While the Kennys don't even come close to the size and scope of the Tonys, we like to think the Kenny Awards hold just as much value to our community. The students, educators, staff, and volunteers who work on high school productions put countless hours into making it the best possible show it can be. And while a sold out house and standing ovation are terrific indicators of a job well-done, so is recognition by our region's only high school musical awards program!
Every school in Erie, Niagara and Chautauqua counties is eligible to apply for the Kenny Awards in the fall. Every school that applies then interviews with the judging panel to discuss and sell their program. During this process, the judges look at every aspect of the program, including the educational experience the students are receiving and the unique and creative ways the school's directing team is approaching their challenges and constraints. Based on the application and interviews, the judges have the nearly impossible task of narrowing it down to only seven finalists. Already, these seven schools are receiving recognition just by being accepted into this highly competitive program!
The dedicated theatre and performing arts professionals on our judging panel see all seven finalists' productions throughout the year. Based on what they see, they then have to select the best elements and performances, which is never an easy decision. Selecting only one winner per category has always been a challenge with all the talent we have here in Western New York. As a way to help recognize more productions and students and to provide feedback to the finalists, we started announcing the nominees in each award category two weeks prior to the ceremony. (You can check out the 2014 Kenny nominees and winners here.)
We are announcing the 2015 Kenny nominees on Wednesday, April 29 at 7:00 pm. There are eight categorical awards, including Costume Design, Technical Design, Dance Performance, and Orchestral Performance, and five individual awards, including supporting and leading actor and actress. All seven finalists are automatically nominated for the Outstanding Musical Production Award. Click here for a complete list of award categories.
While you wait anxiously for the Kenny nominations announcement, you should tune in to the 2015 Tony Awards nominations announcement on Tuesday morning, April 28. These productions are shows that your school could perform in the future and may also tour to Shea's! You can learn more about all the eligible Broadway productions online - http://www.tonyawards.com/en_US/broadway/spotlight/best_musical.html.