On Tuesday, January 10, 2017, we held our first annual Kenny Social at Shea's Performing Arts Center. Students from our 10 finalist schools were invited to join us from 4:30-6:30 pm for a mixer with complimentary beverages, refreshments, and backstage tours of the historic Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Over 250 students and directors joined us for the afternoon and got to meet other musical theatre lovers from around Western New York.
Six tour guides from Shea's led groups of students on backstage tours of Shea's Buffalo Theatre throughout the event. Each tour guide offered unique insight into the building, its history, and performances.
The Kenny Awards ceremony will be on Saturday, May 13 at 6:00 pm at Shea's Buffalo Theatre. Tickets will be available approximately one month prior to the ceremony through the 10 finalist schools, or at Shea's box office approximately two weeks prior.
Between now and April 2017, the Kenny Awards judges will view and evaluate the finalists' productions. In mid-April 2017, the Kenny Awards will announce the nominees in each of the 13 award categories. Then, on Saturday, May 13, students from all 10 of the finalist schools will spend the day at Shea's Performing Arts Center participating in complimentary theatre-based workshops and rehearsals led by area theatre professionals.
That evening at 6:00 pm, all the schools will present a 6-minute feature from their show on the Shea's Buffalo stage during the awards ceremony, followed by the announcement of the awards. The awards include various categorical and individual awards. The two student winners of the Outstanding Leading Actor and Actress awards will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in June 2017 to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. The school that wins the Outstanding Musical Production award will receive a $5,000 grant from the Lipke Foundation to be used solely for their theatre program.
Tickets to the awards ceremony will be available starting on Saturday, April 29 at 10:00 am at Shea's Ticket Office or through Ticketmaster online or by phone. Pre-sale tickets will also be available through the finalist schools in mid-April.
For more information about the 2017 Kenny Awards program, click here.
Members of Starpoint High School's drama club take a photo in front of the Buffalo Theatre District sign after their interview with the Kenny judges.
The Kenny Awards program is constantly looking for ways to expand its reach and impact more students. This year, the Kenny judges will be attending the performances of every school that applied to the program to review their show and provide feedback to their directors. The Kenny program feels strongly that all students should have access to the arts and free or low-cost educational opportunities within the arts. As the program continues to expand, the Kennys will be reaching out to all the incredible high school musical theatre programs that exist in Western New York for feedback and suggestions about the direction of the program.
If you would like more information on the program or to learn how to get involved, contact Holly Grant at firstname.lastname@example.org or 716-829-1171.
On Thursday, October 6, fourteen students, including several past Kenny Awards participants, nominees and winners, were selected to assist Shea's staff with a Finding Neverland media event. The mix of college and high school students from across Western New York shadowed Shea's staff members as they worked with media and members of Finding Neverland's cast and creative teams. And they were treated to a preview of the musical number "Believe" by the full cast.
Based on the Academy Award-winning Miramax motion picture by David Magee, and the play The Man Who Was Peter Pan by Allan Knee, Finding Neverland follows the relationship between playwright J. M. Barrie and the family that inspired Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up – one of the most beloved stories of all time. Directed by Tony®-winner Diane Paulus with book by Olivier Award®-nominee James Graham, music and lyrics by Gary Barlow (frontman and lead-singer of UK pop sensation Take That) and Grammy Award®-winner Eliot Kennedy, choreography by Emmy Award®-winner Mia Michaels, this new musical, packed with mesmerizing visuals, irresistible songs and plenty of laughs, is a timeless story about the power of imagination… and spectacular proof that you never really have to grow up.
Finding Neverland is opening its national tour in Buffalo, NY and has been teching at Shea's since September 19. Finding Neverland will open the Shea's M&T Bank 2016-2017 Broadway Series starting on Friday, October 7, and runs through Saturday, October 15. Tickets are available by phone at 1-800-745-3000, online at www.ticketmaster.com, or at Shea's Box Office located at 650 Main St.
The Kenny Awards presents a number of awards for individual performances in leading and supporting roles, as well as the areas of technical implementation, orchestration, set design, and choreography. The two students who win the awards for Outstanding Leading Actor & Actress will receive an all-expenses paid trip to New York City in June 2017 to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program, aka The Jimmy Awards.
In addition, the school selected to receive “The Kenny” for Outstanding Musical Production receives a $5,000 grant from the Lipke Foundation to be used for their theatre department.
The Kenny Awards program, presented by Shea’s Performing Arts Center and the Lipke Foundation, is seeking new judges to inspire and educate the next generation of performers, particularly in the areas of dance/choreography, design, and direction. Interested candidates should have a passion for and experience in musical theatre and/or education. Judges are required to view one performance from each of the 10 program finalists, complete evaluations, and attend various meetings throughout the season. Judges must be willing to drive to any finalist school within Erie, Niagara, and Chautauqua counties.
To be considered for the 2016-2017 season, please send a resume and cover letter stating your qualifications to Holly Grant at email@example.com or PO Box 1130, Buffalo, NY 14205, attn: Kenny Awards by Wednesday, August 31.
Camp Broadway is a one-week summer theatre camp designed for children and teens ages 10-17 with an interest in musical theatre. No previous experience in dancing, singing or acting is required. The camp is taught by Broadway professionals who have many years of experience in the professional theatre world. At the end of this intensive week-long training, the students will showcase their work at the Family Finale on Friday afternoon. This year, they will be performing Legally Blonde and How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying on stage at Shea's Buffalo Theatre!
The Kenny Awards are gearing up for their first appearance at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, aka The Jimmy Awards. The winners of the Kenny Awards for Outstanding Leading Actor and Actress will represent Buffalo and Western New York at the Jimmy Awards later this month. They will work alongside more than 60 other incredibly talented students from across the country, as well as make their Broadway debut on stage at the Minskoff Theatre.
The Kenny Awards are excited to represent Buffalo and Western New York on the national stage, and work with programs from across the country. Follow Joe's and Rachel's journey from June 19-28 on Shea's social media pages and this blog! @SheasBFLO, #kennyawards, #jimmyawards
And check out highlights from this year's Kenny Awards on the video below, produced by Full Circle Studios.
On Thursday, May 19 at 8:00 am, we stopped by Clarence High School to celebrate their win of the Kenny's Outstanding Musical Production award for their performance of Young Frankenstein. Lauren Hall and WIVB Channel 4 news joined us to air two live shots on Channel 4's Wake Up this morning.
At 8:10 am, the cast of Young Frankenstein performed a feature from their production for the camera and a small invited audience of administrators and parents. Once they completed their feature, Carlisle Lipke from the Lipke Foundation and John Schaller from Shea's Performing Arts Center congratulated everyone involved in the production on their incredible production, and presented Clarence High School with a $5,000 check to be used solely by their theatre department. Then staff members from Shea's and Lipke presented each member of the cast, crew, orchestra, and directing team at Clarence with a bronze medallion for their efforts.
Vocal Master Class led by Danielle Rogers & Jen Tylock
Acting for the Camera led by Josie Divencenzo
Scene & Monologue Study led by Jennifer Fitzery
Arts Management led by Jen Swan
Stage Combat led by Steve Vaughan
Vocal Health led by Leah Wietig
Cardinal O'Hara rehearsing for part of their performance from Anything Goes.
Williamsville East rehearsing for part of their performance from The Wiz.
St. Francis rehearsing for part of their performance from Jesus Christ Superstar.
Clarence rehearsing part of their performance from Young Frankenstein.
Forestville rehearsing part of their performance from Into the Woods.
Thank you to the many talented theatre professionals as workshop instructors and our own wonderful stage crew running rehearsals! We hope today was an informative and enlightening experience for our finalists.
The Lipke Foundation and Shea’s Performing Arts Center thanks all who participated in Kenny Day.
A special thank you to our marvelous instructors!
Sarah Dodd / UB Department of Theatre & Dance
Josie DiVincenzo / Niagara University’s Department of Theatre and Fine Arts
Karen Eichler / Defiant Monkey Improv
John Elston / Road Less Traveled Productions
Jennifer Fitzery / Shea's Performing Arts Center
Gina Gandolfo-Lopez / Road Less Traveled Productions
Jason Juenker / NETworks Presentations
Anne Kurtis / Buffalo Laboratory Theatre
Vincent O’Neill / UB Department of Theatre & Dance & Irish Classical Theatre Company
Fortunato Pezzimenti / Irish Classical Theatre Company
Talia Putrino / UB Department of Theatre & Dance
Danielle Rodgers / Buffalo Philharmonic Chorus Pro-Core & Music Educator
Bret Runyon / DC Theatricks
Tracy Snyder / Shakespeare in Delaware Park
Andrew Spragge / Defiant Monkey Improv
Jennifer Swan / Arts Services Initiative of Western New York (ASI)
Jennifer Tylock / Music Educator & High School Musical Director & Producer
Steve Vaughan / Society of American Fight Directors
Leah Wietig / Main Stage Studios
Joy Ann Wrona / Theatre Performer, Director & Instructor
For over 20 years, hundreds of outstanding high school musical theatre productions in Western New York have been recognized and honored by The Kenny Awards.