Theatre Under the Stars


Theatre Under The Stars announced the winners of the 2020 Tommy Tune Awards during an online event this evening that streamed on both Facebook and YouTube. The annual celebration of high school musical theatre in the Greater Houston area has been hosted at the Hobby Center since 2002, but due to the coronavirus crisis, organizers had to get creative.

“Knowing that it would be impossible to host the live event this year, we didn’t want the participating students to lose out on yet another important milestone in their lives,” said TUTS Artistic Director Dan Knechtges. “The show must go on, so our team quickly moved towards creating a virtual experience. With the help of some of Broadway’s biggest names, we provided Houston’s young artists a really special evening.”

The streaming event kicked-off with students showcasing their creativity, retelling their high school’s musical in 30 seconds; followed by an introduction from Taylor Louderman, Tony® nominee for Broadway’s Mean Girls.

“I’m so excited that we’re doing a virtual show for the first time ever,” said Louderman. “It’s super sad that tonight’s ceremony had to be cancelled due to the ongoing pandemic that our world is facing, however it’s incredible that all of you can tune in via Facebook and YouTube tonight!”

Presenters and special guests for the awards show included Kristin Chenoweth (Tony Award®-winner for You’re A Good Man Charlie Brown and Wicked, “Glee”), Audra McDonald (six-time Tony Award-winner best known for her starring role in Ragtime), Rob McClure (Mrs. Doubtfire, Beetlejuice), Laura Osnes (Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella, South Pacific, Bonnie & Clyde), Diane Paulus (Tony Award-winning director of Jagged Little Pill, Waitress), Andy Blankenbuehler (three-time Tony Award-winner for Hamilton, Bandstand, In the Heights), Adrienne Warren (TINA, Shuffle Along), Jeanine Tesori (Tony Award-Winning composer of Fun Home, Thoroughly Modern Millie), Carolee Camello (three-time Tony Award nominee for Parade, Lestat, and Scandalous), Orfeh and Andy Karl (Pretty Woman, Legally Blonde: The Musical), Alex Newell (NBC’s “Zoey’s Extraordinary Playlist,” Once On This Island, “Glee”), Jason Gotay (Bring It On, Freaky Friday), Joe Serafini and Frankie Rodriguez (“High School Musical: The Musical: The Series”), Michael James Scott (Disney’s Aladdin, Something Rotten!), Bobby Conte Thornton (Company, A Bronx Tale), and Jason Sherwood (set designer for The Academy Awards®,” “RENT Live”).

A program of Theatre Under The Stars, the Tommy Tune Awards recognize and reward excellence in the artistry of musical theatre by high school students and their teachers in the greater Houston metropolitan area. The Tommy Tune Awards offer an opportunity for students and educators to share their creative accomplishments while instilling in young people the value of engaging in the performing arts as a lifelong pursuit.

The winners of the 2020 Tommy Tune Awards are:

Best Musical: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Leading Actress: Jocelyn Dorsey from G.W. Carver Magnet High School as “Deloris Van Carter” in Sister Act

Best Leading Actor: Eric Jensen from Friendswood High School as “Miss Trunchbull” in Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical

Best Supporting Actress: Cami Moses from Kinder HSPVA as Sofia” in The Color Purple

Best Supporting Actor: Luke Centanni from Stratford High School as “Aldolpho” in The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Featured Performer: Tomi Akinwande, Alexandria Collins and Keri Palmer from Kinder HSPVA as “The Trio (Doris, Darlene & Jarene)” in The Color Purple

Best Ensemble: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Scenic Design: Spring High School, Aida

Best Costume Design: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone

Best Lighting Design: Spring High School, Aida

Best Stage Crew & Technical Execution: Houston Christian High School, Crazy For You

Best Musical Direction: G.W. Carver Magnet High School, Sister Act

Best Orchestra: Klein Cain High School, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Best Choreography: Kinder HSPVA, The Color Purple and The Emery/Weiner, Head Over Heels

Best Direction: Stratford High School, The Drowsy Chaperone and G.W. Carver Magnet High School, Sister Act

Additionally, $44,350 in college scholarships were awarded to 14 students during the Tommy Tune Awards show. The scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors who plan to pursue a career in the arts.

The Tommy Tune Awards are named for Broadway legend, Houston native and Lamar High School alumnus Tommy Tune. A performer, director and choreographer with more than 50 years of stage experience, Tune received nine Tony Awards for his work in the following productions: Seesaw, My One and Only, A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine, Nine, Grand Hotel and The Will Rogers Follies. He was also awarded the National Medal of Arts in 2003 by President Bush.