Show will notgoon
Majestic Awards suspended due to lack of participation
POTTSVILLE — There will be no Majestic Awards following this year’s high school musical season.
According to Lisa Gillespie, executive director for the Majestic Theater, only four schools agreed to participate in the show this year. The Majestic Awards began in 2006 to highlight the performances of area high school musicals and were modeled after Broadway’s Tony Awards. However, after a series of committee meetings and input from school directors, the theater’s board chose to suspend the awards citing a decrease in participation. Instead, there will be a showcase.
The showcase, scheduled for May 21 at Pottsville Area High School, will feature performances from high schools and middle schools. Currently, seven schools have agreed to take part.
“We have had a positive response to the idea of a showcase. We are waiting to hear from the other four,” Gillespie said in an email.
There will be an award for performance of the evening; each school will select
a candidate for the Spirit of Theater award and a new award has been created this year.
“This year we are adding a senior recognition for the graduating cast and crew from each school,” Gillespie said. “We are hoping to be able to address the issues that prevented a majority of schools from participating. If we are able to produce a better product, we will be more than happy to reinstate the awards. There was not enough time to revamp the process in the short amount of time we had this year. We will be inviting the directors to a meeting after the musical season to hear their concerns and suggestions, then determine how best to proceed.”
Maria Malek, director of dramatics at Pottsville Area High School, was aware of the decision to suspend the Majestic Awards and while she was disappointed, she supported the reasoning behind the decision.
“The future of musicals in the county is not contingent upon whether or not there is an awards show,” Malek said in an email. “While in the past few years area schools have worked hard to evolve and innovate their programs, musical theater has been alive and thriving in our county long before the Majestic Awards existed, and even if the awards would not be reinstated, our programs will remain. We, the directors and our actors, will continue to support each other and continue to improve our individual programs, because that is where our passions lie. We produce musical theater because we and our students have passion for it.”
Shenandoah Valley High School earned seven Majestic Awards last spring for the cast and crew’s performance of “The Phantom of the Opera,” directed by Sarah Elizabeth Yorke.
“As the former director of the Shenandoah Valley Drama Club, I’m pretty bummed that there won’t be an awards ceremony this year, but I was very happy to hear that there will still be a showcase of all of the local talent,” Yorke said in a Facebook message. “Coming from a school that clawed its way up in the local theater scene, I’ve seen it all and never would’ve expected to see the growth I’ve witnessed. I truly think instilling a healthy sense of competition and celebrating these kids and their accomplishments at the end of each year encouraged that growth. Whether it be a showcase or an awards ceremony, what’s important is that we unite as one, instead of separate entities, and continue to lift one another up. Our kids just wanted to show each school how much they support them and have their backs, and over the past few years, that’s been evident through the camaraderie the awards have created between all of the drama clubs. Win or lose, these kids still support each other and I think that’s the big takeaway here. As long as we have a room full of kids supporting each other, we’re doing the right thing. I absolutely think this can be achieved with a showcase, and I’m glad they’re taking the time away to reevaluate the awards criteria while still celebrating our local talent. However, I wouldn’t rule out the awards promoting this type of positivity in the future. With the right mind set and approach, and a complete revamping of the old ways, I think the future of healthy competition and an awards ceremony can continue to encourage young artists to join drama clubs all over the county and continue to do the unthinkable. Whether they leave with a trophy or not, all of these kids are winners because of the bravery, guts, heart and passion that they display year after year, and to me, that’s the most important win of all.”
Shenandoah Valley’s cast of “The Phantom of the Opera” performs “Masquerade” during the Majestic Awards on May 22, 2017, at Pottsville Area High School. The awards show will not be held this year.