by: Nelson Hicks Updated:
ATLANTA - Is the next Daniel Day-Lewis or Jennifer Lawrence roaming the halls of a Georgia high school??
The state's top high school acting talent gathered at the Cobb Energy Centre Thursday night for the Shuler Awards. The awards are named for Tony Award-winner and Marietta native, Shuler Hensley, and honor the top talent in Georgia high school musical theater.
Awards included featured performer, leading actor and actress, direction and overall production, among others.
Forty-four schools participated in the competition this year. This was the fifth annual Hensley Awards. WSB-TV's Jovita Moore and Fred Blankenship hosted the event. MeTV carried the awards show live Thursday night.
Prior to the awards show, nominees walked the red carpet outside of the Cobb Energy Centre.
The broadcast opened and closed with the Shuler Student Ensemble. Each participating school could select up to two students from its musical to participate in the Shuler Ensemble.
Featured performer was the first big award given out. It went to Crawford Horton, of Milton High School, for his work in "Spamalot."
The Shuler for best actor went to Austin Crute, from Greater Atlanta Christian School, for his performance in "The Wiz."
The Shuler for best actress went to McKenzie Kurtz for her performance in "Spamalot."
Several scholarships were given out during the awards broadcast. The Morrell Memorial Scholarship went to Caroline Grace Stuart of Woodland High School. The Doris Corrie Russell Scholarship for Dance was awarded to Marisa Schaefer of Pebblebrook High School. The Broadway Dreams Foundation presented two scholarships, the Summer Intensive Program to Destini Shelton, of Chapel Hill High School, and the Technical Scholarship to Molly Burch of Woodland High School. The Scenic Design Grant provided by the Jubilee Cultural Arts Alliance was awarded to North Gwinnett High School. Two honorary Shuler Awards were presented to vice president and general manager of WSB-TV Tim McVay and Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre, managing director Michael Taormina.