The Iowa High School Musical Theatre Awards Showcase is an annual event produced by Des Moines Performing Arts to spotlight musical theatre in Iowa’s high schools. DMPS always lands some juicy roles in the production and the 2019-20 school year was no exception. School plays that staged pre-pandemic earned recognitions for outstanding thespians at both East and Lincoln. Like just about everything else scheduled this spring (including many shows that were entered for critical review), the showcase, which was set for June 1 at the Des Moines Civic Center, was cancelled.
But, in the true spirit of “The show must go on,” DMPA launched a special Digital IHSMTA Showcase online featuring videos, photo galleries and other special content from schools and students from across the state, with new content added regularly. Click here to explore the showcase online.
You’ll see highlights from East’s production last November of Sister Act which received the following rave reviews:
- Outstanding Overall Performance
- Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role – Damaris Nelson as Deloris Van Cartier
- Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role – Caeley Coady as Sister Mary Robert
- Special Recognition for Performance in a Principal Role – Ryleigh Hayworth as Mother Superior
- Special Recognition for Performance in a Principal Role – Tristen Utterback as Detective Eddie Souther
- Special Recognition for Ensemble
And Lincoln’s production of Forever Plaid also drew applause from DMPA’s expert panel of “critics,” in the form of:
- Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role – River Wise as Jinx
- Distinguished Scene – “Crazy ‘Bout Ya Baby”
Eight-six schools participated in this year’s program, the most yet, including Roosevelt (25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee) and Hoover (Legally Blonde). Their productions could not be performed and adjudicated prior to the closure of schools or the list of DMPS accolades would doubtless be longer. Both schools have earned many plaudits in past IHSMTA showcases. And Lincoln’s spring production of Hairspray was entered in addition to Forever Plaid but that show too had to cancel its run and could not be reviewed.