Tonawanda News

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October 30, 2013

NTHS, THS both finalists for Shea's Kenny Awards

Tonawanda News — Both high schools in the Twin Cities have been chosen as finalists for the prestigious Kenny Awards, which recognize local schools for excellence in producing and performing musicals.

North Tonawanda High School was chosen for its upcoming performance of “9 to 5: The Musical,” while Tonawanda High School was selected for its 2014 musical, “Grease.” The 21st annual awards will be presented by Shea’s Performing Arts Center and The Lipke Foundation in May.

Dean Vallas of the North Tonawanda High School’s music department said that this is only the second time the school has applied for the honor.

“We are very excited. We attempted it once before, around 2007, but did not become a finalist then,” he said. “We hadn’t applied since, until this year. So, of course, now we’re knee-deep in the hoopla getting ready for it.”

The NTHS musical will be presented Nov. 14, 15 and 16, a good four months or so sooner than most Western New York high-school musicals. Vallas, show director Sydney Forster and Marisa Zakes, president of the school drama club, took part in an interview with a panel from the Lipke Foundation and Shea’s earlier this month.

At Tonawanda High School, three Kenny trophies stand in the glass cases outside the auditorium. The school has consistently applied for the awards during their history and has been a finalist three or four times, said Daniel Lynch, who is producer of this year’s musical.

“Grease” will be presented May 6, 7 and 8. Lynch, director Maura Nolan and vocal director Kelly DiStefano took part in the nomination interview earlier this month. Tonawanda’s prior three Kenny awards were for classical interpretation of “Oliver” in 2009, costuming for “Anything Goes” in 2008 and choreography for “Grease” in 1998. The school has not won the main award, “The Kenny” -- yet, Lynch and Nolan pointed out.

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