June is an exciting time for Omaha Performing Arts and The Nebraska High School Theater Academy (NHSTA). We get to recognize our NHSTA students and educators. NHSTA celebrates the power of the arts and supports high school and middle school theater programs by connecting teachers and students to learning opportunities with Broadway stars, theater and stage professionals.
Students also receive tickets to touring Broadway shows, professional feedback on school performances and additional performance opportunities. The NHSTA program began in 2013 with 22 Omaha-area schools and now reaches more than 8,500 students across Nebraska each year.
Annually, students have an opportunity to represent the state at the Tony Awards®-inspired showcase event. However, due to COVID-19 it was canceled. But we wanted to ensure the hard work of students and teachers did not go uncelebrated. This week NHSTA students and teachers will be honored at the 7th annual showcase – which will be our first ever NHSTA digital ceremony. The event will take place on Omaha Performing Arts’ Facebook page
on Saturday, June 13 at 6:00 PM.
Broadway performer and Omaha native Q. Smith will host the online showcase featuring middle and high school students from 85 schools across Nebraska. The program will contain opening and closing musical selections from students. Awards will include outstanding actor/actress, senior of the year award, and artistic excellence behind-the-scenes. The event will also honor an outstanding Nebraska educator.
While this year’s showcase will be held online, we know this opportunity gives our youth and education leaders a sense of hope for the future. “Education is a vital part of Omaha Performing Arts’ mission, and the Nebraska High School Theater Academy is one of the ways we live out that mission – so even if we couldn’t gather in person it was important that we found a way to come together and celebrate this year’s participants,” says Kathleen Lawler Hustead, Associate Director of Education at Omaha Performing Arts.
Last year’s Jimmy Awards Student Reporter winner, Hannah-Kate Kinney from Westside High School, produced a special showcase preview video ahead of Saturday. Check it out here
Be sure to follow Omaha Performing Arts on Facebook, so that you will get a notification when the NHSTA showcase goes live on June 13 at 6 PM.