MECHANICSBURG – For four consecutive school years, Mechanicsburg High School has participated in the Miami Valley High School Theater Awards (MVHSTA), a program designed to celebrate, support and advocate for high school theater education throughout the Miami Valley area.
The MVHSTA celebrates high school plays, musicals, students and educators by formally recognizing the extraordinary achievements of each community’s productions. The program is organized by Dayton Live’s Office of Education and Engagement (formerly the Victoria Theater Association), based in Dayton. MVHSTA is also one of 46 regional high school musical theater competitions to team up with the Jimmy Awards or the National High School Musical Theater Awards, giving students from the region the opportunity to travel to New York to compete nationally. .
In March of this year, Mechanicsburg High School staged “The Addams Family” as its spring musical, which went to arbitration via MVHSTA. This allows actors and directors to receive scores and feedback based on all aspects of the production, and in turn nominates the show for possible awards at the MVHSTA Showcase, which takes place every June.
For the 2021-2022 school year, MVHSTA judged 21 plays and 20 musicals that were produced at 21 participating high schools across the Miami Valley. The Mechanicsburg High School musical was judged by trained theater professionals from the area as the show ran. Based on the scores and comments given by three separate judges, several accolades were handed out at this year’s MVHSTA Awards presentation on June 7 at the Benjamin & Marian Performing Arts Center in Dayton:
Emry Acton: Merit Award for Lead Actress in a Musical (Wednesday Addams)
JL Blanton: Merit Award for Supporting Actor in a Musical (Uncle Fester)
Lilly Marsh: Merit Award for Supporting Actress in a Musical (Alice Beineke)
Each honored student received a certificate and a medal. In addition to these honors, Acton and Taylor Miller (Morticia Addams) were invited to perform on stage at the Schuster Center as part of The Showcase. Acton, who just completed his senior year, will attend Kent State University in the fall, majoring in musical theater. Marsh and Miller have just completed their first year at MHS, and Blanton his second year.
“In these few years of the new musical theater program at Mechanicsburg High School, we have been blessed with truly remarkable talent,” said Matthew Smith, director of spring musicals at Mechanicsburg High School. “We decided to participate in MVHSTA to showcase the work being done in musical theater at MHS, and these students are wonderful ambassadors for that work.”
Amy Marsh, who works as the musical’s producer, expanded on her involvement with MVHSTA: “It’s important for us as a production team to highlight the value of theater education in our school district and to give our very deserving students an extra opportunity to shine and be recognized for the incredible work they do.We are so proud of these students.
For more information about the MVHSTA program, visit mvhsta.org.
Mechanicsburg Schools Information