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Dazzle Awards Spotlight High-School Talent at Playhouse Square

Broadway has the Tony Awards. Northeast Ohio high schools have the Dazzle Awards.

Daniel Hahn, Playhouse Square's V.P. of Community Engagement and Education, explained how the nominees are selected.

"We send a panel of adjudicators to all 23 participating high schools.  They have a scoring rubric of categories, just like the Tony Awards... best actor, best actress, best musical, behind-the-scenes awards for costumes and technical theater," he said. 

Playhouse Square debuted the Dazzle Awards honoring the top musical theater students from Northeast Ohio high schools last year. 

All of the nominees will perform Broadway-style production numbers as the awards ceremony Saturday takes the stage at the Connor Palace at Playhouse Square.

Last year's best-actor winner J.R. Heckman, a sophomore at Solon High School, took pride in sharing the spotlight with so many Northeast Ohio students with a passion for music theater.

"It was such an amazing experience, because we all have this love and passion for theater.  And they're all so talented," Heckman  said.

The ceremony features big production numbers directed by Broadway veterans.

Last year's best actress winner Kate Klika, a junior at Firestone High School in Akron, learned a lot from the experience.

"It just gives you an idea of what a fast-paced, professional production is like," Klika said.

Like Heckman and Klika, this year's best actor and best actress winners travel to New York City later this year to participate in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the 'Jimmy Awards.'

The 2017 Dazzle Awards take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m at Playhouse Square.

Listen for Dan Polletta's interview with Daniel Hahn, J.R. Heckman and Kate Klika Tuesday at 12:33pm and 1:33 pm during Here and Now featuring the Sound of Applause on 90.3.

Listen to the entire interview:



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