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.