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Ovation Awards to be re-named

Posted at 2:31 PM, Mar 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-01 14:31:55-05

EAST  LANSING,  MI. -- To honor Tony Award winning  actress, and Michigan native, Sutton Foster’s contribution to American musical theatre, the annual Ovation Awards will now be  known  as The  Sutton Foster Ovation Awards Michigan High School Musical Theatre Awards. The  Sutton  Foster  Ovation  Awards are  a celebration  of  outstanding achievement  in  musical  theatre performance by high school students and recognize individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance. 

For the last four years the best of Michigan’s high school theatre students have competed  in the Ovation  Awards for  the  scholarships  and  awards  on Wharton Center’s Cobb Great  Hall. One  top  male and  one  top  female  performer from  the  competition are chosen  to  represent  the  State  of  Michigan  at  the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (The“Jimmy”Awards) competition held in New York City. The Ovation Awards, presented by Broadway in Detroit, Broadway Grand Rapids, and Wharton Center for Performing Arts, caught the attention of Foster, one of the most popular Broadway performers of all time and a native of Troy Michigan.  “Musical theatre has had such a significant impact on my life! I am honored to have my name associated with the Ovation Awards and scholarship program, and I am thrilled to know that it will help inspire and support future generations of student thespians from my home state.

”Wharton Center’s Executive Director, Mike Brand, says naming the awards after Foster will encourage more
young people to get involved in theatre.  “This is a huge win for young performers across the state.  Sutton
Foster’s success on the stage and her dedication to arts education inspires kids and adults alike.  Our goal is
to  have  every  high  school  that  presents  musical  theatre  in  Michigan  participate  in  this  annual  awards
program,  and  we  are  honored  to  be  able  to  distribute  these  scholarships  to  young  artists.  Sutton’s
involvement gives the Ovation Awards huge credibility!”  2 Broadway  in  Detroit  Executive  Director, Al  Lichtenstein, agrees.  “Sutton  Foster  is  one  of  the  biggest Broadway  stars  today. Her  connection  to  the  awards  will  only  increase  the engagement of  high  schools across the state.  This is a big win for the state
of Michigan.” Mike Lloyd, Executive Director of Broadway Grand Rapids, notes, “We are overjoyed that stage and screen actress Sutton Foster is lending her name to the Ovation Awards.  This places another level of prestige upon the competition.  It will  only  encourage  more  students  to learn  about  performing  arts and to participate  in their
musical theatre programs. ”Originally  from  Troy,  Michigan,  Sutton  Foster  is  an  award-winning  actor,  singer and  dancer who  has performed  in  11  Broadway  shows – most  recently  the  revival  of Violet – and  originated roles  in  the Broadway  productions  of The  Drowsy  Chaperone, Little  Women, Young  Frankenstein, Shrek  The  Musical,and her Tony Award - winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie. She was first
seen  on  television  on Star  Search at age 15 and currently stars in TVLand’s critically-acclaimed  series Younger.
Previously Sutton appeared in ABC Family’s Bunheads, Psych, Johnny  and  the  Sprites, Flight  of the  Conchords,  Sesame  Street,  Law  and  Order  SVU and Royal  Pains.

In  2011  she  received  an  Honorary Doctorate  degree  from  Ball  State  University  where  she  also  is  on faculty  as  a  teacher  and  advisor  to  the Department of Theatre and Dance. The  Sutton  Foster  Ovation  Awards performance  and  presentation  will  take  place June  11-12 on  Wharton Center’s Cobb Great Hall Stage. The awards weekend includes intensive education, rehearsal and coaching for all nominees, culminating in a performance of Broadway numbers and an awards ceremony in front of a live  audience. 

The  winners  of  the  competition  are  considered  the  top  male  and  female  musical  theatre performers  in  Michigan  for  that  given  year.  Each  winner  receives  a  $1000  cash  prize,  a  scholarship  to Wharton Center’s Take It From The Top Summer Broadway Intensive, and an all-expense paid 6-day trip to NYC to represent the state of Michigan in the National High School Musical Theater Awards. To  qualify  for  participation for the Sutton  Foster Ovation  Awards, schools  must  submit  the  name  of  the student performer who plays the leading male and/or female role in an eligible high school musical presented during  the  2015-2016  academic  year.  Rules,  regulations,  online  application,  and  additional  resources  are available at www.whartoncenter.com. 

The nomination deadline is Monday, May 30th, 2016. All nominees will be notified via email on or before June 5,
2016, of their acceptance into the Ovation Awards scholarship competition. For high-resolution images of Sutton Foster and the Sutton Foster Ovation Award logo visit www.whartoncentermedia.com.