Homestead High School Tommy Award Nominations

Screen Shot 2015-02-25 at 7.29.04 PMNamed for local Broadway star Tom Wopat, the Tommy Awards encourage, recognize, and honor excellence in high school musical theater. Educators, industry professionals, and theater experts review productions at more than 60 high schools, provide valuable feedback and advice, and honor schools and individuals’ achievements with category-based awards. Schools and individuals receive awards at a ceremony held at Overture Center in June, and two outstanding performers advance to The National High School Musical Theater Awards competition n New York City.

Homestead High School was eligible to enter this amazing program for the first time this year.  We just heard the news for our own evaluation of our our 2015 musical The Mikado.  Here are some comments from the three reviewers who enjoyed the show…


The cast of "The Mikado"
The cast of “The Mikado”

“There was some pretty fantastic teamwork in this show. A few memorable scenes I truly enjoyed: The introduction was clever and really funny. I’ve seen some clever intros…but this was a really great one.”

“The ensemble for this production was essential to the show’s success. Both male and female groups worked extremely well to create an identity within each sub group, but also performed very well as a complete ensemble in large group numbers. “If you want to know who you are” was a memorable introduction to the male ensemble, as musicality and energy were both strengths of the group. The ladies countered on an equally impressive level with “Comes a train of little ladies.” When both ensembles performed together there was an overwhelming sense of focus and commitment to the scene. As a whole, the ensemble can continue to bring a lighthearted, boisterous energy to each scene.”

“The ensemble in this show was spot on. They knew their staging and characters well. They seem to have chosen their characters and stayed within them throughout. I especially enjoyed them in “A wand’ring minstrel I,” “Comes a train of little ladies”and”Braid the golden hair.” Overall,they were a fantastic ensemble.I loved seeing them all on stage moving the story along with energy and commitment. The musicality was wonderful throughout, and I was particularly struck by the madrigal piece.”


The "Three Little Maids"
The “Three Little Maids”

“Maggie Collins (Yum Yum) – Maggie had a really nice performance. This interpretation of the show lent itself nicely to this character. Her scenes with Nanki-Poo were solid with really great chemistry between the actors, but the trio work with her and the other women was outstanding.”

“Nanki-Poo – Jonathon Bartlett was very entertaining in his role. He was effective in painting Nanki-Poo as a passionate dreamer, capturing that runaway musician character very well from the beginning. His acting strengths were stage presence, diction, and ensemble work.”

“Sam Faber (Pooh-Bah) – Sam had to juggle a lot of hats (literally) in the character and he did it quite well. His stage presence as Pooh-Bah was pretty interesting as his true motives seemed hidden and exclusive from each of the many titles he held. It’s always a joy to see an actor having a blast on stage.”

Mari Duckler as The Mikado and her Minion, Allison Rowe
Mari Duckler as The Mikado and her Minion, Allison Rowe

“Mari Duckler as the Mikado – a fantastic character performance and cool choice casting a female in the role. She came out CRAZY which was so much fun to watch. Her character was dancing right on the edge of losing it in rage and I loved it. “From every kind of man obedience I expect,” was a highlight of the whole show for me.”

“Pish-Tush – Mikah Semon was a good fit for this role.  He worked very well with the ensemble of men and executed his lines with diction and clarity.”

“Pitti-Sing – Maddie Fricker was delightfully fun in her portrayal.She worked extremely well with Peep-Bo and amongst smaller ensemble groups. Her comedic timing and vocal characterization were hilarious. Vocally, she contributed to the beautiful harmonies and was on pitch during any solo lines.”

“Peep-Bo – Alexis Thompson was the perfect combination of spunky and sweet.  She worked wonderfully opposite Pitti-Sing, providing an intriguing contrast with her sass. Vocally, she sang with a sweet, dark, and brassy tone.  The popcorn eating was subtle yet timed perfectly, providing the perfect amount of comedy.”

“William Toney (Ko-Ko) – I don’t know how to properly say how much I adored this performance. I love the character that William created. It was larger than life. He was absolutely hilarious and “As some day it may happen” was just amazing. The bit with cuing the orchestra was awesome.”

William and Grace singing "There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast"
William and Grace singing “There is Beauty in the Bellow of the Blast”

“Grace Bobber’s Katisha was simply amazing. Her “ugliness” was so incredibly beautiful to me. I couldn’t wait for her to come back onto the stage to see what choices she was going to make next. Her singing and acting ability made me want to watch her constantly. The character she created was full-on crazy with just the right amount of humanity and decency to make me want to get to know her entire back story.  Her singing voice is unbelievable for a high school student. The difficult material seemed easy in her hands and the acting through song was truthful to the character she created. Her expressions, pitch, lyrics were really wonderful to hear and watch. All the basic skills needed for a professional actor/singer are there and then some. An absolutely perfect choice to complete a high school career!”


Featured dancers
Featured dancers

“Clearly the performers in this show have or are receiving dance training. That was amazing to see. It also is always a shock to see pretty good tapping at this level. The choreography added a lot to the show particularly because it was executed so very well. The pictures created for the big choral numbers were wonderful to look at, with interesting staging and fluid lines.”

“I was almost immediately struck by the choreography and the quality of the dance and dancers that The Mikado offered. I noted the choreography was “inventive, especially in Act II.” “The flowers that bloom in the spring” and the tap number were two of my favorites. The choreography and movement in the large group scenes were well placed and interesting. The core group of dancers was wonderful to watch with full extension and strong dance skills. The use of scooters throughout added a certain flow to the movement which couldn’t have been achieved without them.”


“Gilbert and Sullivan cram as many words as they possibly can into each line (at least it seems that way.) The show is not terribly simple to sing or perform but these students did an excellent job.”

“There is no doubt that the difficulty level of presenting The Mikado in high school is a 10 out of 10. The music, the lyrics, and the themes — all elements of The Mikado are very difficult. I would think that the music of Gilbert & Sullivan is not generally known to the high school ear, but the performers onstage and in the pit made it look like and sound like it was as familiar as their favorite pop songs.”

“Finally, the sheer demands of the piece vocally and physically on high school students make it a very difficult show to do and it requires a high level of vocal endurance. The Mikado is a show that takes an inordinate amount of strength, control and endurance. A very ambitious undertaking performed at a very high level.”


“This choice was a gamble, but one that I think paid off. The director/choreographer and the music director clearly had a unified vision as to how to make a 130 year old show relevant to teenagers of today.”

“The lead and featured ensemble was fantastic as was the rest of the cast. The show was staged beautifully and the entire set was used. There were so many levels to the set and the actors got around every inch of it. The pieces where the performers planted and sang never felt static because the placement of performers made fluid sweeping lines across the stage in all directions and dimensions. Every person was devoted to this performance and the concept never wavered.  Again- a huge risk but one that I am sure these performers will not forget.”

“Amelia Figg-Franzoi’s direction of Homestead High School’s The Mikado was a perfect balance of updating a traditional show and making it fun, interesting and relevant to her cast, crew and audience.”


The Pit Orchestra for "The Mikado"
The Pit Orchestra for “The Mikado”

“The musical direction was an asset to this production. The most impressive aspect was the quality of ensemble vocal unity. The harmonies were consistently present while the cast was prepared to conquer small group harmonies and tempos at a high level. The madrigal song was an effective example of high musicality and direction as the four performers were on pitch and balanced. The Act 1 Finale saw the entire ensemble unified under musical direction and attacking harmonies with beautiful tone and accuracy.”

“The orchestra for this production was a talented, functional unit. The tempi and phrasing of the music was beautiful, never once negatively impacting the performance of the cast. There was an obvious communication between orchestra and performer. The sound levels between vocalists and orchestra were also consistently balanced, never overpowering one another. Overall, this group of musicians was a fantastic asset to the overall production.”

“Ms. Rebecca Winnie’s musical direction and orchestra were perfect in sound, balance and beauty. They never overwhelmed the onstage talent, but possessed an amazing talent of their own that showed professionalism at every turn. Involved sometimes vocally, their timing was perfect, but musically — Wow! What else can be said? The accuracy and interpretation under Ms. Winnie’s direction was simply beautiful. Ms. Winnie’s direction of the onstage talent was also brilliant in its balance. Harmonies were beautiful. The full chorus sound was fresh and energetic and clear. The solos and small group numbers were on-pitch and interpreted in full character. Because of the difficult pacing and musical style, the cast was very dependent on Ms. Winnie’s timing and relied on her direction.”


Bridget and her troupe of costume girls!
Bridget and her troupe of costume girls!

“The CosPlay theme was interesting and extremely well-executed. The sheer number of costumes was stunning – so many pieces and all so well done. Kudos. Clearly the crew working on costumes did their research into current trends in CosPlay.”

“The costume design was very creative and authentic in its approach to differentiate each character. The performers moved freely and functioned well within their own outfits. The ensemble of girls was a highlight as there was a unity in color and style, but the longer socks or stockings were individualized, giving identity to each girl.”

“The costumes here did create a visual party for the eye. The colors and style of the Cosplay told us we were not in any place or time that is real. The darker colors on the darker characters stood out as they should and worked well for the characters. The cast seemed comfortable as if they loved the costumes, hair pieces and make-up they were wearing. They seemed to love this world they were part of creating.”


“With a show as lyrically challenging as this crisp sound is important. I found the sound reinforcement not overwhelming and very balanced.”

“The sound design was a solid element throughout. Every performer was easily heard at all times and the microphones produced a clear, solid sound. The orchestra was balanced with the performers, and all levels remained at the appropriate level throughout the performance.”


Stage Crew
Stage Crew

“Erin Meskimen and her crew did a fantastic job running this show. For me the best tech work is the work that is invisible and silently marvelous. Your team was marvelous!”

“The stage management for this production had the stage controlled and organized. There were minimal distractions or hitches in any scene change or transition allowing the flow of the show to continue. The cueing of any light changes or set changes was on time and appropriate for the style of the show. The auditorium was a professional environment from entrance to exit.”


“Homestead Theatre Department was a great place to take in some high school theatre.  The ushers were friendly and took tickets with excitement and pride for the department.  Many community members filled the house and it was obvious by side comments during and after the show that the community has an overwhelming pride for the students and the department.”

“The appreciation of the audience was clear – this show and everyone in it is beloved by the community. That kind of support is exciting and gives a great sense of energy to the experience.”

“After attending Homestead High School’s The Mikado, I smiled all the way home, and I know from looking at the faces of exiting audience that I wasn’t the only one. What better compliment than to leave your audience smiling? Truthfully, I was surprised there was a seat left in the house. Always in competition with high school sports, it is hard to draw an audience, but the quality of the work I saw at Homestead was very good.”


Our production was nominated for the following Tommy Awards:

Full Cast, Crew and Pit for "The Mikado"
Full Cast, Crew and Pit for “The Mikado”

Outstanding Musical

Outstanding Ensemble

Outstanding Orchestra

Outstanding Direction: Amelia Figg-Franzoi

Outstanding Musical Direction: Rebecca Renee Winnie

Outstanding Choreography: Amelia Figg-Franzoi

Outstanding Overall Design

Outstanding Costume Design: Bridget Rzymski

Outstanding Sound Design: Bob Radke

Note: Individual acting nominations have also been given, but we want to tell those performers in person before announcing.

Spirit Award

This award is given to a student from each of the participating Tommy Awards schools. The recipient is selected by the cast and crew of your production. The Spirit Award goes to a student who is a team player, is professional and prepared and who inspires others.  For the production of “The Mikado,” the cast and crew voted on a spunky sophomore, Lonnae Hickman.

Lonnae Hickman, our production script secretary.
Lonnae Hickman, our production script secretary.

2 thoughts on “Homestead High School Tommy Award Nominations

  1. Knowing Ms. Winnie, Ms. Figg and the talented kids on stage and behind the scenes, “you ain’t seen nothing yet.”

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