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Award-Winning Hello Dolly!

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As the staff and students of Benet Academy return for a new school year, they shift their focus from the past to the future and strive to keep moving forward with their plans and projects, hopes and aspirations for the coming months. However, while it is important to always prepare for the next step in life, it is also equally important to take a moment and reminisce about previous glories; the successes and victories of the previous school year are no exception to this rule, and what better accomplishment to revisit than the smash spring musical production of Hello Dolly! The success of this show was the result of countless hours of hard work put in by both the students and faculty members who brought this show to life, be it as actors, set designers, or directors. It is always evident to the audience that the musicals put on each year at Benet Academy are a combination of dedication and talent on the part of all involved, and Hello Dolly! was no exception to this norm.

In fact, praise for this show extends much farther than just the walls of Benet Academy. The Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards (IHSMTA) is a seven-year-old organization that recognizes and awards the best musical productions in the state. Every year since this group’s inception, Benet Academy has been named among the top twelve finalists for the award of Best Production. The school’s previous show, All Shook Up, won the 2017 Award for Best Direction and Best Lead Actor, an amazing honor for the drama department and a well-deserved reward for all those who contributed to that success. Hello Dolly! became a top five finalist for the award this year, competing against nearly one hundred schools in the state who participate in this program. Although Benet did not win Best Production for 2018, it was once again honored to be considered as a finalist and saw several of its actors and actresses recognized by the IHSMTA as well.

Senior Patrick Vivoda placed in the top twelve for Best Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role for his performance as Cornelius Hackle. Recent alum Audrey Hare was also a finalist in the top twelve for Best Performance by an Actress in a Lead Role for her role as the famed Dolly Levi. Once the field was narrowed from twelve to three, Hare was selected as one of these top three for her performance. Rounding out the representatives of Benet was another recent grad, Maddie Barbeau, who was selected as the Correspondent from Illinois to report on the IHSMTA awards. Of course none of this would be possible without Mr. Brian Wand, Mrs. Lauren Butera, and Ms. Kelsey Lauren, whose leadership and direction in the production helped make it such a success.

Congratulations to all of the students and staff involved on another amazing accomplishment!

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Award-Winning Hello Dolly!