Streaming July 17 &18, 2020 on Facebook Proudly sponsored by Wells Fargo
(Thursday, July 9, 2020 — SEATTLE, WA) The 5th is thrilled to announce that the company’s annual celebration of high school musicals will be carry on in the wake of the global pandemic with a streaming event called The 5th Avenue Theatre Awards ROADTRIP: Celebrating High School Musicals Across Washington State, premiering at 7 PM on July 17 on Facebook Live (https://www.facebook.com/5thave) and rebroadcast at 7 PM on July 18.
The 2019/20 high school musical theater season was slated to be a record-breaker for The 5th Avenue Theatre Awards, a Tony Awards®-style ceremony recognizing the achievements of high school theater programs state-wide, with 106 schools presenting a total of 126 productions. (A complete list of participating high schools is included at the end of this document.) But as the serious impact of the COVID-19 pandemic drew into sharper focus, more than half of those productions were cancelled before they ever had the opportunity to take the stage.
“This has truly been a landmark year and we wanted to honor all of the work done, whether it made it onto the stage or not,” said Director of Education and Engagement Orlando Morales. “We made the choice to suspend the ‘awards’ portion of the event this year in favor of a state-wide public celebration with live elements. Just as this pandemic has hit arts organizations in a way that will take years to recover from, high school arts programs have also been hit particularly hard. We want to use this event as a way to tip our hats in honor of each student and educator’s caring devotion to creative collaboration and the power of the arts.”
"This is also an opportunity for us to examine the reality that too many schools in our state cannot afford to have a consistent drama or arts offering for their students—most often in communities which are predominantly BIPOC,” Morales said. “In lieu of cancelled performances, some schools deal with the total absence of any kind of drama program—and this is unacceptable. As we send our thoughts and empathy out to schools that have had to cancel performances, let's also renew our commitment to making quality theater education available to every student in every school in Washington State."
While the traditional awards portion of the ceremony is suspended this year, the celebration will not pass without some recognition. Along with traditional Special Honors including Student Achievement, Educational Impact, Parent Support, Community Engagement, and Outstanding Educator, The 5th has asked educators and program directors to nominate a high school senior who has achieved excellence in their high school career to be recognized with a Senior Spotlight Special Honor.
Another beloved 5th Avenue Theatre Awards tradition that will be upheld is the famous opening number inviting all schools to represent their programs in a unified number celebrating the unabashed joy and elation of high school musicals. The opening number this season will be “Beautiful City” from Godspell and will feature more than 100 students as they “shout out” their high schools.
The 5th Avenue Theatre is grateful to Wells Fargo for their long-standing partnership as title sponsor of this program over the past 15 years. "Despite an incredibly challenging year for students, The 5th Avenue Theatre Awards honorees continue to impress and amaze with their dedication, resilience, and creativity," said Stephanie Wall, Wells Fargo Community Relations Manager for the Pacific Northwest. "We are so thankful for The 5th Avenue Theatre's efforts to keep students engaged with the arts. We thank and applaud all the parents, teachers, mentors, and community members who rally together to support our youth."
The 5th could not maintain and continue a program as extensive as this one without the generous support of Wells Fargo, the long-standing sponsor of The 5th Avenue Awards for the past 15 years. In 2019, Wells Fargo invested $4.5 million in grants to hundreds of Washington nonprofits, schools and community organizations that address local needs. Beyond corporate philanthropy, Wells Fargo's 2,800 employees in Washington recorded 29,000 volunteer hours in 2019 to support nonprofits and causes important to them. Wells Fargo serves customers through a network of 188 banking, mortgage and investment offices, and 245 ATMs, in more than 70 communities across the state