners are determined by two equally scored criteria: First, the students are judged for their actual performances in their respective school musicals. The five students with the highest scores then go before a professional panel for a private, scored audition.

All participating schools received one personal master class session with a DCPA Education theatre teacher. Winners of the Outstanding Supporting Actor, Actress and Rising Star awards also earn a full year of free classes at the Denver Center. “Theatre is alive in Colorado,” said DCPA Education Director Allison Watrous. “The DCPA is proud to be a part of your journey.”

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

The Bobby G Awards were founded in 2013 by the late DCPA President Randy Weeks. They are named after late producer Robert Garner, who established Denver as a top destination for touring Broadway shows. “It’s safe for me to say the Bobby G Awards is one of our favorite things to work on each and every year,” said John Ekeberg, Executive Director of the DCPA’s Broadway Division. “And it is your talents, your passions and your energy that feed all of us.”

In the seven years of the Bobby G Awards, 28,000 Colorado students have participated in the program. More than 2,850 students have been involved in free workshops delivered by DCPA Education Teaching Artists. Since the Randy Weeks Memorial Fund was begun in 2015, five schools have received funding to help support their productions.

“Theatre is undeniably strong in Colorado,” Denver Center President and CEO Janice Sinden said in her introductory remarks. “Educators, we understand the incredible impact the arts have on the lives of our students, and we celebrate you.”

John Moore was named one of the 12 most influential theater critics in the U.S by American Theatre Magazine in 2011. He has since taken a groundbreaking position as the Denver Center’s Senior Arts Journalist.

The 2019 Bobby G Awards: Our photos

The 2019 Bobby G Awards winners. Photo by John Moore.

Go to our complete gallery of Bobby G Awards photos

THE 2018 BOBBY G AWARDS RECIPIENTS:


Outstanding Achievement in Hair and Make Up Design

Britney Juarez
The Little Mermaid
Fort Collins High School

Other nominees:

  • Mackenzie Johnson and Brianna Lindahl, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Amethyst Kellogg, The Addams Family, Ponderosa High School
  • Kari Armstrong and Elizabeth Vandermeer, James and the Giant Peach, Poudre High School
  • Charlotte Keys, Kassie Spring and Mackenzie Talley, Big Fish, Ralston Valley High School


Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

Elle Armstrong, Kari Armstrong, Ranier Kahl and Alida Kress
James and the Giant Peach
Poudre High School

Other nominees:

  • Maggie Bennink and Alejandra Floripe, Les Misérables, Boulder High School
  • Sarah Husson and Laura Stone-Majetic, The Addams Family, Broomfield High School
  • Kayla Blair, Katelynn Brusco and Julie Snow, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chaparral High School
  • Keanan Bell, Tammy Giradot, Ariana Griffiths, Julia Novy and Sequoyah Recio, MAMMA MIA!, Glenwood Springs High School


Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

Chad Hawthorne
Chicago (High School Edition)
Discovery Canyon Campus

Other nominees:

  • Nate Cheney and Jacob Larson, Once on This Island, Eaglecrest High School
  • Matthew Pappas, The Little Mermaid, Fort Collins High School
  • Katelyn Brennan, Julian Ingle-Lewis, Matt Jensson and Alexander Tucker, MAMMA MIA!, Glenwood Springs High School
  • Greyson Nicholson, The Sound of Music, Legend High School

Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design
Rylee Carlson, Rose Goolsby and Rob Scott
MAMMA MIA!
Castle View High School

Other nominees:

  • Steven Davis and Danny de Paz, Rodgers + Hammerstein’s Cinderella, Chaparral High School
  • Alyea Caldwell, Iz Nyghe and Megan Tunnell, Bye Bye Birdie, Cherry Creek High School
  • Jackie Carreras, Jon Ducat, Amanda Penke, Thomas Ray and Red Schweitzer, Into the Woods, Legend High School
  • Josh Belk and Emily Hartlaub, Little Women, Palmer Ridge High School

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography
Joshua Cellar, Jamie Geary, Abby Linderman and Caroline Younger
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Valor Christian High School

Other nominees:

  • Sabrina Gentry, MAMMA MIA!, Castle View High School
  • Claire Dicke, Chicago (High School Edition), Discovery Canyon Campus
  • Joe De Mers and Brianna Lindahl, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Mindy Marcus, Newsies, Rock Canyon High School

Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction
Mary Bateman and Beau Bryson
Les Misérables
Boulder High School

Other nominees:

  • Jay McGuffin, Heath Walter and Rochelle Walter, MAMMA MIA!, Castle View High School
  • Darin Drown, Keith Farmer and Mindi Loewen, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Paul Ijames and Kurt Stroman, The Sound of Music, Legend High School
  • Nathan Johnson, Marty Magenee, Rick Paswaters and Jenny Timmons, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School

 Outstanding Performance by a Chorus
Big Fish
Ralston Valley High School

Other nominees:

  • Monty Python’s Spamalot (School Edition), Heritage High School
  • Shrek The Musical, Loveland High School
  • Chicago (High School Edition), North High School/Strive Prep Excel
  • Sister Act, Regis Jesuit High School


Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

Catch Me If You Can
Palmer Ridge High School

Other nominees:

  • MAMMA MIA!, Castle View High School
  • Shrek The Musical, Denver School of the Arts
  • Rock of Ages (High School Edition), Erie High School
  • Chicago (High School Edition), George Washington High School

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Ellie Hill
Sister Mary Patrick
Sister Act
Regis Jesuit High School

Other nominees:

  • Molly Hancock, Rosie, MAMMA MIA!, Glenwood Springs High School
  • Kaori Hardison, Penny Pingleton, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Corina Hedahl, Dragon, Shrek The Musical, Loveland High School
  • Colleen Swift, Jenny Hill, Big Fish, Ralston Valley High School

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role
Gabriel Ureño
Mereb
Aida
Vista PEAK Preparatory

Other nominees:

  • Jacob Cheney, Bill, MAMMA MIA!, Glenwood Springs High School
  • Jake Rogers, Wilbur Turnblad, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Cole Mahlmeister, French Taunter, Tim the Enchanter and Prince Herbert’s Father, Monty Python’s Spamalot (School Edition), Heritage High School
  • Landin Taylor, Marcellus Washburn, The Music Man, Montezuma-Cortez High School

Rising Star (Outstanding Underclassman)
Gatlin Zbylski
Chef Louis
The Little Mermaid
ThunderRidge High School

Other nominees:

  • Spencer Neuman, Gavroche, Les Misérables, Boulder High School
  • Logan Schreck, Pepper, MAMMA MIA!, Castle View High School
  • Avi Levin, Pinocchio, Shrek The Musical, Denver School of the Arts
  • Katt Newsom, Louisa Von Trapp, The Sound of Music, Legend High School

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role
Abby Linderman
Millie Dillmount
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Valor Christian High School

Other nominees:

  • Chipo Muchineripi, Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Bella Hathorne, Jo March, Little Women, Littleton High School
  • Briseida Cisneros Castaneda, Aida, Aida, Vista PEAK Preparatory
  • Olivia LaMee, Ariel, The Little Mermaid, ThunderRidge High School

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role
Kyler Hershman
Trevor Grayden
Thoroughly Modern Millie
Valor Christian High School

Other nominees:

  • Joseph Robinson, Freddy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chaparral High School
  • Edwin Harris, Seaweed J. Stubbs, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Curtis Lemieux, Crutchie, Newsies, Rock Canyon High School
  • Joshua Cellar, Jimmy Smith, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School

Outstanding Achievement in Direction
Rochelle Walter and Wesley Ferguson
MAMMA MIA!
Castle View High School

Other nominees:

  • David Peterson and Kristine Smiley, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chaparral High School
  • Brianna Lindahl, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Talia Liccardello, Little Women, Littleton High School
  • Cindy Baker, Newsies, Rock Canyon High School

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
MAMMA MIA!
Castle View High School

Other nominees:

  • Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chaparral High School
  • Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Newsies, Rock Canyon High School
  • Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School

2019 SPECIAL ACHIEVEMENT WINNERS:

Outstanding Special Achievement in Student Leadership
Kelsey Renee Hurt
The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
Central High School

Outstanding Special Achievement in Design Process
Jason Tyler and the Tower Theater Program
The Little Mermaid
Fort Collins High School

Outstanding Special Achievement in Props Management and Design
Olivia Martinez
Aida
Vista PEAK Preparatory

A note on the Bobby G Awards

Adjudicators made up of professional working theatre artists attended the participating high schools’ musical theatre productions. Using the standards set by The Bobby G Awards training and criteria, as well as their own professional experience, these adjudicators complete extensive evaluation forms offering detailed feedback on all of the various elements involved with staging a musical production. Participating schools receive a copy of the forms complete with each adjudicator’s comments, praise, and constructive criticism designed to motivate growth and recognize success. These evaluations serve as a foundation for the nominations.

Our series of featured Outstanding Orchestra nominees:

Meet our nominated Outstanding lead actors and actresses:

  • Abby Linderman, Millie Dillmount, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School
  • Briseida Cisneros Castaneda, Aida, Aida, Vista PEAK Preparatory
  • Joshua Cellar, Jimmy Smith, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School
  • Edwin Harris, Seaweed J. Stubbs, Hairspray, Grandview High School
  • Bella Hathorne, Jo March, Little Women, Littleton High School
  • Kyler Hershman, Trevor Grayden, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Valor Christian High School
  • Olivia LaMee, Ariel, The Little Mermaid, ThunderRidge High School
  • Curtis Lemieux, Crutchie, Newsies, Rock Canyon High School
  • Chipo Muchineripi, Motormouth Maybelle, Hairspray, Grandview High School (not available)
  • Joseph Robinson, Freddy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Chaparral High School

More Colorado theatre coverage on the DCPA NewsCenter

Participating schools (with 2019 nominations in parentheses):

  • Boulder High School, Les Misérables (4)
  • Brighton High School, Guys and Dolls
  • Broomfield High School, The Addams Family (1)
  • Castle View High School, MAMMA MIA! (7)
  • Central High School, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (1)
  • Conifer High School, Little Shop of Horrors
  • Chaparral High School, Dirty Rotten Scroundrels (4)
  • Denver School of the Arts, Shrek The Musical (2)
  • Discovery Canyon Campus High School, Chicago (High School Edition) (2)
  • Durango High School, 9 to 5
  • Eaglecrest High School, Once on This Island (1)
  • Eagle Ridge Academy, Into the Woods
  • Erie High School, Rock of Ages (High School Edition) (1)
  • Fort Collins High School, The Little Mermaid (3)
  • Fossil Ridge High School, Rent
  • George Washington High School, Chicago (High School Edition) (2)
  • Glenwood Springs High School, MAMMA MIA! (4)
  • Grand Junction High School, Into The Woods
  • Grandview High School, Hairspray (9)
  • Greeley West High School, Shrek The Musical
  • Heritage High School, Monty Python’s Spamalot (School Edition) (2)
  • Highlands Ranch High School, The Little Mermaid
  • Lakewood High School, Big Fish
  • Legend High School, The Sound of Music (4)
  • Lewis-Palmer High School, Beauty and the Beast
  • Liberty High School, Godspell
  • Littleton High School, Little Women (2)
  • Loveland High School, Shrek The Musical (4)
  • Lutheran High School, Beauty and the Beast
  • Montezuma-Cortez High School, The Music Man (1)
  • North High School and STRIVE Prep Excel Academy, Chicago (High School Edition) (1)
  • Northglenn High School, Curtains
  • Palmer Ridge High School, Catch Me If You Can (1)
  • Pomona High School, Shrek The Musical
  • Ponderosa High School, The Addams Family (1)
  • Poudre High School, James and the Giant Peach (2)
  • Ralston Valley High School, Big Fish (3)
  • Regis Jesuit High School, Sister Act (2)
  • Resurrection Christian School, Bye Bye Birdie
  • Rock Canyon High School, Newsies (4)
  • SkyView Academy, The Drowsy Chaperone
  • ThunderRidge High School, The Little Mermaid (2)
  • Valor Christian High School, Thoroughly Modern Millie (6)
  • Vista PEAK Preparatory, Aida (3)
  • Westminster High School, Rock of Ages (High School Edition)

Video Bonus: Take a look back at the 2018 Bobby G Awards