Weekly Feature

2018-03-07 / Front Page

Tonawanda High aims for 2018 Kenny Award


Tonawanda High School has been announced as one of the 10 finalists for the 25th annual Kenny Award.

The award, to be presented on Saturday, May 12, is given to one Western New York high school along with a $5,000 grant from the Lipke Foundation to support its theatre department.

This year, Tonawanda High School will be presenting “Jekyll & Hyde” from Thursday, March 15, through Sunday, March 18.

“When people come to a Tonawanda musical, they come for a professional show,” said junior Emily Kuhn who plays Lucy Harris. “People have mistaken us for a college-level program. When they come here, they know they are going to see top-notch quality.”

The 1990 musical horror/drama is based on the novel “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” by Robert Louis Stevenson.

In an attempt to cure his ailing father’s mental illness by separating “good” from “evil,” physician Dr. Jekyll inadvertently creates an alternate personality of pure evil, dubbed Mr. Hyde, who wreaks murderous havoc on the city of London. Senior Benjamin Thurston will play the lead role of Dr. Henry Jekyll/Edward Hyde.

“It’s a little nerve-wracking doing this musical in particular,” Thurston said. “That is because when you do a comedy and something more fun, you put your entire personality out there. With Jekyll and Hyde, it is more serious in tone.”

For senior Hannah Strahin, it is an exciting time but also bittersweet as she prepares to perform on the Tonawanda stage for the final time.

“It’s absolutely terrifying when it comes down to a Kenny year,” Strahin said. “It’s also really sad knowing this is it because theater is like family. I come here every single day and know everyone in this cast. We are so close, and it’s going to be heartbreaking when we get on stage for the final time.”

There are roughly 30 people in this year’s cast and somewhere between 60 and 70 people involved in the production, including the pit and crew. Producer Daniel Lynch admires this group of students for their hard work and dedication as he prepares to lead them in a musical he is quite familiar with.

“They have a unique challenge in front of them, that’s for sure,” Lynch said. “It’s a very difficult show and one that they aren’t used to. This is such a great group of kids who work together really well. This is one of my favorite shows, and it is actually one that I performed in when I was in high school.”

The show is set for 7 p.m. from March 15 through 17 and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 18, in the Tonawanda Alumni Auditorium, 600 Fletcher St., Tonawanda. For more information on the musical or to purchase tickets, visit http://www.tonawandacsd.org/Page/822.

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