Hey, did you happen to catch “The 2011 Freddy Awards” Thursday night on local station WFMZ? (Or maybe you out-of-area readers watched it on WFMZ.com. In fact, you can still can, click here!) Started in 2002, the Freddy Awards honor area high school musicals with various awards for singing, acting, production quality, stage design, and so on! While I can’t attend the ceremony at the prestigious State Theater, I love watching some of the best performances of the young stars of the Lehigh Valley. It’s like “Glee” with real, live high school kids, not actors in their 20′s. Oh, and this isn’t a show choir competition; it’s like the Tony Awards for high schoolers.
One of my favorite performers over the past few years has been Parkland High School’s Morgan Reilly. I mean, can that girl belt it out or what? (To prove it, watch her sing as Christina Colgate from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels. Check it out here.) My friends Ann Marie and Janette Krulick have both been involved with Parkland’s theater productions, so I’ve caught a show or two. Three years ago, I saw Morgan (only a sophomore then) give a jaw-dropping performance as Eponine in Les Miserables: High School Edition. Last night, Morgan won the prestigious MVP award. The senior will is headed to NYU in the fall to further her theatrical aspirations in the Big Apple. I’m sure we’ll see her on Broadway in a few years, winning Tony Awards, and hanging out with Kristin Chenoweth.
Not only are the performances good, but the student actors acceptance speeches are hilarious! They run up on stage with their acceptance speeches written on crumpled papers (probably from nervously toying with the speech during the awards ceremony), talk too fast to be understood, and have the idealism of youth plastered all over their faces. I want these students to stay that way forever–to always be genuinely surprised by an award, to always be themselves (or a theatrical version. I mean, these kids are actors, who have a flair for the dramatic), and to use their energy to change the world.
Congratulations Freddy Class of 2011! Whether you took home a Freddy Award or not, know that you have already changed your little corner of the world, for good. (Hey, if that kid could nick a line from Wicked in his acceptance speech, then I can also use it as a killer closer to this post.)
Apparently Oprah Winfrey likes high school musicals, too, because OWN has acquired “Most Valuable Players,” an award-winning documentary about the Freddy Awards. Chalk one up for the Lehigh Valley. Our teen thesbians, not Billy Joel’s song, “Allentown,” will now be our claim to fame!