From Archer’s Blackbox to the Pantages Theatre: the cast of Archer’s “Spring Awakening” was one of four schools asked to perform at the fifth annual Jerry Herman Awards on Sunday, May 22.
According to The Jerry Herman Awards’ official about page, the awards are the “local celebration dedicated to recognizing, encouraging, and rewarding achievements and excellence in high school musical theatre.”
Students who win the awards for Best Actress and Actor are eligible to compete at the The National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City, better known as the “Jimmy Awards.”
Out of the 12 awards given, “Spring Awakening” was nominated for eight: five were for the production as a whole, and three were for individual students.
Students performed a medley of songs from the musical on the Pantages stage, including “Mama Who Bore Me” and “The B—- of Living.”
“They select four shows [to perform] from all the participating schools,” Director Reed Farley said. “They pick it based on what will be most entertaining for the event, and what will be most competitive for the awards.”
Farley added that the producer of the awards show was very excited about the idea of an all-female production of “Spring Awakening” because of how controversial the musical is. Archer is the first all-female production of the show, according to Farley.
“The fact that we were able to pull off ‘Spring Awakening’ at an all-girls school means so much to the cast,” Best Supporting Actress Nominee Anabella Ronson-Benenati ’17 said. “That extra cherry on top was performing at the Pantages theatre.”
In the end “Spring Awakening” won the Best Ensemble award.
“I was like, ‘Yes, we got it!” Farley said. “If I could have one, it would be that one.”
Ronson-Benenati could not articulate how “amazing” it felt to be nominated, but she believed that it was scary because she was up against the “best of the best.” Additionally, she said she never saw herself at the level of being nominated for such an “incredible” award.
Gracie Abrams ’19, nominated for the “No Small Parts” Award, said she owes everything to her cast.
“It feels strange being nominated, just me, but it does feel amazing. Being with your best friends and the energy that comes with that is amazing,” Abrams said. “The musical theatre progression at Archer has been amazing, and we owe it all to Farley and [choir director, Kate] Burns. They push us to be better.”
When it came to performing on the stage, cast members were nervous to go from the small Blackbox stage to such a big one.
“It was amazing. It was unlike any other experience. The fact that we were performing on a stage that ‘Wicked’ and many other incredible shows have performed on, that itself is incredible. And we got to do it together as a cast and revive a show that meant so much to us and still does,” Ronson-Benenati said.
Below is a video of the performance and the cast winning the award courtesy of Billie Wakeham ’17 .