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NASHVILLE – Out of 28 participating high schools and more than 1,200 drama students, Mt. Juliet Christian Academy’s performance of “Guys and Dolls” took home the top honor of outstanding musical last Saturday at the 2019 Spotlight Awards at the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Mike Fernandez, dean of Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts, created the Nashville High School Musical Theatre Awards, or Spotlight Awards to recognize excellence in local high school theatre. Presented in partnership with Tennessee Performing Arts Center, the program evaluated musical productions from 28 Tennessee high schools.

With American Idol alum Piper Jones as host in TPAC’s Jackson Hall, the Tony Awards-style ceremony May 11 recognized individual and ensemble talent in 27 categories after students participated in all-day workshops on the Lipscomb campus.

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy also won Spotlight Awards for outstanding choreography and outstanding costume design.

“We are absolutely honored and grateful to have received the Spotlight Award for outstanding musical out of all the amazing high school theater talent in Tennessee,” said Kimberly Overstreet, theatre and choral director at Mt. Juliet Christian Academy. “Participation in the Spotlight Awards has provided my students with many invaluable and wonderful experiences, and to be recognized for all their hard work in ‘Guys and Dolls’ was the highlight of their year.”

Seniors Markie Scott and Kenslea Rose were recognized as part of the 2019 all-star crew, and seniors Mason Tabor and Abigail Wilson were recognized as part of the 2019 all-star cast.

“As a teacher and theater director, I am constantly looking for new ways to challenge my students so they can grow and enhance their skills,” Overstreet said. “This production of ‘Guys and Dolls’ has done just that by challenging this incredible group of students to perform at a higher level than thought possible either onstage or behind the scenes. I am blessed with an amazing cast and crew and am incredibly proud of their dedication to the theater program. It is a pleasure to work with them every day.”

Mt. Juliet Christian Academy’s production of “Guys and Dolls” was nominated in the top five for seven school awards in the categories of outstanding choreography, outstanding ensemble, outstanding costume design, outstanding hair and makeup, outstanding design concept, outstanding technical elements and outstanding musical.

Mt. Juliet Christian theatre students were also nominated for four individual awards, including senior Abe Gibson for outstanding male soloist; senior Mason Tabor for outstanding comedic actor and outstanding lead actor; and senior Abigail Wilson for outstanding lead actress.

Lipscomb University’s George Shinn College of Entertainment and the Arts is the fastest-growing college in the university, with a variety of undergraduate and graduate degrees. The mission of the college is to be a Christ-centered, innovative, entrepreneurial arts community committed to rigorous artistic training, creative collaboration and professional growth that seeks to train the next generation of believer artists who seek to uplift, challenge and entertain. For more information, visit cea.lipscomb.edu.