OMAHA PERFORMING ARTS

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O-pa announces NHSTA winners, hosts Student Share

Posted On May 26, 2022, 10:02 AM by Sarah Kosch
Students perform at the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share

O-pa Education continues its end-of-year celebrations of learning through the performing arts. Elementary students from across Omaha performed onstage at the Holland Center during the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share. We also announced the 2022 Nebraska High School Theater Academy (NHSTA) Award winners, recognizing outstanding performance and technical achievements from students across the state.

Nebraska High School Theater Academy Award Winners
We recently announced the award winners from across the state who will be recognized for outstanding performance and technical achievements at the Orpheum Theater in the 9th Annual Tony Awards®-inspired NHSTA Showcase on Sunday, June 5 at 7:30 P.M.

Broadway performer and Omaha native Q. Smith (COME FROM AWAY, MARY POPPINS) will host the Showcase featuring middle and high school students from over 70 schools statewide. 75 students will perform an opening and closing musical selection with Q. Smith. The assistant choreographer this year is Mia Sherlock, a graduate of Omaha Burke and an NHSTA alum. Awards include outstanding performers, senior of the year award, and artistic excellence behind-the-scenes. The event will also honor outstanding Nebraska educators. This year’s national finalists include 16 top student performers from across the state. 

During the Showcase, two students will be named to represent Nebraska at the Broadway League's National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, known as the Jimmy Awards®, in a performance held Monday, June 27, 2022, at Minskoff Theatre in New York. The two national nominees will join 90 other students from across the United States for a week of coaching with Broadway artists and industry experts. The students compete for top performance awards along with 20 additional awards and scholarships. 

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 backstage professionals. Students also receive professional feedback on school performances and additional performance opportunities. As Columbus Middle School director Celeste Ditter put it: "They [O-pa] bring in the best of the best, their adjudicators are the best of best and they're looking to honor the best of the best" (The Columbus Telegram).

2021/2022 AWARD WINNERS

Outstanding Musical Theater Production

  • Grand Island Northwest High School – Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Hastings High School – Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
  • Kearney High School – Guys and Dolls
  • Lincoln Southeast High School – Once Upon a Mattress
  • Lincoln Southwest High School – Kinky Boots
  • Omaha Burke High School – Disney’s Freaky Friday
  • Papillion-La Vista Senior High School – The SpongeBob Musical
  • V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School – Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach
  • Wahoo High School – The Addams Family
  • Waverly High School – Bright Star
  • Columbus Middle School – Disney’s Moana JR.
  •  Concordia Junior High School – Sister Act JR. 

Outstanding Ensemble

  • Grand Island Northwest High School – Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Grand Island Senior High School – Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins
  • Gretna High School – Shrek the Musical
  • Hastings High School – Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
  • Lincoln Southwest High School – Kinky Boots
  • Lourdes Central Catholic High School – Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Papillion-La Vista Senior High School – The SpongeBob Musical
  • Scottsbluff High School – Big Fish
  • Wahoo High School – The Addams Family
  • Waverly High School – Bright Star
  • Columbus Middle School – Disney’s Moana JR. 
  • Millard North Middle School – Disney’s Aladdin JR.

Outstanding Performance in a Lead Role

  • Briana Nash, Omaha Burke High School – Ellie Blake from Disney’s Freaky Friday
  • Andrew Milburn, Chadron High School – Gomez Addams from The Addams Family
  • Elise Anderson, Lincoln Southeast High School – Princess Winnifred from Once Upon a Mattress
  • Gage Brockmeier, Grand Island Senior High School – Bert from Disney and Cameron Mackintosh’s Mary Poppins
  • Gray Yaghmour, V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School – James from Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach
  • Henry Stelling, Kearney High School – Sky Masterson from Guys and Dolls
  • Isabella Engberg, Kearney High School – Miss Adelaide from Guys and Dolls
  • James Rasser, Papillion-La Vista Senior High School – SpongeBob SquarePants from The SpongeBob Musical
  • Joe Rutar, Elkhorn South High School – The Cat from Seussical
  • John Greisen, Lincoln Southwest High School – Charlie Price from Kinky Boots
  • Kinya Kairigi, Lincoln Southwest High School – Lauren from Kinky Boots
  • Layla Rivera, Kearney High School – Sarah Brown from Guys and Dolls
  • Maia Su, Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School – Ariel from Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Phoenix Nehls, Millard South High School – SpongeBob SquarePants from The SpongeBob Musical
  • Reed Greger, Lourdes Central Catholic High School – Pharaoh from Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
  • Reese Schultz, Grand Island Northwest High School – Sebastian from Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Regan Wiseman, Waverly High School – Alice Murphy from Bright Star
  • Steven Dao, Lincoln Southwest High School – Lola/Simon from Kinky Boots
  • Sydney Barnes, Wahoo High School – Morticia Addams from The Addams Family
  • Tyson Pappas, Hastings High School – Miss Agatha Trunchbull from Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical

Outstanding Performance in a Supporting Role

  • Abram Butler, Papillion-La Vista South High School – Bill Austin from Mamma Mia!
  • Ahaan Gulati, Brownell Talbot College Preparatory School – Grimsby from Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Andrew Powers, Daniel J. Gross Catholic High School – George from The Drowsy Chaperone
  • Avari Geppert, Millard South High School – Eugene Krabs from The SpongeBob Musical
  • Bennett Rowe, Grand Island Northwest High School – Chef Louis from Disney’s The Little Mermaid
  • Bre Matzen, Blair High School – Lisa from Mamma Mia!
  • Dawson Raftaseth, Wahoo High School – Lurch from The Addams Family
  • Dawson Trumbley, Lincoln Southeast High School – King Sextimus the Silent from Once Upon a Mattress
  • Ella Collins, Hastings High School – Lavender from Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
  • Jake Braun, Hastings High School – Bruce from Roald Dahl’s Matilda the Musical
  • Joshua San Miguel, North Platte High School – Count Ipolitov from Anastasia: The Musical
  • Keara Sell, Scottsbluff High School – The Witch from Big Fish
  • Liz Hoskovec, Columbus High School – Denise from The Baker’s Wife
  • Maddie Olderog, Millard West High School – Audrey from Disney’s Descendants: The Musical
  • Maddie Wiswell, V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School – Spiker from Roald Dahl’s James and the Giant Peach
  • Ollie Wells, Omaha Burke High School – Danielle/Ms. Meyers/Sitz from Disney’s Freaky Friday
  • Samantha Hobelman, Lincoln Southwest High School – Trish from Kinky Boots
  • Sydney Easland, Norfolk Senior High School – Brooke Wyndam from Legally Blonde the Musical
  • Timothy Backhus, Nebraska Lutheran High School – Uncle Henry/Emerald City Guard from The Wizard of Oz
  • Toby Rischling, Omaha Central High School – Douglas Panch from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Jimmy Awards Finalists

  • Addisyn Stueve, Bellevue West High School
  • Alexandra Zaleski, V.J. and Angela Skutt Catholic High School
  • Isabella Engberg, Kearney High School
  • Jacee Bates, Chadron High School
  • Josephine Dobson, Lincoln Southeast High School
  • Kinya Kairigi, Lincoln Southwest High School
  • Mary Mancuso, Millard North High School
  • Regan Wiseman, Waverly High School
  • Andrew Milburn, Chadron High School
  • Gage Brockmeier, Grand Island Senior High School
  • Henry Stelling, Kearney High School
  • Jack Hughes, Millard North High School
  • John Greisen, Lincoln Southwest High School
  • Kelvin Thompson, Omaha Northwest High School
  • Steven Dao, Lincoln Southwest High School
  • Tyler Kalinowski, Bellevue West High School

Backstage Excellence Award

  • Fremont High School
  • Columbus Middle School

Outstanding Educator Award

  • Taryn Retzlaff, Norfolk High School
  • Andrew Firkins, Russell Middle School

Senior of the Year Award

  • John Mentgen, Scottsbluff High School

Outstanding Achievement in Design

  • Jalen Johnson, Westside High School – Scenic Design
  • Jazlyn Adams, Scottsbluff High School – Makeup Design

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Management

  • Leah Hurley, Bishop Neumann Catholic High School

The Jimmy Awards Nominees and NHSTA Spirit Award will be announced during the NHSTA Showcase.


Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share

On May 16, 2022, hundreds of students and their families gathered at the Holland Center for the Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share. Students from Chandler View Elementary, Gretna Elementary, Logan Magnolia Elementary, Minne Lusa Elementary and Parkview Heights Elementary performed songs from the musicals they learned at school during their first year of the Disney Musicals in Schools program.

Watch video of Disney Musicals in Schools Student Share

The Disney Musicals in Schools program, developed in partnership with Disney Theatrical Group, provides participating schools with free performance materials and in-school support from a team of teaching artists to produce a 30-minute Disney KIDS musical at their school. Over 17 weeks, teachers learn how to produce, direct, choreograph and music direct their first school show. The goal is to build sustainable musical theater programs in public elementary schools across Omaha, Council Bluffs, Lincoln and surrounding communities.