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Bobby G Awards inspire young thespians

Isabella Mahal

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Students from high schools across Colorado perform “You Will be Found” together to open the show. Photo Credit: Serena Bettis

On Thursday, May 24, 2018, the Bobby G Awards were held at the Buell Theater at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA). Six Fossil Ridge High School students were nominated in four categories, and though none of them won their respective awards, all had a wonderful time at the show and recognized how valuable the experience was as budding technical thespians, actresses, and actors.

Deana Kochis, one of several theater teachers and directors from Fossil, wanted to begin by saying that she found it “incredible that Fossil doubled their nominations from last year.” Last year’s musical, The Addams Family, won Fossil a nomination in both costumes and best leading actor, which junior Austin Hand was awarded. Additionally, Kochis commented on how proud she was to see both Hand and senior Travis Turner on stage, alongside junior Maria Cuddemi and senior Jordan Hughes, who all performed throughout the night.

Part of this was due to a new tradition for the 2018 award show, in which several students from every school that secured a nomination performed “You Will Be Found” from the musical Dear Evan Hansen together. This performance was meant to embody the spirit of an event that, while competitive in nature, is truly meant to honor high school theater in its purest form.

The event was structured like any major award show, with nominees announced several weeks in advance. Performances and special achievement awards were sprinkled between the specific envelope-readings and professionals in the theater world announced each category. When they read the names of the five nominees, the audience erupted with cheers for their respective peers, and when the winner was read off, the cameras followed them as they took the stage and thanked those who had helped them get there.

The Bobby G Awards are given out on the basis of reports by adjudicators, who attend shows across the state. The Denver Center for the Performing Arts attempts to make sure that each musical is scored by four independent judges, ideally those who are experts in varying fields, such as cinematography, direction, and design. These adults may have a variety of musical backgrounds, but all must go through a DCPA training program.

This year’s special achievement awards went to Eaglecrest High School for prop management, Legend High School in sound design, and Steamboat Springs High School for projections. The special achievement awards are meant to honor aspects of theater that are often overlooked by audiences and even critics, and the staff members who presented the awards to their teams broke down in tears of pride for those students who devoted hours to the tiny aspects that make a musical great.

The Bobby G Awards also masterfully blended real advice and praise for the young thespians with funny anecdotes that kept everyone in stitches. The first speech of the night thanked the students in the audience for being the ones who took action when they saw things wrong in their world, for being the ones “taking our society to the next level.” Meanwhile, the host carried out a female statue with a sign reading “Bobby G’s or Bust”, which he then dubbed “Ochal the Diety” and claimed had to be serenaded by Scottish song. Theater students often get a reputation for being the most boisterous and confident, and they came through on that stereotype at the show, laughing at all the right moments and shouting back their own improvised responses.

Because Hand won the award for Best Performance by a Leading Actor last year, he and Elleon Dobias, who won Best Performance by a Leading Actress, handed out awards and congratulated the winners when they reached the stage. Due to their experience last year, they were well-equipped to understand the nerves and excitement flooding the new recipients, and their handshakes and hugs demonstrated their support for those who reminded them of themselves.

Those two also led into the final performance of the night, in which the ten total nominees for Leading Actress and Actor sang a brief solo from their respective shows. The group spent two weeks at the DCPA leading up to the awards to practice this performance, which was formatted spectacularly like a mash-up. The songs were placed in an order so their themes flowed from one to the next without seeming forced or disconcerting. The winners of those two awards will attend the national Jimmy Awards in New York City in June, and the friendship between all ten was evident in the emotional speeches they gave in which they expressed gratitude for everything they had learned from each one of their new friends.

Kochis explained that the Bobby G Awards have not only a large effect on the nominees themselves, but also their fellow students. She was sitting by ten underclassmen from Fossil at the event, and recounted that they were “gleaming with joy and excitement… it’s just sharing this passion and love that they all have, together.” The awards provided a chance for younger students to understand “how impactful the arts can be in their lives now, and in the future,” and the role models that come from the Bobby G’s are a large part of why Fossil’s theater program stands out, year after year.

About the Writer
Isabella Mahal, Copy Editor
Isabella Mahal: journalist, academic beat leader, activist for what she believes in. Whether it’s defending women’s rights, LGBT+ rights, or freedom of speech, Mahal isn’t afraid to fight for what she finds just. She has been involved in journalism since her freshman year, but she didn’t know until a couple months into the class that...
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Bobby G Awards inspire young thespians