A Blumey-ing Theater Program in Belmont
Just about every high school has its cliques, groups like the jocks, and the theater crowd. South Point High School in Belmont is no different.
The school gets a lot of recognition for its football team, which has won a long list of conference and state titles over the last forty three years. But last year, the drama crowd gained some ground with its own title.
The trophy cases at South Point High School are crowded with about forty years of sports memorabilia, items like football trophies, and basketball trophies.
“There are two almost billboard size, they’re probably 6x10 foot photos of championship football teams that are out there,” says Chuck Stowe, South Point’s Drama Teacher.
Over the years, Stowe had dreamed of having a space like that to promote his drama program, headquartered in the school's auditorium, just steps away from the trophy cases. Now he can.
At last year’s inaugural Blumey Awards, South Point was the biggest winner of the night. The school won three Blumey's, including one of the night’s biggest awards, Best Musical.
“Winning the Blumey’s gave us the opportunity to claim some real estate in that hall of fame,” says Stowe.
The Blumey Awards recognize the best of the area’s high school musical theater. Thirty-two high schools from 7 surrounding counties in North and South Carolina will compete in this year’s competition for awards in categories like best actor and actress, costume design, and choreography.
Blumenthal Performing Arts organizes the Blumey Awards, which is a formal event and will be held at the Belk Theater on May 19.
“I don’t know how to explain that feeling. It was just awesome,” says South Point senior, Kourtney Conway, who was part of last year's award-winning cast. Then, she does explain it. Like a typical South Point student, she puts it into sports lingo.“I guess, if you’re in sports, it’s the equivalent of winning the championship”, Conway says.
As a result, she says there’s more interest in South Point’s drama program. “Probably a good half of our cast is new people, whether it’s freshman or not," says Conway. "There was a buzz around school, which is big for us because no one ever cares about theater. It was fun to be the talk of the school, at least for a minute.”
This year South Point presents Suessical, basically a musical mash up of eighteen different Dr. Seuss books. And the pressure’s on, with Blumey judges will coming to a performance, only days away.
Playing the Cat in the Hat is Junior Ryan Dever. Last year when his family moved from Gastonia, he says he made sure they moved to South Point’s district so that he could join Mr. Stowe’s theater program. His old school didn’t compete in the Blumeys, so compared to South Point’s rehearsal, so he says at his old school, rehearsals were much more laid back.
“You don’t have really much to prepare for other than your audiences that are going to be coming to see you, so no one really takes it all that serious,” says Dever. “Then I came here and it’s everybody is just on the ball trying to get things done so we can take it all the way.”
As a lead, Dever may be nominated for the Best Actor category. Winners of Best Actor and Actress are sent to the Jimmy Awards, the national competition for high school musical theater.
Best Actor, Actress, and Musical nominees perform onstage at the Belk Theater, giving students the opportunity to perform in front of an audience of around two thousand people. And Dever says that would be a dream come true.
Nominations are out at the end of the month and the Blumey Awards will take place May 19. In the meantime, Stowe and his drama students are building their own trophy case. The sports team’s trophy cases were full, and Stowe hopes the drama crowd’s trophy case will be too.
This story is produced through the Charlotte Arts Journalism Alliance, a consortium of local media dedicated to covering the arts.