Jordan-Elbridge Takes Lead Role in Theater Award Nominations

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Jordan-Elbridge Takes Lead Role in Theater Award Nominations

Abbey Karlik, Writer

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Jordan Elbridge High School has stolen the spotlight at this year’s Syracuse High School Theater Awards (SHSTA’s). Competing with  23 other Central New York high schools, Jordan Elbridge has managed to gain 10 various nominations including Outstanding Overall Production  of a Musical for a Medium School for their 2018 portrayal of Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein.

Inspired by the well-known, national television awards, The Tony Awards, the SHSTA’s allow kids to experience full award show production with an orchestra, multiple casts and a full technology crew. The experience encourages students to work hard at their dreams, keep the theater alive and participate in their community. This year is the 4th consecutive ceremony for the SHSTA’s.

This is will also be Jordan Elbridge 4th time participating in the SHSTA’s and second time being nominated for best musical, an award they actually won in 2016 for How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying. After being asked to perform the large group number and crowd pleaser Transylvania Mania the cast and crew have been called to the stage once again to remember and perfect the number.

Hunter Simmons, notorious for his role as the “Hermit,” in  Young Frankenstein gives us a great backstage look into the award show process. Simmons was a part of the award winning cast of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying as an ensemble member. He explains his past experiences at the SHSTA’s to be “very unique and high energy,” a sentiment empathized with the rest of the cast.

Simmons continues, explaining how watching other schools gives him “the chills, but there’s nothing more intense than waiting for the results.”

Every year, judges are sent out to the participating schools in order to critique the performance based of a different set of standards decided by a committee each year. Having an audience in general can definitely be a little nerve racking by itself, but adding judges puts a whole other layer of pressure on.

Simmons says, however, “the awards definitely help incentivize the director and cast members to clean up number…being judged adds fun…like a sport.”

Besides the obvious stress produced from competing, it seems casts really enjoy bringing their musical back to life for one more performance.

“The awards are just as lively as the performances themselves…” Simmons agrees.

If you’d like to experience these “lively” performances, the Syracuse High School Theater Awards take place Sunday, June 3rd, at 6pm at the Syracuse Landmark Theater. Get your $15 tickets quick because the show must go on. For more information about the award ceremony or school nominations, please visit For the full interview with Hunter Simmons, please read below the article.


Does knowing that nominations and the award ceremony are some of the end goals of the musical affect the way you perform?
Having the knowledge of the SHSTA awards definitely helps the directors incentivize us to clean up our dancing and singing. Behind that, knowing that we are being judged adds fun. It makes the musicals out to be like a sport.



How was your past experience for the awards?
The SHSTA awards are very unique and high energy. I get chills when I see other schools perform, but nothing feels more intense than waiting for the results of a category that your school is nominated for. Last year we were only nominated for one. This year with 10 nominations, I imagine the energy will be electric in the Landmark Theater.

How does it feel to be a part of a nominated musical?
It feels like all of our hard work is validated and recognized. What I really enjoy is that we get to experience the musical all over again almost 2 months later.


Besides the awards themselves, what is the best part of the SHSTA’s?

Being able to bring the musical back to life is the best part of the SHSTA’s. At the awards, it is just as lively as the productions themselves. It’s also nice to dress up and be competitive with other high school students.


What award do you think Jordan Elbridge deserves most?

I certainly think that out of all of the awards that JE is nominated for, we deserve the award for best director the most. Mrs. Deapo, every year, has put in tremendous effort into our productions. It is hard to imagine any other director working harder than Deapo.


Is performing on stage, like having to remember a song and dance, a bonus or a negative?

Our performance at the stage in Syracuse is a huge bonus to going to the awards. At the award ceremony, we will be performing in front of our biggest audience ever, and that in itself is exhilarating.


Is it easy to prepare to sing/dance in front of an audience again?

For me personally, it was extremely easy to prepare our ensemble number for another performance. I remembered nearly all of the dance moves. I’m quite nervous for other people however. Due to the fact that we are performing for the best of the best of students our age, I hope the group as a whole is polished.


What other schools are you excited about seeing perform?

I’m excited for the main group number rather than individual school performances. The main group number includes people from all different schools that come together for a mini production.


What’s your favorite part about being in the musical?

I absolutely love putting on a show for the audience. Being able to play a role for an audience, and hearing them interact with an applause energizes me. Not to mention I love dancing.


As a senior, what do you have to say to future cast members and possible SHSTA participants?

As a senior, I want to tell future participants to enjoy the moment. Soak in the show tunes and let them energize you to work harder in the following years.

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