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Mt. Juliet christian Academy drama team nominated for several Spotlight Awards

Staff Reports • Updated May 6, 2018 at 10:00 AM

NASHVILLE – Nominees for the 2018 Spotlight Awards, which feature students from Middle Tennessee and East Tennessee high schools, were announced recently, and several Mt. Juliet Christian Academy theatrical up-and-comers made the list.

Kathleen O’Brien, president and CEO for Tennessee Performing Arts Center, and Mike Fernandez, dean of Lipscomb’s George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts, announced the finalists, along with the nominees for 12 individual awards and 13 school awards to be awarded May 12 at the fifth-annual Nashville High School Musical Theater Awards or Spotlight Awards.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy’s production of “Singin’ in the Rain” received several individual student and group nominations. Braeden Mahabir was nominated in the standout male dancer and standout dramatic actor categories; Abigail Wilson was nominated in the standout female soloist and standout dramatic actress categories; Olivia McMurtry was nominated in the standout comedic actress category; and Mason Tabor was nominated in the standout comedic actor category. 

Among school awards, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy’s “Singin’ in the Rain was nominated for best show, best choreography, best costume design, best hair and makeup design, best overall design concept, best overall tech and best direction. 

Founded in 2013 by Fernandez, the awards program is presented currently in partnership with TPAC and is one of the nonprofit center’s arts education programs.

Based on feedback from adjudicators comprised of Lipscomb faculty, TPAC staff and local theater professionals, the awards recognize artistic and technical talent in a variety of categories, including best direction and best show. The Tony Awards-style ceremony at TPAC’s Jackson Hall will featured performances from the top 10 schools competing for best show and from the six best actress and actor finalists.

Through TPAC’s connection to the Broadway League, the two students chosen as best actress and best actor will travel to New York in June to participate in the Jimmy Awards. Named in honor of legendary Broadway theater owner and producer, James M. Nederlander, the 10-day program celebrates the most talented high school actors from across the nation.

Tony Award nominee Elizabeth A. Davis, a veteran of stage and screen, will lead a day of performance workshops May 12 at the Lipscomb campus and play host to the Spotlight Awards ceremony. An Innovative Theater Award and NYMF Award winner, Davis has originated 11 roles in plays and musicals and is known for her experience performing diverse roles in Broadway, off-Broadway and off-off-Broadway shows and on television.

General admission tickets to the Spotlight Awards ceremony are on sale at tpac.org, by phone at 615-782-4040 and at the TPAC Box Office at 505 Deaderick St. in Nashville.

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