Chamblee Students Shine at the Shuler Awards


Photo courtesy of Will Hamilton.

From the left: Chamblee students Sidney Johnson, and Kathryn Penn, literature teacher Brooke Arrington, and students Lucy Adelman, Ellie Gies, and Nicole Arendt attending the 2019 Shuler Awards.

Ellie Furr, Staff writer

On April 18, 2019, several drama and musical theater students from Chamblee Charter High School congregated at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Center for Georgia’s very own “Tony Awards.” Along with other high schools across the state of Georgia, they attended the Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, better known as the Shuler Awards.

The Georgia ArtsBridge Foundation’s Shuler Awards are held to celebrate and honor the best actors, actresses, lighting/sound technicians, costume designers, and other students involved in high school theater. This year, Chamblee students Benjamin Harding and Natalia Carlson both received recognition.

“I was the recipient of the Forsyth Academy of Performing Arts Scholarship,” said Carlson, a senior. “It’s for a student who has shown a lot of dedication to theater and who will be pursuing it in the future and does a lot of community theater.”

The scholarship, which amounts to $500, will be put towards Carlson’s future at the University of Cincinnati’s College Conservatory of Music, where she plans to study lighting design.

Though Carlson was not expecting to receive the scholarship, it was a pleasant surprise for her.

“I was kind of shocked,” said Carlson. “I had to fill out an application for it, and all of the application questions made me pretty positive that they were directing [the scholarship] towards musical theater students, like, the ones that are on stage and not behind the scenes.”

Harding, a junior, received a nomination for the Best Performance by a Leading Actor award. Upon hearing of his nomination, he initially felt surprised.

“We weren’t really expecting to be nominated for anything because we are still a relatively small theater program,” said Harding.

After the surprise, Harding felt excited.

“It is awesome to be considered one of the best six actors in Georgia for high school theater,” said Harding.

Harding’s peers seemed to be as honored by the nomination as he was.

“I was super excited that someone from Chamblee was up for an award,” said sophomore Abigail Starr.

Sophomore Smrithi Satish shared Starr’s sentiment.

“We all put a lot of work into ‘Urinetown’ so it was really cool that [Benjamin] got nominated,” said Satish.

As part of his nomination, Harding performed in a medley at the Shuler Awards along with the other nominees in his category. Each nominee performed a song from the musical they participated in this year, and Harding sang “Look at the Sky” from Chamblee’s musical, Urinetown.

“I have never gotten to participate in the awards show before, so I figured the experience would be really cool, and it was,” said Harding. “Just hanging out with the other nominees was great.”

Other Chamblee students also enjoyed the experience.

“I was thrilled to watch him perform on the stage with all of the other male leads,” said senior Isabel Bradford. “I’m proud we have such a gem of a singer at our school.”

In addition to the Leading Actors medley, other performances excited students from Chamblee. Nominees in the Overall Production category, as well as the Show-Stopper winner and 11 O’Clock Number winners, all performed pieces from their musicals.

“My favorite part of the Shulers was definitely the performances,” said Satish. “All of the actors and actresses were incredibly talented, and it was really fun to watch.”

Starr also enjoyed watching other high schools from Georgia perform.

“It was really cool to see their productions and all their hard work on stage,” said Starr. “I was interested in what theater programs look like outside of Chamblee.”