Blumenthal Performing Arts
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Winter 2021-22
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In the News
Hickory Ridge High Graduate Wins Best Performance by an Actor at 2021 Jimmy Awards
Photo by Daniel Coston
Kate McCracken and Bryson Battle attend the Jimmy Awards viewing party.
The Charlotte region is ripe with theater talent as another Blumey Award winner has taken top honors at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards,® also known as the Jimmy Awards.®
Bryson Battle, a recent graduate of Hickory Ridge High School in Harrisburg, was named Best Actor at Blumenthal Performing Arts’ 2021 Blumey Awards presented by Wells Fargo in May. He went on to take home the top male honor and a $25,000 college scholarship July 15 at the 12th annual Jimmy Awards. Battle plans to attend the Boston Conservatory at Berklee in the fall to study musical theater.
“Bryson radiates when performing and brings a uniquely stunning voice along with an authenticity in his characterization that is absolutely captivating and a gift to audiences,” said Andie Maloney, vice president of Blumenthal’s education department. “He is not only a brilliant actor but an exceptional person, and we look forward to watching him flourish in the industry!”
This year, all coaching, rehearsals and activities took place online, and 72 nominees from 36 participating regional programs competed. A total of 20 awards and scholarships were awarded to participants. Winners were selected by a panel of Broadway industry experts.
The evening was a momentous one for North Carolina with Battle’s award and Best Performance by an Actress going to Elena Holder from Durham Performing Arts Center’s Triangle Rising Stars program.
Battle and Kate McCracken, a rising senior at Charlotte Latin School, represented Charlotte after competing in the 2021 Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as the Blumey Awards. The Blumey Awards program was created by Blumenthal Performing Arts to recognize, celebrate and nurture the talents of high school musical theater students in the Charlotte region, as well as offer area students a pathway to the national competition.
This year marked the fifth time one of Charlotte’s winners made it to the finals at The Jimmy Awards. Battle is the third Charlotte-area performer to take top honors. ◼
See Battle's Winning Performances
The Blumey Awards
The Jimmy Awards
Photo by Joan Marcus
Talia Suskauer as Elphaba in the North American tour of Wicked.
The Broadway sensation Wicked, the first Broadway tour in the U.S. to resume performances following the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown, flew out of Ovens Auditorium on Oct. 3, completing a successful 32-performance run presented by Blumenthal Performing Arts.
The four-week engagement of Wicked was seen by more than 70,000 patrons. The final week of performances marked the highest grossing week for a show ever presented by Blumenthal at Ovens Auditorium.
“We had high hopes for Wicked as the first show to reopen in our theaters at full capacity, but the experience exceeded our expectations,” said Blumenthal President and CEO Tom Gabbard. “Our audiences went above and beyond in adhering to the mandatory mask policy, and the wildly successful engagement showed us what we suspected all along: that audiences are ready and eager to get back in the theater to experience the electricity of live performance once again.”
Based on a statistical analysis by The Broadway League, the New York City-based national trade association for the Broadway industry, the local economic impact of this year’s engagement of Wicked in Charlotte can be estimated at over $16.7 million. This estimate includes economic impact generated by patrons, tourism, hotels, dining at local restaurants, parking and more. It includes the cost of local supplies and local labor involved in the production. The production also employed nearly 100 local stagehands, hair and wardrobe professionals, musicians and merchandise sellers. ◼
Wicked Defies Gravity in Charlotte, Breaking Box Office Record