In a special broadcast with Georgia Public Broadcasting last Thursday evening, the ArtsBridge Foundation announced the winners of the 12th Annual Georgia High School Theatre Awards during “Shuler Awards 2020,” a special pre-recorded, co-production that aired statewide.

The complete broadcast is available on-demand, for those who missed the winner presentations and scholarship announcements, at

The Shuler Hensley Awards–as they are are formally known–were created to recognize the best of the state’s high school musical theatre students and schools. They are named for the Atlanta-born star who has performed on stage and on screen.

This year’s award winners span 14 public and private schools from 11 counties across the state. The initial pool of nominees spanned 30 schools from 15 counties.

“ArtsBridge Foundation congratulates this year’s Shuler Award winners from across Georgia,” said Jennifer Dobbs, executive director of ArtsBridge Foundation. “We wish current events made it possible for all 75 schools to complete their performances for competition, and we appreciate everyone’s support in honoring the hard work of nearly 10,000 students in this year’s Shuler Awards.”

Buford High School performs A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder
(Courtesy ArtsBridge Foundation)

The award ceremony, which is usually held in-person, was moved online due to the coronavirus pandemic. The pandemic also caused some schools to not be able to execute their productions, resulting in the loss of eligibility.

“We acknowledge with regret that an array of circumstances – mostly timing of cancelled performances from March 12 through March 15– caused a handful of schools to sadly lose their eligibility to compete,” Dobbs added. “Though they were regrettably out of this year’s competition, in April we announced these eight schools will receive an automatic entry into the 2021 Shuler Awards competition given their students’ demonstrated perseverance and good sportspersonship in times of incredible change.” 

The invitation for an automatic entry guarantees the eight schools will have a place among the 2020-2021 Shuler Awards competitors, allowing them to forgo an application process that usually requires a formal online entry on a designated date each August.

See the full list of award winners and scholarship winners below.

2020 Shuler Hensley Award Winners

  • Overall Production – North Hall High School (Hall Co.), “The Wedding Singer”
  • Direction – Stephen Hansen, Greenbrier H.S. (Columbia Co.), “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
  •  Music Direction – Presley Dale and Jesse Hanks, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.), “Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder”
  • Orchestra – Vicorie Brown, Martha Ellen Stilwell School of the Arts (Clayton Co.), “Little Shop of Horrors” (Brown was also a 2019 nominee for the school’s performance of “Hunchback of Notre Dame”)
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actress – Kathryn Smith as Bonnie Parker, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actor – Charlie Webb as Clyde Barrow, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actress – Natalie Wolff as Ms. Honey, Walton High School (Cobb Co.), “Matilda”
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actor – Finn McGinnis as Nathan Detroit, Prince Avenue Christian School (Oconee Co.), “Guys and Dolls”
  • Best Performance by a Featured Performer – Isaiah Valbrun as Pinnochio, Hiram High School (Paulding Co.), “Shrek”
  • Choreography – Jeremy Mezoff, Lakeside High School (DeKalb Co.), “Mary Poppins”
  • Ensemble – Walton High School (Cobb Co.), “Matilda”
  • Technical Execution – Austin Barge (Technical Director) and Jessica Smith (Stage Manager), Flowery Branch High School (Hall Co.), “Mamma Mia!”
  • Lighting Design – Lucy Barry and Phil Vossieg, Rabun Gap Nacoochee School (Rabun Co.), “The Robber Bridegroom”
  • Sound – Christian Deutemeyer, North Hall High School (Hall Co.), “The Wedding Singer” (Deutemeyer won a 2019 Shuler for sound for performances of “Peter Pan”)
  • Scenic Design – Sadie Pijanowski, Denmark High School (Forsyth Co.), “Bonnie and Clyde”
  • Costumes – India Galyean, Calhoun High School (Gordon Co.), “Pippin”
  • Showstopper – Pope High School in Marietta, Ga. (Cobb Co.) in “Footloose” for “Let’s Hear It for the Boys”
  • Shuler Spotlight Award – Harrison High School in Kennesaw, Ga. (Cobb Co.) “Once Upon A Mattress” for “Shy”

See the full list of nominees here.

2020 Shuler Hensley Scholarship Recipients

The broadcast also included nine students chosen to receive theater- and performing arts-related scholarships. ArtsBridge Foundation and its partners awarded over $10,000 in scholarships, with the individual scholarships ranging from $500 to $5,000. Winners were chosen from a pool of 50 applicants. Scholarship winners include:

  • Alliance Theatre Summer Intensive Scholarship – Scott Hindy, Star’s Mill High School (Fayette Co.) and Kara Bragg, Trinity Christian School (Coweta Co.)
  • Broadway Dreams Foundation Summer Intensive Scholarship – Jesse Hanks, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.) and Brianna Reaves, Ringgold High School (Catoosa Co.)
  • James Carlos Family Musical Theatre Performance Scholarship – Goldie Hatch, Providence Christian Academy (Gwinnett Co.)
  • Luke, Marshall, Wolfe Educational Legacy Scholarship – Kathleen Ryan, Starr’s Mill H.S. (Fayette)
  • Smiley For Kylie Foundation Scholarship – Quinn Conrath, Buford High School (Gwinnett Co.); Reagan Townley, North Hall High School (Hall Co.) and Isabella Scarlett, Gainesville High School (Hall)