Mesa High Sweeps Top Awards
BREAKING NEWS. Remember you read it here first before the news media outlets. Mesa High School swept the top awards in the 2nd annual ASU GAMMAGE High School Musical Awards. Holly Payne of Mesa High won the award for Best Lead Female for her performance of Peter Pan. She also won the award for Outstanding Dancer. Noah King was awarded Best Lead Male for his performance of Captain Hook in Mesa's production of Peter Pan. Mesa High also won for Outstanding Supporting Performance (Male) Keaton Harris as Smee. To top it off retiring director Sandy Stones won the award for Best Overall Performance with the Mesa High production of Peter Pan. Both Payne and King will be flying out to New York City June 27 to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards were 50,000 students from 1000 high schools compete annually.
I didn't get their names but these are two foreign exchange students from Japan and Australia. They were delightful and really seemed to be having a fun time in Gilbert High School's production of Alice in Wonderland.
Actors and directors are familiar with auditions and trying our for a show. With that in mind, I came up with the concept of giving a theatre company first hand experience as to what exactly Show Biz Photo is all about. I show up, take photos and give the theatre a 20"x30" framed collage photo. If my photos are better, in theory, I get the job. Well, at least that's how it's supposed to work. The reality is you can't begrudge someone for their loyalty to a particular photographer. Even if their work is not near as good as mine. I am still leaving this offer on the table for anyone who wants to check us out. I may still show up when you least expect it. If it's a school I'd like to work with or a show I've been wanting to see, I may be auditioning for a job.
As I've said many times before. I photograph a lot of shows every year and I really do see the "The Good, The Bad and The Ugly". However, I can honestly say, the vast majority of shows I see are quite good and a great value for the money.
This past week I had the opportunity to add a new school to our list. For years I've heard about how good Mesa High School was and now I've finally got to see their theatre cast and crew in action. I have to say, I was impressed with their production of Peter Pan.
Certainly, like all other schools, their primary actors were good. What sets them apart in my mind is not what primary actors do but what the secondary actors and ensemble do. On all of the large ensemble scenes, I never saw one person just going through the motions. Everyone was giving 120 percent no matter how small their role. Everyone had total and complete buy in for what directory Sandy Stones was trying to do. If I had to put this in one word I'd say it would be "discipline". They never wavered one bit in performing their roles at the maximum level for the entire show.
Wow, the next three weeks are very crazy with lots of shows. I love it but it takes a lot of juggling in the background to make it all happen. Yes, I have helpers but in the real world, Show Biz Photo is just me. When I have multiple shows going on in a week, it poses a problem. Some weeks I have four shows going on. I usually take the photos at a dress rehearsal which is Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday with shows running either Wed-Fri or Thurs-Sat. In many cases the dress runs at the same time. On top of that, I have to "make the magic" happen and deliver photos and posters the very next day. So I have to take the photos, edit the photos, post the photos to the web, print around 200 5x7's, 10 8x10's, 5 8x12's and 3-5 16x20 posters and one 20x30 collage poster. The products go to an on site sales table where I sell the photos myself or I hire a sales table manager to sell them. Not easy when you consider I'm not even hiring a part time worker. It's less than part time hours so people come and go. And then...maybe...just maybe I might make some money...but it depends. If the parents attend the show, they buy. But depending on what the show is or the excitement level for that show, the parents may or may not show up. I know it's hard to believe that parents won't show up for their kid's show but it does happen. Fortunately, most parents show up and everything works out in the end. Just like a high school show, people don't see what goes on in the background, they only see the end results which just makes the magic that much more special.
Since 2000, I've probably photographed over 500 shows. It's hard to say since I've pretty much lost count. It could easily be 600 or 700 shows at least. One thing that I'm always surprised by, is no matter how many times I've seen a particular show, they can be very, very different. For example, in general, I'm not crazy about "Little Shop of Horrors". However one of the times I saw it, it was so funny and I loved every minute of it. Same with "Harvey". I've done that show way too many times but one of my favorite performances was here in Arizona by Desert Mountain High School. The first two Rosie Award winners starred in that show and made it a memorable experience. That's what is so great about theatre, you just never know from one show to the next.
One of the photos from Desert Mountain High School's production of "Harvey" featuring our first Rosie Award winner Jasmine Youssefi in 2013 and Alena Sanderson in 2014,