Union High School’s spring musical production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” recently was informed by the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards that they are the recipients of 11 awards for this year’s production. This is the 2nd year in a row Union High School has received this record number of awards from this prestigious competition.

The production was awarded 2 major group awards. First “Outstanding Musical Production” was awarded to Union as the highest honor the cast can achieve. This is awarded to productions where all aspects of the performance are at an outstanding level from leads, ensemble, set, choreography, lighting, sound, costuming, musical accompaniment and overall effect. Of the 78 schools participating, only 12 earned this award with Union being the smallest school. Secondly, UHS was awarded “Outstanding Ensemble”, given to productions where everyone besides the lead rolls perform at an outstanding level adding to the quality of the entire show. This showcases the idea that everyone on stage is integral to the overall story and production. This is the 4th year in a row that Union has received “Outstanding Musical Production” and “Outstanding Ensemble”. Because of their group achievements, the entire Union cast of “Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” has been invited to perform a solo 3 minute medley from our show as part of the awards ceremony. This is the 4th year in a row that Union has been invited for this honor.

Photo of student actors during Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

The production also received 9 individual awards. Each school is allowed to nominate up to 8 students to be judged for these individual awards and for the first time in history, all 8 of Union’s nominees were honored. Carter Spore received “Outstanding Performance in a Principal Roll” and “Triple Threat Candidate”. As a Triple Threat Candidate, Carter will compete against other students from the state for a chance to go to New York City for a week long performing intensive. 4 more students were honored with “Outstanding performance in a Principal Roll” including Zeke Seuser as “Simeon”, Claire Thoma as “Narrator”, Natalie Tecklenburg as “Narrator” and Sunshine Gray as “Narrator”

3 more students were honored with “Special Recognition for Performance in a Principal Role” Ben Rempe as “Reuben”, Mason Scott as “Pharaoh” and Noah Damro as “Judah”.

3 additional students were selected to represent Union in the opening performance medley of the showcase-Joe Gloede, Riley Davis and Tyson Fleshner The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, presented by Des Moines Performing Arts, celebrates the extraordinary achievements of young musical theater artists. The program aims to create visibility and support for high school musical theater programs and to highlight the importance of arts education. Panels of community ​adjudicators​ comprised of performing arts educators and professionals attend and review each ​participating school’s​ ​production. Students and directors receive valuable constructive feedback that can be used to grow and strengthen their future work. Based on reviews and scores, schools ultimately receive awards in honor of their achievements in categories ranging from choreography, design, supporting performer, lead performer, and overall musical production.

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is designed to be celebratory rather than competitive in nature. Any student or school at an outstanding level is recognized for their achievement. Multiple honorees may be named in each category as performances merit. The year culminates in a professionally produced ​Awards Showcase​ ​event held on the Des Moines Civic Center stage featuring outstanding student performances on June 3rd and is open to the public. When asked why Union has chosen to participate in the IHSMTA, Tim J. Mitchell, one of the co-directors stated, “We have always been proud of the quality work our students produce in the fine arts at Union. Our philosophy at Union is always to strive to improve in each arts medium in which we participate. When we learned of this program, which includes theatre professionals attending our performance and giving constructive feedback, we jumped at the chance to help take our performance to the next level. This will be a great experience for all of our students involved in the production.”

Union High school has a long and decorated history for excellence in the Musical Theatre arts. 31 of 37 Union Musical Theatre entries have been named All-State in the Iowa High School Speech Association, receiving the “Critics Choice” award three times. This is the 5th year in a row Union High School musical has received awards from the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards. In 2015, “Catch Me If You Can” received 3 awards and in 2016 “State Fair” received 5 awards, in 2017 “Anything Goes” received 7 awards, and in 2018 “Grease” received 11 awards. Union’s productions are jointly directed by Tim J. Mitchell and Korina Carlson. Tickets for the June 3rd Awards Showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center go on sale May 15th. Tickets are $15.00 a seat and can be purchased at desmoinesperformingarts.org.

Photo of lead actor during Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat