Verona Area High School performs "Xanadu" in first live show back since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic

From left, Kira/Clio (Isabella Becker) and Sonny (Brennen Pelletier) meet one another in California after Kira has come to the world of the mortals during the Verona Area High School's production of "Xanadu," on Friday, Oct. 8, at its Fine Arts Center.

Verona Area High School Theater performers and staff have been nominated for nearly two dozen “Jerry Awards” for the fall musical production of “Xanadu.”

The Jerry awards were announced by the Verona Area School District on Monday, Oct. 18, a week and a half after the show premiered on the high school’s stage in the new Fine Arts Center. Much of the main cast was nominated for performer awards, including leads Isabella Becker (Kira/Clio) and Brennen Pelletier (Sonny), supporting performers Daniel Christian (Danny), Lora Reinfeldt (Melpomene) and Eva Perez (Calliope). Jori Gasser, who played Terpsichore, the muse of dance, received a nomination for her dance performance.

The production also received nominations in the overall category, including outstanding musical, ensemble and orchestra, and seven production team nominations for the show’s overall and musical direction, its choreography and multiple categories of design.

Director Brian Cowing said in a statement to the Press that he was proud of the community the high school’s theater students have built, adding that producing a musical during a pandemic “is not an easy task.”

“While awards are not our motivation, it is exciting to be nominated and recognized for hard work from an outside perspective,” he said in the statement. “We are happy and proud of the students' achievements.”

The Jerry Awards, previously named the Tommy Awards, are hosted by the Overture Center for the Arts and seeks to recognize excellence in high school musical theater, the Overture Center’s website states. The program, which began in the 2009-10 school year, reviews productions from 85 high schools across the state, provides feedback and nominates performers, production staff and overall excellence awards.

Awards are presented in June of each year and two performers are selected to represent the program at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City.

VAHS did not participate in the awards in 2019-20 or 2020-21, but in previous years, had seen anywhere between one and five awards given from a single production.

Recommended for you