The cast of “Newsies” at Central High School may be understandably exhausted as they board an early-morning shuttle to Denver next week.
Graduation the previous evening, end-of-year activities and events, and theater rehearsals over the past week… however, the enthusiasm is growing.
“The time has come to grasp the day. Face adversity head-on and seize the day!”
Soon after the 2023 Bobby G Musical Theatre Awards ceremony begins at 7 p.m. on May 18 at the Ellie Caulkins Opera House in Denver, the cast will sing and proclaim these lyrics from the song “Seize the Day”
The Bobby G Awards are the highest distinction for high school musical theater in Colorado, and this year Central’s production of “Newsies” is nominated for four awards, including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, the most prestigious award of the evening.
In addition, the school has already won an award for Outstanding Special Achievement.
Central High School’s theater and dance instructor Amanda Meltzer exclaimed, “This is monumental for Central High School”
“Never undervalue the power of being underestimated.”
She stated, “Central is such an underrated school.” “However, this institution has remarkable students who accomplish remarkable feats… It would be amazing to win.”
During the awards ceremony, the cast of “Newsies” will share the stage with four Front Range high school casts nominated for the overall award and performing in the ceremony.
Meltzer stated that each of these institutions received multiple nominations, which is not as common for Western Slope schools each year.
Central received two nominations and one honor last year, while Grand Junction High School also garnered an award. This year’s recognition in five categories is remarkable, she said.
Meltzer stated that more than fifty students participated in the March production of “Newsies” at Central, ranging from actors, singers, and dancers to theater technicians and members of the orchestra.
In addition to being nominated for the overall award, “Newsies” was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Chorus, which recognizes the ensemble work of the performers, she explained.
Crutchie, portrayed by Central freshman Camryn Leistico, was nominated for the Robert and Judi Newman Rising Star Award, which is given to a freshman or sophomore in a principal or supporting role.
Meltzer remarked that Leistico, who has been acting and performing since a very young age, “comes alive into these characters” on stage. In addition to being an incredible vocalist, she is also an incredible dancer.
In “Newsies,” Leistico transitioned from the role of Crutchie to that of Billy Bob in order to perform a tap number that she helped choreograph. Meltzer stated, “She’s a remarkable young lady.”
Meltzer herself was nominated for Outstanding Achievement in Direction, an honor she received because, as she stated, “I’m not really sure.” “I was very shocked.”
Grand Junction chiropractor Mark Leistico will receive the school’s fifth award nomination, for Outstanding Special Achievement in Parental Support.
Mark Leistico, the father of Camryn Leistico, undertook the 240-mile Moab 240 Endurance Run in October to raise money for the theater programs at the four high schools in School District 51.
Mark Leistico raised over $15,000, a portion of which went to Central for the production of “Newsies.”
Meltzer, who nominated Mark Leistico for the award, noted that he had previously raised more than $40,000 for The Theatre Project, a nonprofit community theater group.
“It’s an incredible honor, but I’ve never done it for the honor. Mark Leistico said, “I gave my all for the children.” It’s great to win a prize because it brings more attention to high school drama.
He will be in Denver for the Bobby G Awards, just as he and his wife attended all four “Newsies” performances on Central.
His daughter is thrilled about her nomination, but “she’s actually more excited about the nomination for the overall award,” he explained. It is a source of pride for the Western Slope.
“Winning would be the icing on the cake,” Meltzer said. However, “we already know how incredible this performance was and how diligently we worked.” I am so pleased of the children.”
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