Evanston Drama Devils place 3rd at state; Sharp awarded prestigious scholarship

EHS senior Kayli Sharp performs a musical solo from the musical “Waitress” during the state drama showcase held at EHS on Tuesday, Dec. 4. Sharp’s theater skills earned her a full scholarship and invitation to the prestigious Open Jar acting program on Broadway next summer. (HERALD PHOTO/Sheila McGuire)

EVANSTON — The Evanston High School Drama Devils and theater department brought home third-place honors from the Wyoming state drama festival and competition held in Rock Springs Nov. 29-Dec. 1. EHS theater director Erin Russell said, “For the first time in a lot of years we were able to bring home a sweepstakes trophy.”

Russell and district personnel were kept on their toes throughout the three-day event due to winter weather and road closures. As the festival was held in Rock Springs, the plan was for students to return home each day to save lodging expenses; however, when the roads closed and buses were unable to return to Evanston it became necessary to find hotel rooms for the dozens of students who participated. 

Russell said the “wonderful infrastructure we have here with the way people were able to help us” definitely came through when needed. 

Throughout the three-day festival, students not only competed in monologues, duets, small- and large-group scenes, but had the opportunity to attend workshops to pick up new skills and hone existing ones. Students were also able to audition for Open Jar, a prestigious theater program held in the summer months in New York City, which gives participants an opportunity to work and learn on Broadway. 

Open Jar is very selective, requiring students to audition through acting, singing and dancing. A handful of students are selected to receive invitations and an even smaller handful are offered full scholarships to attend. EHS senior Kayli Sharp was the sole recipient of a full scholarship at the Wyoming drama festival. 

Russell said the competition part of the festival is judged based on a rubric to determine all-state and honorable mention honors. This year, 11 EHS students were awarded all-state honors and another nearly two dozen received honorable mention honors. 

All-State honors for technical projects went to Grace Lester for fourth-year fantasy and realistic makeup, Katelynn Tobin for third-year realistic makeup, T’ea Medina Cox for first-year realistic makeup and Alana Johnson for second-year costume design. All-State cast honors went to freshmen Dillon Payne for a novice monologue and Riley Ovard for mainstage acting in a condensed version of the fall play, “Macbeth.” 

Other All-State cast honorees were Quinnae Brooks and Caleb Delgado, both for their work in “Macbeth”; Aimee Skaggs and Priscilla Harmon in a novice duet and Kayli Sharp for musical solo. 

A group scene from “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” featuring Logan Dover, Quinnae Brooks, Anya Fladland, Madison Sepos, Aidan McGuire and Sayge Taliercio, was awarded honorable mention. 

Individual honorable mention acting awards also went to Sam Russell, Monica Voss, Karen Medrano, Morgan Chandler, Emma Liechty, Kylee Robinson, Karsten Heyrend, Taliercio, Fladland, Sepos and Ovard. Honorable mention technical awards went to Samantha Bentley, Trysten Pedersen, Rhenona Powers and Nathan Younce for makeup and to Amelia Payne for costume design. 

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