This spring, I have had the extraordinary privilege to visit many high schools throughout Washington State who are taking part in this year's 5th Avenue Awards and to see their musical theatre productions. I have seen some GREAT theater, great acting, and wonderful music making and imaginative productions … I APPLAUD them all and my hat is off to the 5th Avenue Theatre in Seattle.
For almost fifteen years, the 5th Avenue Theatre has been honoring High School Musical Theater with "Tony" style awards to high schools. These awards recognize the astounding talent in this state. Based on its history and continued improvements to the program over the years, it now serves as a model for other theaters around the United States.
Its impact is far-reaching. These shows are more than just a show.
Theater has the power to bring together a community of people -- as a family. Through the process of production, the act of making theater is what creates the community of people who are learning and working together to achieve a common goal. When the goal is achieved, they present their collective learning to an audience who appreciates and learns from them.
These awards recognize and encourage the amazing talent!! … and … What these teenagers can do is absolutely incredible. With the guidance and support of talented school teachers and administration, they achieve and learn about themselves and what they can do as an individual and as member of a community.
I rejoice! What a marvelous thing to be part of something so great!! … something that encourages and brings out the best in all of us!!