On Friday Jan. 24, thespians from around the district gathered to celebrate one another at the sixth annual Kelley Awards. The Kelleys is a district level awards ceremony that is meant to celebrate each high school’s fall musical by awarding the shows in a friendly competition setting, much like the Tony Awards.

Falcon Theatre’s Big Fish shined throughout the night, winning a total of six awards, including:

  • Best Actor in a Featured Role: Lucas as Amos Calloway
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ethan Hyatt as Will Bloom
  • Excellence in Lighting and Projections: Keegan Moore and Abigail Barlow
  • Excellence in Choreography: Hailey Anders, Jordyn English, Madison Hunt, Delaney Ross, Liah Severino and Alexandria Quintana
  • Outstanding Character Award: Connor Beebe
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Montserrat Luna as Sandra Bloom

Rewind to the start of the festivities, the companies of each of the four Keller ISD high schools’ fall musicals came together to eat dinner and chat at the VIP reception. On the red carpet, Timber Creek Television students Campbell Chote, Ainsley Beers and Madi Hill interviewed several nominees from each school to see how they were feeling before the awards show.

Before the official Kelley Awards ceremony started, Director of Fine Arts for KISD, Kim Blann got onstage to thank her fellow coworkers and lovers of the arts, as well as to sing happy birthday to KISD Superintendent Dr. Rick Westfall.

Following Westfall’s birthday celebration, the official awards show opened with a special performance from host Keller High School (KHS) Technical Theatre Director Brain Ketchum, TCHS student Hailey Anders, and KHS students Aiden Singca and Sarah Fenhle. The actresses wrote and sang a parody of the song ‘Opening Up’ from the Broadway musical Waitress beside Ketchum. The sweet song promoted friendship among the schools with lyrics like: ”Celebrate with your friends. Remember, we’re not here to win. It’s a friendly little rivalry, put on by KISD.”

Hosting the night’s ceremony was none other than Ketchum. Among high school theatre students, Ketchum is famous for his opening monologue, in which he’ll roast each of the high school’s fall musical with his tongue-in-cheek humor. Overall, Ketchum ended up ragging on Central High School’s (CHS) musical Sister Act for five minutes, poking fun at KHS’s broken fountain that resembled a geyser during All Shook Up, the real star of Fossil Ridge High School’s (FRHS) musical Rock of Ages: the moped, and joked about TCHS’s subpar job at sweeping confetti off the stage during Big Fish.

Ketchum’s jovial humor isn’t foreign to seniors involved in Falcon Theatre, especially those who attended Timberview Middle School (TMS). Before working at KHS in the theatre department, Ketchum taught US History to eighth graders at TMS. Although Ketchum only taught at TMS for one year, he kickstarted the school’s video announcements and touched the lives of his former students. Senior Hailey Anders explained that even though it’s been a few years since Ketchum has taught her, he is the same person: a mentor.

“When I first had him for eighth grade history, I was so shocked cause I had never had a teacher who made me love learning so much. Especially about history,” Anders said. “He has always had a way of making every student feel valued and seen. Not only that, he builds connections with every student, and continues to support them even after they’ve left his class.”

Following the awards ceremony was a dance, in which the four companies of each respective musical danced alongside each other in celebration of the art that they created.

”It was nice that the district made it a goal this year to not as much ‘compete’ against one another, but to celebrate the work one another did,” Anders said. “I think having a dance brought people together and left everyone with a positive energy, despite who won what awards.”

The complete list of awards and the order in which they were announced can be seen below:

  • Best Actor in a Featured Role: Lucas Bradanini (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Excellence in Scenery: Emlie Stuber (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Outstanding Character Award: Landry Barker (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Actress in a Featured Role: Renee Nicole Powell (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Excellence in Props: Avari Hinson (FRHS, Rock of Ages)
  • Excellence in Sound: D.J. Hershey (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Excellence in Costuming: Emily Nunn (FRHS, Rock of Ages)
  • Outstanding Character Award: Morgan Benner (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Best Actor in a Supporting Role: Ethan Hyatt (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Jean Southwick (FRHS, Rock of Ages) and Sophia Ellsworth (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Excellence in Lighting and Projections: Keegan Moore and Abigail Barlow (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Excellence in Hair and Makeup: Joa Brown (FRHS, Rock of Ages)
  • Best Crew and Technical Execution: Trevina Iweis (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Best Ensemble: Central High School (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Outstanding Character Award: Michael Mondejar (FRHS, Rock of Ages)
  • Excellence in Marketing and Front of House: Aiden Singca and Ellie Morrison (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Excellence in Choreography: Hailey Anders, Jordyn English, Madison Hunt, Delaney Ross, Liah Severino and Alexandria Quintana (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Best Musical Number: Raise Your Voice (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Technical Direction: Brian Ketchum and Laura Harris (KHS, All Shook Up)
  • Outstanding Character Award: Connor Beebe (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Best Musical Direction: Nick Chabot and Madi King (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Direction: Joshua Harriman and Sarah Devito (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Actor in a Leading Role: Michael Lopez (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Actress in a Leading Role: Montserrat Luna as Sandra Bloom (TCHS, Big Fish)
  • Triple Threat Award: Destiny McIntosh (KHS, All Shook Up) and Aria Tolbert (CHS, Sister Act)
  • Best Musical: All Shook Up (KHS, All Shook Up)

Congratulations to all of those who won awards, as well to those who were nominated. Miss the awards show? Click here to see the ceremony in its entirety.

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