was so high this year that in most categories, individuals and ensembles had to earn perfect scores to win awards. “I feel like the bar has been raised a little bit,” Brazil adds. “Maybe they’re growing as performers — putting more out there, taking some bigger risks.” This year’s Applause Awards ceremony featured a dazzling array of segments from winning productions — ranging from vin- tage shows such as Guys and Dolls to the contemporary Bring It On: The Musical. And, although the program is limited to high schools, the audience got a preview of future competitors when Indian Dana Brazil, director of education, spearheads the Applause Awards. Trails and Millennium middle schools staged numbers from Once Upon a Mattress and Annie Jr., respectively. The polished performances by students so young drew gasps, followed by thunderous applause. And in 2016, no musical theater showcase would be complete without a nod to the hip-hop Broadway blockbuster Hamilton, 16 artsLife | FALL 2016 winner of 11 Tonys. Alumni from the - standing Lead Performers in a rendition of “Alexander Hamilton.” Isabelle Pride of Lake Highland Preparatory School and Ryland Marbutt of Harrison School for the Arts were selected as runnerup nominees for the Jimmys. In addition, two students were selected by their peers for special recognition: Maddie Walker of Trinity Preparatory School received the Spirit of the Applause Awards honor, given to a lead- growth and sharing of talent. Frank Zwally of St. Cloud High School received the Rising Star Award, given to a performer who has shown the most growth and dedication throughout the rehearsal process. The School of the Arts also announced winners of seven $500 scholarships and nine $1,000 scholarships, all funded by the arts center, the Florida Theatrical Association, James Hopes and John Ettinger II.
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