By Michael Gioia
02 Jul 2013
|Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN|
As the lights went down at the Minskoff Theatre — home of the Tony Award-winning Disney musical The Lion King — 62 high school students, hailing from 31 regions across the United States, took the stage to make their Broadway debuts (and their dreams come true) in a national competition that celebrated high school theatre and was hosted by Tony Award-nominated Cinderella co-stars Laura Osnes and Santino Fontana.
An opening number — directed by Van Kaplan, choreographed by Kiesha Lalama and orchestrated by music director Michael Moricz — was received with thunderous applause from parents, friends, mentors and judges as the students performed a medley of hits from Broadway musicals such as Annie, Matilda, Newsies, Pippin, A Chorus Line and Wicked as well as the radio hit "We Are Young" by Fun. and Janelle Monáe.
"Seeing them the night before in preliminaries is a very integral process to seeing them the night of [the ceremony] because it just gives us an opportunity to get acquainted with the kids. There are 62 of them and six judges, so we need a little more time," explained Tony Award nominee Glover. "The best part about being a judge is that all the students are immensely talented. It's really not about 'picking.' It's about recognizing how happy they are to be there, how much they love the art form [and] how willing they are to commit and to improve their skill set. We, as judges, are sincerely just reflecting that energy."Continued...