KO Brings Home 2 Tommy Tunes for Sweeney

The company of Klein Oak’s Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street brought home 2 Tommy Tune Awards, and Theatre Under the Stars awarded scholarships to 2 Klein Oak seniors for a total amount of $8000 at the 11th annual awards ceremony at the Hobby Center for the Performing Arts on April 16.

Klein Oak won the Tommy Tune Award for Best Musical Direction . Ana Martinez and Erica Herrin accepted the award with a speech recognizing the musical leadership of Klein Oak Fine Arts directors.

Klein Oak senior Ryne Nardecchia won Best Leading Actor for  his portrayal of Sweeney Todd. TUTS is sending Nardecchia to New York City to compete at the national level for the Jimmy Award at the National High School Musical Theater Awards July 1. Theatre Under the Stars also awarded Nardecchia a $3000 Tommy Tune scholarship . He will study this fall at Texas State University’s BFA Musical Theatre program under Kaitlin Hopkins. Nardecchia performed a segment from Sweeney Todd’s ”Epiphany” with the nine men in the Best Leading Actor’s medley.

TUTS awarded Morgan Starr the top scholarship of the evening — the $5000 Ruth Denney Scholarship , named in honor of Tommy Tune’s mentor and legendary Lamar High School drama teacher. Starr, a senior in Klein Oak’s IB program and ranked in the top 10 percent of her class, will study at the University of Texas at Austin’s new BFA Actor Training program in the fall, under Dr. Lucien Douglas. Starr was a nominee for Best Leading Actress for her role as Mrs. Lovett and performed a segment from “God, That’s Good!” in the Leading Actress medley.

In both of Klein Oak’s acceptance speeches, the students acknowledged the outstanding mentoring, leadership and collaboration of all the directors in Klein Oak’s Fine Arts program, recognizing Matthew Robinson , Michael Goede , Todd Clearwater , Fayla Curry and Christopher Pruett . In his speech, Nardecchia recognized the faculty “for teaching me first to be a genuine and caring human being because that’s a role I will be playing my entire life.”

TUTS posted a as Best Leading Actor.

The evening kicked off with an opening number “Applause, Applause,” featuring the Best Leading and Supporting Actor and Actress nominees, including Klein Oak’s Sarah Holevinski (Best Supporting Actress nominee for her role as Johanna), Starr and Nardecchia.

Klein Oak was nominated for awards in 14 of the 15 categories . Emcee Sarah Pepper wrote the following about Klein Oak’s performance as the eighth nominee to perform a segment of its show in the category of Best Musical : “I was left speechless by Klein Oak’s performance from Sweeney Todd.”

In a recap of the event, : “This brilliant ensemble sang the final reprise of “The Ballad of Sweeney Todd,” showcasing their ability to create an astonishing and powerfully lush wall of sound. Ranging from the lower bass notes to the highest soprano notes, there was not one pitch that was out of place. Their tuning and blending was impeccably clean and precise.” For the full article, see .

The event closed with a fabulous finale: Two students from each of the 45 eligible schools performed Michael Moricz’s original song “Eyes on the Goal,” including Klein Oak seniors Alex Shrode and Danielle Gonzalez. With big smiles and lively choreography, they were a reminder to keep pursuing our artistic dreams.


If you missed this dazzling event, you can watch the 2013 when it airs on Houston’s ABC 13 on Sunday, June 9, 2013 from noon to 2 pm. Set your DVRs to record!