The 2023 Shuler Awards will be held on Thursday, April 20. (Photo courtesy of the ArtsBridge Foundation.)

By Hannah E. Jones

High school students in 39 schools across 17 Georgia districts are celebrating their nominations for the upcoming 15th annual Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards — also known as the Shuler Awards. Hosted by ArtsBridge Foundation each year, the organization announced on March 23 the applicants who will progress in the competition.

ArtsBridge is an Atlanta-based nonprofit that serves as the arts education arm of the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. The ceremony will be televised live from the Cobb Energy Centre on Georgia Public Broadcasting.

After months of deliberation, these students have been selected to progress in the competition with the chance to win an award at the April 20 ceremony. Additionally, ArtsBridge announced eight students who will receive a total of $17,187 in scholarships to further their education and experience in musical theater.

Interest in the awards has skyrocketed over the years. Registration opened in November, and a whopping 52 schools signed up within 10 minutes. 

“It’s a testament to what we know is true — the incredible impact of the arts,” Director of Arts Education Elizabeth Lenhart told SaportaReport in a previous interview about the Shuler Awards. “[During the pandemic,] it was so needed and missing. We saw it firsthand in COVID, the first thing used as a comfort around the globe was people giving music and art to the world for free. [Art] matters.” 

Since then, 51 Georgia-based professionals in the arts sphere traveled around the state to watch and score hopeful theater students in their high school productions. The students were judged on 16 categories, including music direction, set design, costumes, lead performers and more. 

This year, Decatur High School received the most nominations, with 10 students selected for their production of “9 to 5.” Greenbrier High School and Starr’s Mill High School both earned eight nominations each for “Addams Family” and “Anastasia: The Musical,” respectively.

During the event, the student nominees will be treated to the glitz and glamor much like the Tony Awards. Kia Motors will chauffeur the nominees to the purple carpet, where the students will be greeted by photographers and give interviews. Throughout the night, the Shuler Ensemble and nominees will take the stage to showcase their craft and trophies will be awarded in 18 categories including: 

  • Direction
  • Music direction
  • Orchestra
  • Lighting
  • Sound
  • Technical execution
  • Scenic design
  • Choreography
  • Ensemble
  • Costumes
  • Overall production
  • Showstopper
  • Best leading performers
  • Supporting performer 
  • Featured performer
  • Spotlight Award

In June, the winners of leading actress and actor will travel to New York City as Georgia’s contestants for The Jimmy Awards, the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program.

The Shuler Awards will be streamed live on GPB and social media on Thursday, April 20. If you’re interested in a complete list of nominees, click here.

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Hannah E. Jones

Hannah Jones is a Georgia State University graduate, with a major in journalism and minor in public policy. She began studying journalism in high school and has since served as a reporter and editor for...

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