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Lake Michigan College announces winners of WAVE Awards celebrating high school musical theatre

Lake Michigan College announces winners of WAVE Awards celebrating high school musical theatre

Concord High School's "Fiddler on the Roof" and Penn High School's "The Music Man" were the big winners Wednesday night, each taking home three awards, during the third annual WAVE Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre held at Lake Michigan College's Mendel Center Jenkins Theatre.

Presented by LMC's Visual & Performing Arts Department and loosely designed after Broadway's Tony Awards, the WAVE Awards recognize high school theater students and arts educators from Berrien, Van Buren, and Cass Counties in Michigan and St. Joseph County in Indiana. Seven adjudicators evaluated 10 high schools and about 630 students who participated in high school musical productions in the 2023-2024 academic year. Individuals and productions from participating schools were nominated in 13 acting and technical categories.

“Each year, this event keeps getting bigger and the stakes for the talent keep getting higher" said Kristopher Zook, LMC Dean of Arts & Sciences and founder of the WAVE Awards. "The LMC Visual & Performing Arts team is thrilled to be able to support our arts community and help to foster the next generation of performers and creative thinkers."

"Fiddler on the Roof" was crowned Outstanding Musical Production, adding Outstanding Orchestra in a Musical for Nicole Knouse and Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for Ed Hernandez's portrayal of Perchick.

"The Music Man" received awards for Outstanding Direction in a Musical for Danielle Black, Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for Lucas Robertson's portrayal of Harold Hill, and Outstanding Choreography in a Musical for Jenn Wolfe.

Lakeshore and Edwardsburg each took home two awards. Lakeshore's "Newsies!" won Outstanding Featured Ensemble in a Musical and Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical for Vivian Rose. Edwardsburg's "Beauty and the Beast" won Outstanding Musical Direction in a Musical for Kyle Rehnlund and the other Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical award for Tianna Crook's portrayal of Belle.

St. Joseph's "Oklahoma," New Buffalo's "Willie Wonka," Bridgman's "Seussical Jr.," and Hartford's "Mamma Mia!" all took home one award in the nominated categories. New Buffalo also received the Esprit de Corps Award, which recognizes the spirit of support and unity a school demonstrates in its shows.

Wednesday's event began with red-carpet arrivals, followed by the awards ceremony, which featured several musical production numbers, including "Carrying the Banner" from Lakeshore's "Newsies!"; "Lost," from LMC's production of "The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical"; "Notice Me Horton," from Bridgman's "Seussical, Jr."; and "Sabbath Prayer," from Concord's "Fiddler on the Roof."

Presenters included South Bend Civic Theatre Executive Director Aaron Nichols, LMC President Dr. Trevor A. Kubatzke, LMC Vice President of Student Affairs Dr. Linwood B. Whitten, LMC Director of Music and Visual & Performing Arts Chair Dr. Robert Lunn, Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra Executive Director Jessica Ishmael, Andrews University Director of Choral Studies Stephen Zork, Indiana University South Bend Director of Choirs and Grammy Award winner Juan Carlos Alarcon, Acorn Theater Artistic & Creative Director Nikki Gauthier; Acorn Theater Senior Production Manager Michael Bond; Co-Founder & Executive Director, DEI and Development of the Performing Arts Workshop August Garritano, and Twin City Players Board President Peggy Harrington.

Several awards were announced by pre-recorded videos from theater celebrities, including Jay Baeri, the Olympic lighting designer; Marcy DeGonge-Manfredi, from the original Broadway cast of "Cats;" two-time Tony Award-nominated actor Kevin Chamberlin; Broadway star Liana Hunt; and Abby Mueller from "Six the Musical."

All nominees received an LMC Red Hawk Scholarship for a three-credit course taken within the next four academic years and written feedback from a panel of arts professionals. The lead actor recipients received $1,000 WAVE Award Scholarships to participate in LMC Visual & Performing Arts coursework.  During the awards ceremony, this scholarship was renamed posthumously as the Sierra Loughrin Scholarship after its first recipient, who attended both Paw Paw High School and Lake Michigan College.

Here is the complete list of the 2023-2024 WAVE Award winners and nominees: 

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical  

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical  

Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical  

Outstanding Choreography in a Musical  

 Outstanding Orchestra (Band) in a Musical 

Outstanding Musical Direction in a Musical 

Outstanding Featured Ensemble in a Musical 

 Outstanding Featured Actor in a Musical 

 Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical 

Outstanding Direction in a Musical 

 Outstanding Musical Production 

For more information, visit, email Mindy McCaffrey at, or call the Visual & Performing Arts office at 269-927-8876.  


Posted May 23, 2024

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