Your local Kenny Award winners have been prepping for their upcoming trip to New York City to participate in The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (Jimmy Awards) in mid-June!
Emily Kuhn (Tonawanda High School) and Christopher Palumbo (Starpoint High School) are the recipients of the Outstanding Actress/Actor Kenny Awards for their portrayals of Lucy in Jekyll and Hyde and Bert in Mary Poppins. While Emily still has one more year left of high school theatre, Christopher is looking forward to embarking on his first year at the University at Buffalo this coming fall. In addition, his high school received the Kenny Award for Outstanding Musical Production with Mary Poppins.
As part of their preparation for the Jimmy Awards, these two talented students have been participating in coaching session through the Shea’s Education Department in order to help prepare them to perform their best at the Jimmy Awards.
On Saturday, June 2, Emily and Christopher met with some members of the Shea’s Education Team to run through some acting and presentation exercises.
Shea's Director of Arts Engagement and Education Thembi Duncan taught the students some philosophies and exercises from Uta Hagen’s Respect for Acting. These techniques required the students to break down their show characters in the most basic sense in order to better understand and embody the character that they are portraying. Both of the students felt that this exercise helped them to really feel more attached to their character.
The last coaching was with Tara Scime, a Kenny judge and professional dance instructor. She instructed the two students on the best ways to present themselves to their peers and the judges once they arrive in New York City. She focused on posture and composure and how the students should consider every moment as part of the auditioning process.
All of these exercises were done not only to prepare for the Jimmy Awards, but also to help with the future theatrical and professional careers of Emily and Chris.
In addition to this acting session, Emily and Chris were given a vocal coaching lesson with special guest artist Alyssa Giannetti on Saturday, June 9. Alyssa doubles as a swing and the understudy for Christine Daae in Love Never Dies, which is running at Shea's Performing Arts Center until June 10. Love Never Dies is Alyssa's professional debut as she just recently graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in Opera Performance.
She coached the students through various vocal techniques and took the time to listen to the solo pieces that each of them will be bringing to New York City. Alyssa provided creative feedback and suggestions to aid the students in perfecting their performances and engaged in a Q&A to give them some more insight on the life of a theatrical star.