The Stratford Playhouse received eight awards during the Tommy Tune Awards (TTA), hosted by Theater Under the Stars (TUTS), on Thursday, May 4 at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts. The awards included:
- Outstanding Musical (Young Frankenstein)
- Outstanding Ensemble (Marcie Baker and Jillian Harris)
- Outstanding Music Direction (Marcie Baker and Jillian Harris)
- Outstanding Lead (Nic Rhew for the role of Dr. Frederick Frankenstein)
- Outstanding Scenic Design (David Clayton and Garrett Sugg)
- Outstanding Costume Design (Sammer Ali and Emma Whitton)
- Outstanding Sound Design (Alex Borg, Henry Cohen and Josh Hummel)
- Outstanding Stage Management (Kate Diers)
A total of 48 Houston-area schools submitted 53 full-length shows for nominations in 15 categories. This year the Stratford Playhouse took the most awards.
Cece Prudhomme, director of Stratford Playhouse and eight-time Tommy Tune winner for Best Director, was beyond excited that her student’s hard work and dedication were recognized. This show was especially meaningful as she had dedicated it to her father, who passed away before the school year began and was a big fan of the movie version of the show and a longtime supporter of the Stratford Playhouse.
“I knew that we had something special from the read-through,” said Prudhomme. “It was an incredible collaboration and creation, and it is because of every one of our students. It is indicative of their talent, drive and work ethic. I know my dad is so proud.”
As a program of TUTS, TTA celebrates the educational value, artistry and community of high school musical theater in the Greater Houston Area. High schools from Houston are invited to compete in more than 15 TTA categories. A panel of volunteer mentors and professional Houston-based music/theater artists then judge the musicals according to predetermined criteria.
Through the program, TUTS awards merit and needs-based scholarships to deserving students who have been involved in their schools' respective Tommy Tune's nominated musicals. To date, TUTS and TTA have granted nearly $500,000 in art-based scholarships.
Stratford Playhouse Outstanding Lead finalist Kira Sledge, junior, was awarded the North Star Award and a scholarship to participate in TUTS’ Head Over Heels production later this year. Stratford seniors Sammer Ali, Nic Rhew and Anna Rigo were awarded scholarships during the ceremony, which will be used toward their college careers in the arts. Nic, who won Outstanding Lead for his performance as Dr. Frederick Frankenstein, will compete as the Jimmy Awards nominee winner at the national Jimmy Awards ceremony in June in New York City.
“My entire high school career, I have been working and training for this moment, and I’m so grateful that I actually get to experience it,” said Nic. “It is such an honor to represent the Playhouse and the Tommy Tunes in this way, and I cannot wait to see what this means for the future.”
Additional nominees from the Stratford Playhouse included Anna Rigo and Kira Sledge as Outstanding Lead finalists, Hudson Perroni, senior, as Best Supporting Actor finalist, Callan Reimann, senior, as Honorable Mention finalist and Anna Rigo as Best Singer finalist.
“The Stratford Theatre program has for many years showcased an amazing ability to put on world-class shows time and time again,” said Houston Hayes, Performing and Fine Arts director. “This award for their fabulous production of Young Frankenstein is a recognition of their never-ending commitment to excellence on the stage. We are so proud of all of their hard work!”