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The Voice of the Black Community

Arts and Entertainment

Charlotte student named finalist in national theater competition
2014 Blumey-award winner shines bright in New York City
 
Published Thursday, July 3, 2014 9:30 am
by Staff Reports

PHOTO/HENRY MCGEE
Mekhai Lee, a recent graduate of Northwest School of the Arts, singing "Goodbye" from Catch Me If You Can during his solo performance at the 2014 National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York. He was one of three top male finalists.

Mekhai Lee, named Best Actor at the 2014 Blumey Awards, was one of three top male finalists in the Best Actor category at the 2014 National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City held June 30.

Lee is a recent graduate of Northwest School of the Arts in Charlotte.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards, also known as The Jimmy Awards, is a weeklong Broadway “boot camp” and competition for the winners of high school musical theater awards from across the United States.

“It was such an exhilarating week,” said Lee. “Hearing my name called out as a finalist was an unreal experience. It is truly something I will never forget.”

Lee and Ashlyn Uribe of Carmel Christian School also represented Charlotte in New York after competing in the 2014 Blumenthal Performing Arts High School Musical Theater Awards in May at Belk Theater.

Best Actress Abby Corrigan could not attend the Jimmy Awards due to illness and was replaced by runner-up, Uribe.

Uribe said going to New York was the chance of a lifetime and exceeded all expectations.

“Having the honor of attending The Jimmy Awards and competing with so many talented people was astounding,” said Uribe. “I've learned more here in one short week than I have in my entire life!”

Fifty-six high school students from 28 organizations competed in the Jimmy’s this summer at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. The show was held on Broadway at the Minskoff Theater, home to “Disney’s The Lion King,” as an orchestra in the pit featuring some of Broadway’s top musicians played.

Participants performed an opening and closing group number to a medley of songs from various shows arranged by Michael Moricz, received intense coaching on their solo songs from Broadway veterans and were even taken on a field trip to see “Kinky Boots” on Broadway after dining at famed theater-district restaurant Sardi’s.

This year was the second time one of Charlotte’s winners cracked the top group at The Jimmy’s.

“We are very proud of Mekhai Lee and we’re thrilled to have yet another one of our Charlotte representatives be among the finalists in the national competition in only the third year of The Blumey Awards,” said Blumenthal Performing Arts President Tom Gabbard.  “It speaks to the quality of the high school musical theater programs and the teachers leading these efforts in our region.” 

Sponsored by Wells Fargo, “The Blumey Awards” were created by Blumenthal Performing Arts three years ago to recognize, celebrate and nurture the talents of high school theater students in the Charlotte region, as well as offer area students a pathway to the national competition in New York.

Thirty-nine Charlotte area high schools participated in The Blumey Awards this year.  

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