Hershey Honors the Best and Brightest of High School Theatre in Central PA

15 awards were handed out on Sunday at the 2022 annual Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards ceremony

Hershey Honors the Best and Brightest of High School Theatre in Central PA

Caleb Steindel, News Editor/Staff Writer

Tears were flowing.

Cheers were deafening.

And the atmosphere was celebratory on Sunday as the Hershey Theatre Apollo Awards celebrated the best high school productions from the 2021-22 season.

Each May, the ornate, historic, premier performing arts center in the heart of Hershey comes to life as the host of the Apollo Awards ceremony, a Tony Awards-style event that honors student actors and actresses across Central Pennsylvania. The event was canceled in each of the past two years due to COVID-19, making the ceremony’s 2022 return even more flamboyant, exciting, and energetic.

Students from 19 schools across Central Pennsylvania gathered for the 14th annual Apollo Awards, and casts from five schools performed excerpts from their musicals. Lead actors and actresses also performed monologues and solos, and past award winners presented this year’s elegant, exquisite glass trophies to the 2022 recipients. ABC27’s Dennis Owens once again returned as the evening’s host, bringing comedy, charm, and charisma to the stage and celebrating the various schools’ successes in his own unique way.

This year, the school that took home the most trophies was not a school at all, but rather a community of homeschoolers. Encore! Home School Productions led the way and took home top honors in six categories including the coveted Outstanding Musical for their production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. They also secured victories for Outstanding Dance Number in a Musical (Positoovity from The Little Mermaid), Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical (Callaghan Petrosky as Scuttle in The Little Mermaid), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical (Morghan Norcott as Ursula in The Little Mermaid), Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play (Emma Riethmiller as Bunny in A Murder is Announced), and Outstanding Featured Performer in a Play (Giselle Bartlett as Mitzi in A Murder is Announced). Their victory in the Outstanding Dance category marked the fourth time Encore! has won that award (2016, 2017, & 2018), and the six Apollo Award wins bring their total to 11.

Lower Dauphin High School and Elizabethtown Area High School tied for second place on the evening, with each school winning two awards. Lower Dauphin’s Abigail Foran won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play for her portrayal of Shelby Eatenton-Latcherie in Steel Magnolias, and Lower Dauphin’s Audrey Meyers won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Sarah Brown in Guys and Dolls. Both winners received the opportunity to deliver an excerpt of their performances. Foran presented a monologue while Meyers sang a solo. Elizabethtown Area High School dominated the Apollo Awards in 2019, and they followed up their success with a pair of victories this year, as well. E-town’s Brendan Fritz secured a win for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play for his portrayal of Ferris Jay in The Curious Savage, and the school also won for Outstanding Student Orchestra in their production of Into the Woods.

Five other schools also succeeded in taking home a trophy; Central Dauphin East High School, Dauphin County Technical School, Milton Hershey School, Camp Hill High School, and Bishop McDevitt High School

In addition to the primary 15 awards, each participating school selected a cast or crew member to be honored with the Spirit of the Theatre Award for both play and musical categories. Achievement awards were handed out to cast members, and the Hershey Theatre donated thousands of dollars in scholarship money to students and their schools.

For a complete list of 2022 Hershey Theatre Apollo Award winners, visit HTAA Facebook Page