Stillwater High School’s performance of Curtains sweeps Discovery Awards

Stillwater students rehearse “Curtains” earlier this year.
Stillwater students rehearse “Curtains” earlier this year.

Story provided by Stillwater Public Schools

In May, The Tulsa Performing Arts Center, in partnership with Celebrity Attractions, hosted the Discovery Awards, recognizing outstanding high school musical theatre in eastern Oklahoma and part of Arkansas. The annual event, in its fourth year, works to honor and enhance the educational experience of students participating in the performing arts.

Named as an homage to Oklahoma’s Discoveryland, which presented the musical Oklahoma! nearly nightly for more than 30 years, the Tulsa awards program is one of 46 regional awards programs like it across the country. Each regional program selects two representatives to send to the The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, known as the Jimmy Awards, in New York.

“It’s free for schools to participate,” says Randy Cole, Senior Marketing and Programming Director at Celebrity Attractions. “Schools just need to select a musical that meets the criteria to qualify for the Jimmy Awards and submit those details and an intent-to-participate form to the Discovery Awards to get started.” 

Cole says the Discovery Awards then send professional arts adjudicators to attend participating high school musicals and nominate the best performers from each production. Productions are also nominated for ensemble categories – Choreography, Costume Design, Ensemble, Direction, Musical Direction, Lighting Design, Musical, Orchestra, Scenic Design, and Prop Design. 

In the spring, all individual nominees are invited to attend a week-long masterclass workshop led by award-winning creatives, ending in the Discovery Awards showcase and competition on stage at the Tulsa PAC. The overall best female and male performers at the Discovery Awards win an all-expense paid trip to New York City to participate in the Jimmy Awards on Broadway. Winners of the ensemble awards categories are also announced at the event.

“The Discovery Awards represent the work, passion, and training of not only the theatre teachers, but the training of their students within the art form of high school musical theatre,” said Jeremy Stevens, Director of Community Engagement for the Tulsa Performing Arts Center. “With cuts looming in every budget decision, having a program like The Discovery Awards there for each program to recognize and celebrate the best of their school and program is essential to the growth and development of not only the school, but their community as well. Each year, I think there is no way we can top that year, and every year, I am impressed with the talent and determination each student brings to the rehearsal room and stage. Arts education is an essential part of the curriculum at every school and I am proud that this program celebrates that regionally!”

Stillwater High School seniors, Katy Croft and Conner Sigrist, and juniors, Jacob Ebersole and Andi Reuter were nominated for and participated in the Discovery Awards. At the event, Katy Croft was named as one of the top four female performers.

Stillwater was also nominated in all ten ensemble award categories. 

During the Discovery Awards ceremony, first runners-up in each category were recognized for their “High Ranking Achievement,” and, at the end of the evening, Stillwater’s Curtains was announced as the outstanding production across all ten categories.

“Stillwater dominated the ballot in all categories,” said Stevens. “I have never seen a production that swept every category of awards.”

Curtains Director and Theatre Teacher Elizabeth was very pleased with the results. “That was a huge night for Stillwater High School Theatre,” she said. “Our four representatives all performed beautifully. I’m so proud of them and all our students for delivering the amazing performances and doing the wonderful behind-the-scenes work that led to Curtains sweeping all ten show category awards and being named the best show in the region. It was, all in all, a crazy wonderful night and I could not be prouder of our kids!”

In addition to Stillwater’s production winning every ensemble category, Ziegler received the Broadway Teachers Workshop Award, which provides for an intensive, one-day workshop in New York or a three-day virtual course from Broadway professionals. Zielger has opted for the online option where she’ll learn from the likes of Tony Award nominee Justin Cooley, winner Beth Leavel, and other renowned professionals.

Those interested in participating in the Discovery Awards can learn more at

Stillwater High School Theatre will announce its upcoming productions this fall.