‘The Little Mermaid’ acknowledged in state theater competition


Sasha Shapsis

Bella Gabor, senior, plays Ariel in this year's musical.

Back in March, Amelia Figg-Franzoi, theater teacher and director, entered the production of “The Little Mermaid” into the Wisconsin High School Musical Awards Programs, the Jerry Awards.  This show is the first to have been entered since “The Mikado” in 2014.  The show, which contained a colorful array of costumes and scenery, starred Bella Gabor, senior, as Ariel, JT Snow, junior, as Prince Eric, Jack Cannon, junior, as Sebastian, and Maisie Allen, senior, as Ursula.  

The Jerry Awards, previously known as the Tommy Awards, began in the 2009/10 school year.  The entries, which come from over 85 different high schools in 30 different counties around the state, are reviewed by “educators and industry professionals.”  

The nominations were announced on March 11, and Figg-Franzoi finally shared the information with the cast and crew.  She sent an email which said, “Our Production had 24 nominations, including Outstanding Musical, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Orchestra.”

The final results were released on Thursday, May 8 and Homestead received three awards out of their 24 nominations: Outstanding Orchestra, Outstanding Leading Performance for Bella Gabor as Ariel, and Outstanding Costume Design for Lisa Quinn.  

Gabor, who plans to continue her acting career at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, received her first Jerry Award for this show.  “Receiving a Jerry Award gave me affirmation that I’m taking a right step into the future with my acting career, and I’m so grateful to have coaches like Miss Figg and Andrea Burkholder to support me and push me to where I am today,” Gabor said.    

Award winners will be honored on Sunday, June 9 at the Overture Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Homestead’s Pit Orchestra for the show, who call themselves “The (Pit)tle Mermaid” will be performing at the awards show.  Evan McGuire, junior and cellist in the Pit Orchestra, is humbled by the award and proud of the production, which was Conductor Kristin Houge’s last.  “I felt like each member of the pit was contributing to the music in a truly special way, and for that to be acknowledged with this award is a very satisfying payoff for all the work we put in this winter.  I couldn’t imagine a better send off for Mrs. Houge.”

In reference to costume design, the judges said it, “checked all the boxes for a great design- especially with such a creative, unique design concept for the staging…  And costumes that light up! I can’t even begin to comment. I was in love!”

The award winners look forward to the ceremony in June and are honored to be acknowledged for all their hard work. “I just cannot wait to perform with all these hardworking and incredible musicians at the Jerry Awards in Madison,” Heaven Kim, sophomore and violinist in the pit orchestra, said.





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