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Apollo Awards Recognizes Outstanding High School Performers

Junior%2C+Brenna+Beck%2C+performs+in+her+role+as+Cinderella+in+Hershey+High+School%E2%80%99s+production+of+Into+the+Woods+last+March.+Beck+was+nominated+for+an+Apollo+Award+for+her+performance+of+this+role.+%28Broadcaster%2F+submitted+Mark+Balanda%29+%0A
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Apollo Awards Recognizes Outstanding High School Performers

Junior, Brenna Beck, performs in her role as Cinderella in Hershey High School’s production of Into the Woods last March. Beck was nominated for an Apollo Award for her performance of this role. (Broadcaster/ submitted Mark Balanda)

Junior, Brenna Beck, performs in her role as Cinderella in Hershey High School’s production of Into the Woods last March. Beck was nominated for an Apollo Award for her performance of this role. (Broadcaster/ submitted Mark Balanda)

Junior, Brenna Beck, performs in her role as Cinderella in Hershey High School’s production of Into the Woods last March. Beck was nominated for an Apollo Award for her performance of this role. (Broadcaster/ submitted Mark Balanda)

Junior, Brenna Beck, performs in her role as Cinderella in Hershey High School’s production of Into the Woods last March. Beck was nominated for an Apollo Award for her performance of this role. (Broadcaster/ submitted Mark Balanda)


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By: Marisa Balanda

High school actors usually do not perform with the intent of winning awards. However, one local program acknowledges outstanding high school performers in the Central Pennsylvania area.

The Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards were established in 2008 and occur each May. This non-profit organization provides local recognition and monetary scholarships to its nominees.

The program has grown immensely since its beginning. This year, 20 schools have entered their spring musical and 15 schools entered their fall play to be judged by the program’s evaluators. In order to be eligible to enter the program, schools must be located in either Cumberland, Dauphin, Lebanon, or Perry county. Elizabethtown schools are also allowed to participate.

Once a school has entered the program, their performances are evaluated by a several judges. After all of the shows are scored, the nominations are announced.

The Nominations

There are many opportunities for both a school and an individual performer to be honored at this “Tony Award” inspired event. The nomination categories are as follows:

  • Outstanding Student Playwright
  • Outstanding Featured Performer in a Play
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play
  • Outstanding Play
  • Outstanding Featured Performer in a Musical
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical
  • Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical
  • Outstanding Student Orchestra
  • Outstanding Dance Number in a Musical
  • Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical
  • Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical
  • Outstanding Musical

(The organization also awards honorable mentions in some of these categories.)

A detailed list of all of this year’s nominees can be found on the Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards Facebook page.

The Show

This year’s Apollo Awards will be held on Sunday, May 22, 2016 at 7 p.m. at  the Hershey Theatre. The show will include an opening number that will feature a male and female performer from each of the schools that are represented in the program.

In addition, the students who have been nominated for either “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play” or “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play” will perform short monologues from their respective shows. Also, students who were nominated for “Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical” or “Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical” will sing a short medley from their show. The schools whose musicals have been nominated for “Outstanding Musical” will each perform a production number from their show.

Hershey High School at the Apollos

Hershey High School received eight nominations this year. They include:

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Paxton Zeis as Natasha Vole in Agatha Christie’s Witness for the Prosecution

Outstanding Student Playwright: Paige Beck for Steven, From Camp

Outstanding Student Orchestra- Into the Woods

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Julia Rippon as Little Red in Into the Woods

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Brenna Beck as Cinderella in Into the Woods

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Paxton Zeis as The Witch in Into the Woods

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Patrick Starner as The Baker in Into the Woods

Outstanding Musical: Into the Woods

The Outcome

The recipients of the awards will be announced at the show. Win or lose, all nominees receive a complimentary ticket to the Apollo Awards and receive a monetary scholarship. According to the Hershey Entertainment website, “The HTAA program has invested over $100,000 in scholarships since 2008 to students of the arts.”

Hershey High School junior, Brenna Beck, was nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her performance as Cinderella in this year’s production of Into the Woods. Beck said, “I am so overjoyed to be nominated for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical. There are so many talented people considered for this category…”
The Apollo Awards are open to the public and tickets for the show on May 22 can be purchased at the Hershey Theatre Box Office.

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Apollo Awards Recognizes Outstanding High School Performers