Drama department honored, performs number from “Evita” at Pantages Theater

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The "Evita" cast perform "And the Money Kept Rolling In" at the Pantages Theater. The drama department was recognized at the 4th annual Jerry Herman Awards (Photo courtesy of Giselle Langley).

Oak Park High School’s drama department has been recognized for its theatrical productions at the 4th Annual Jerry Herman Awards. This awards show is a celebration of the achievement and excellence in high school musical theatre in schools in the Los Angeles area. Oak Park’s drama department was previously nominated for Cabaret in 2014 and for the production of Les Miserables in 2013.

Not only was Oak Park nominated for Best Orchestra and a surprise nomination for Best Onstage Performance for the production of Evita and Best Ensemble/Cast for A Chorus Line, the school was also selected to perform at the prestigious Pantages Theater in Hollywood. Oak Park is one of only four high schools that received this opportunity, and performed “And the Money Kept Rolling In” from Evita, highlighting the vocals of senior Griffin Hughes.

Other schools invited to perform included students Palos Verdes Peninsula High School, who performed “Transylvania Mania” from Young Frankenstein, New Community Jewish High School, who performed the opening number from The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee and Chaminade College Preparatory High School, who performed “Gaston” from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast.

Presenters from the worlds of Broadway, film and television confirmed to present awards included Corbin Bleu and Kenny Ortega, both known for their participation in the High School Musical movie phenomenon, among many other renowned performers.

Although Oak Park did not win any of the awards, the performers who participated experienced an incredible night to remember.

It was really fun and it was honestly an experience I will remember forever—and I know that’s cliche but its true,”

— Zach Finn

“It was really fun and it was honestly an experience I will remember forever—and I know that’s cliche but its true,” senior Zach Finn, one of the few males to perform in the number, said.

Due to the once in a lifetime opportunity to perform on such a famous theater which has had so many amazing and groundbreaking performers in musical theater history as veterans of the stage, the Evita performers determined to make their performance a memorable one.

“We had three rehearsals last week for about two hours where we reviewed the number, but all in all it was really fun. All of our hard work definitely paid off,” sophomore Julia Parry said.

Seniors Yael Karoly and Matt Yulish were nominated for the Best Actress and Best Actor categories in a musical, and displayed their talent in an opening number with nominees from the other participating schools with songs from Hello Dolly.

Performing at the Jerry Herman Awards was a bittersweet way to say goodbye to many of the graduating seniors in the drama department, displaying their immense potential for excellence in the future in regards to the performing arts. And for those who are not pursuing theater in the future, it was a great opportunity to experience what a Broadway performance would feel like with an energetic full house.

Parry described the experience as one word: “Exhilarating.”