See Moments From Colorado’s Annual Bobby G Awards For High School Theatre

The Denver Center for the Performing Arts has hosted this annual ceremony since 2013, but was on hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic

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Carly Philpott

The Bobby G awards were held by the DCPA on May 26 to honor high school theatre productions. Overland High School student Madison Manning was awarded Best Actor for her performance as Deloris Van Cartier for the school’s production of “Sister Act,” which also won Best Overall Production of a Musical.

Carly Philpott and Norah Rudnick

For nearly a decade, the Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) has hosted the Bobby G Awards, which seek to honor exceptional performers and creators in Colorado high school theatre. The Bobby Gs were forced on a two-year recess during the COVID-19 pandemic, but on May 26, they returned with just as much flair as before.

Created by former DCPA President and Broadway Director Randy Weeks in 2013, the Bobby Gs are named after another former DCPA President, Robert Garner, and are Colorado’s regional division of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. According to the DCPA website, “this annual ceremony encourages, celebrates and rewards outstanding achievements in high school musical theatre throughout Colorado while offering a chance at recognition on the national scale.”

And it’s not just about the actors. Although many awards honor performances by supporting or lead actors, others acknowledge the work of behind-the-scenes theatre artists such as scenic, lighting, sound and costume designers, directors, pit musicians, and choreographers.

Bobby G Awards program manager Claudia Carson presented many of the behind-the-scenes awards to young crew members. She described the word “crew” as an acronym for the “creative, rigorous, exceptional workforce” that it is.

“You do not go unnoticed, you are the glue that holds the show together, and you shine,” Carson said.

In an opening speech at the ceremony, DCPA CEO Janice Sinden expressed a continued desire to use the Bobby Gs as an epicenter of Colorado theatre by celebrating every student’s work. “Our main goal is for theatre students and educators to gather and celebrate their productions,” Sinden said. “We understand the incredible impact that the arts have on these students.”

Many students affirmed Sinden’s sentiments. More than a few young thespians used their award acceptance speeches to discuss just how important theatre had been in shaping their lives. “I’m thankful that we have such a strong theatre program for kids like me, who just want to be in the arts,” Glenwood High School student Ava Hillbrad said after winning Best Supporting Actress.

With 18 awards presented and six live performances by nominees, the Bobby G Awards were an eclectic night of music, dance, and heartfelt speeches. Here are some prominent moments.

Full list of winners:

Special Achievement in Sound Design: Kelley Whitehead, “Mamma Mia!,” Brighton High School

Best Supporting Actor: Kai Symons, “Annie Get Your Gun,” Palisade High School; Christopher Ryan, “Zombie Prom,” Pueblo County High School

Best Supporting Actress: Ava Hillbrad, “Freaky Friday,” Glenwood Springs High School

Rising Star (recognition for underclassman): Addison Cain, “The Addams Family,” Central High School

Hair and Makeup: Kaylie Bookout, Josie Lessig, and Jessica Nelson, “The Little Mermaid,” Faith Christian Academy

Lighting Design: Kylie Good and Virgil Lindt, “Zombie Prom,” Pueblo County High School

Costume Design: Jennifer Barclay, Taryn Mitchell, and Jolene Brumm, “Beauty and the Beast,” Elizabeth High School

Scenic Design: Ian Bild and Sara Sachs, “Sister Act,” Overland High School

Orchestra: Pueblo County High School, “Zombie Prom”

Musical Direction: Erin Pettitt, “A Chorus Line,” Denver School of the Arts

Choreography: Christy Inama, Georgia Lawrence, and Riana McHugh, “Once Upon A Mattress,” Palmer Ridge High School

Chorus: Arvada West High School, “The Addams Family”

Special Achievement in Creating A Theatre Culture of Inclusivity: Jennifer Bryner, “Chicago,” Broomfield High School

Special Achievement in Costume Leadership: Isabel Anderson, “Annie,” Fort Collins High School

Direction: Talia Liccardello, Audrey DeMoulin, “Into the Woods,” Littleton High School

Best Actress: Madison Manning, “Sister Act,” Overland High School

Best Actor: Thomas Beeker, “The Music Man,” Frederick High School

Best Production: “Sister Act,” Overland High School