Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre is rolling out the red carpet for what is being billed as the high school version of the Tony Awards.
"This is a wonderful celebration of excellence on the high school level in regards to musical theater," said Vanessa Ballam, conservatory director at UFOMT.
The Utah High School Musical Theater Awards is a new scholarship program developed to reward excellence at the high school level.
Beginning in 2010, Ballam and other representatives of UFOMT traveled across the state to attend and adjudicate high school productions. Several Top of Utah schools participated in the competition and have received nominations.
Nominated schools and artists will perform, and winners will be announced at Saturday's awards ceremony, hosted by UFOMT director Michael Ballam.
Vanessa Ballam said the ceremony offers musical theater students from across the state the opportunity to interact and see each other's work.
"It can only raise the bar for musical theater in the state of Utah," she said.
UFOMT will pay for the winners of the best-actor and best-actress awards to be sent to New York City to attend the National High School Musical Theater Awards, Ballam said.
Once there, the students will have the opportunity to participate in rehearsals and master classes, receive one-on-one coaching from theater professionals, be seen by casting agents and meet and converse with Broadway actors.
These events culminate in a live awards show hosted by Broadway veterans and television personalities, and featuring the presentation of the Jimmy Award for best performance by an actress and best performance by an actor.
Top of Utah schools and performers nominated for awards:
Best Musical: Bountiful High School's "Crazy for You"; Legacy Preparatory Academy's (North Salt Lake) "Fiddler on the Roof"; Logan High School's "White Christmas"; St. Joseph High School's (Ogden) "The Pajama Game"; and Sky View High School's (Cache Valley) "The Wizard of Oz"
Best Actor: Shelby Thomas of Uintah High School; Aaron Wilcox of Legacy Preparatory Academy; Hayden Call of Bountiful High School; and Jacob Fresques of Morgan High School.
Best Actress: Taylor Nefcy of St. Joseph High School; Katie Francis of Logan High School; and Hanna Cutler of Bountiful High School
Best Supporting Actor: Nate Cornell of Roy High School; Justin Mendez of St. Joseph High School; and James Wright of Legacy Preparatory Academy
Best Supporting Actress: Lauren Sidwell of Logan High School; and Bailey Martinez of St. Joseph High School.
St. Joseph also received nominations for best directing, best choreography, best lighting design, best set design, best costumes and best ensemble.
Bountiful received additional nominations for best directing, best choreography, best costume design, best lighting and best ensemble.
Logan received additional nominations for best directing, best choreography, best costume design, best lighting design and best ensemble.
Uintah High School received a nomination for best technical crew for its production of "The Scarlet Pimpernel."