MIDLAND — The Henry Mancini High School Musical Theatre Awards will expand to a fourth county this year.
Now high school students from Mercer County can take part in the 26th annual awards show that long has recognized excellence in high school musicals from Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties.
Returning 7 p.m May 17 to the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland, this year’s Mancini Awards also will add more scholarship and performance opportunities.
This year, 30 Mancini Awards will be granted across three budget levels and multiple categories, an increase from 22 the past four years. This reflects a change in the adjudication process carried out by a panel of judges assigned to each budget category who will see all productions within their given budget category.
“The Mancinis’ newly developed structure addresses the growth and development of high school musical theater programs,” Lincoln Park’s producing artistic director Justin Fortunato said. “The Mancinis have truly evolved into a student-centered opportunity. It gives all participating schools recognition for the incredible amount of work and heart that goes into their production.”
Held at Lincoln Park since 2014, after a long run at Geneva College, the Mancini Awards team up with the Pittsburgh CLO to send two Mancini winners each year to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The Jimmy Awards) at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway, home of Disney’s “The Lion King.”
Jimmy winners, finalists and nominees in recent years have become leading names on Broadway, including Andrew Barth Feldman as the title character in “Dear Evan Hansen,” Renee Rapp as Regina George in “Mean Girls,” Casey Likes as William in “Almost Famous.”
In addition to attending the Jimmy Awards and its extensive training program in New York, the Mancini Award Best Actor and Best Actress winners both receive the Phil Inman Best Actor/Best Actress Award Scholarship, a cash reward used in pursuit of their arts education.
The Mancinis this year also have secured a number of scholarships to regional colleges and universities, including multiple non-performance based scholarships to Robert Morris University. The Pittsburgh CLO Academy also will award scholarships to two students for summer training programs.
The addition of Mercer schools could boost participation, as a number of Beaver County high schools have not taken part the past several years.
In 2019, 17 schools from the tri-county area took part; Ambridge, Beaver County Christian, Beaver Falls, Freeport, Hopewell, Knoch, Mars, Moniteau, Neshannock, New Brighton, New Castle, North Catholic, Riverside, Rochester, Slippery Rock, Union and Western Beaver.
Beaver County school districts that sat out the 2019 Mancinis were Aliquippa, Beaver, Blackhawk, Central Valley, Freedom and South Side Area.
As host school, the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Charter School in Midland doesn’t enter the contest, but has its students take part in the awards show production, including a few dance numbers.
“Every year, we receive inquiries from schools outside of Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties,” Leanne Nagle, Henry Mancini Awards coordinator, said in a press release. “I’ve talked to directors in Westmoreland County, been approached by schools in Elk County, and even schools right across the border in Ohio. The desire to be a part of a program like ours that is aligned with the national program is huge. For the past 25 years, the Mancinis have focused on a three county region, but this year, we are starting our expansion into schools in our next neighboring county, Mercer. We are excited to on-board new schools and open up the geographical scope of the program.”
Interested schools should contact Nagle at firstname.lastname@example.org or 724-365-8017.