Lee theater students honored

COLUMBUS — Up-and-coming stars from Lee County High School’s Theater Arts Program shone brightly among a constellation of more than 3,700 high school stars gathered in Columbus for the annual three-day Georgia Thespian Conference.

The troupe from Lee County garnered several honors at this year’s conference-including the top honor of being the conference’s closing performance.

In the Individual Acting Events competition, the two acting duos from Lee County received superior ratings from the panel of national judges. Senior Garrett Odom and junior Demi Davis rated superior with their dramatic scene from the play “Nevermore,” a new show about the life of Edgar Allen Poe.

Amelia Maxfield and Caleb Pines, both seniors, likewise received a superior rating for their scene from “John Lennon and Me,” reprising roles they portrayed earlier this year in the regional one-act play competition. Further, Maxfield and Pines were ranked third overall from among the 55 acting performances in competition, earning them the opportunity to perform in the final showcase of talent that closed the conference on Saturday night.

Additionally, 16 performers from LCHS competed in the Musical Theatre division with their staging of the opening number, “There You Are,” from the Broadway musical The Mystery of Edwin Drood. The group received a superior rating and were recognized unanimously by the judges as the #1 musical theatre ensemble performance out of the 77 acts competing.

T The performers from Lee County were Davis Cowart, Chelsey Shirley, Courtney Shirley, Jonathan Gerstel, Megan Lisenby, Taylor Spriggle, Demi Davis, Caleb Pines, Jessi Robison, Zac Crew, Tiffani Miller, Amelia Maxfield, Garret Odom, Becky Jo Baltenberger, Joseph Solano, and Malarie Warren.

Dotty Davis, the director of the school’s Theatre Arts Program, staged and choreographed each of the three acts representing Lee County. Kevin Blaise, the school’s vocal music director, coached the vocal performances in the musical theatre act. In recognition of their state-level successes, all three of the Lee County acts have been invited to compete in the acting competition at this summer’s International Thespian Festival in Lincoln, Nebraska, a weeklong gathering of high school performers from around the globe.

Another highlight of the annual state Thespian Conference is the opportunity for students to vie for college scholarships and to audition for admission to prestigious university and conservatory theatre programs that attend the conference each year in search of new talent. Three LCHS students participated in the auditions this year: junior Demi Davis and seniors Amelia Maxfield and Caleb Pines. Each generated interest from the schools on hand, and the seniors received admission invitations. Caleb Pines was awarded one of the conference’s top scholarship honors in recognition of his high school theatre resume and his skill as a performer. From a field of 99 competitors, Pines was awarded one of the 10 available scholarships, the $2000 Bell Service Scholarship. He received his award in front of the thousands of conference participants during the closing ceremonies.

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