Bo Graham heads to New York


Courtesy photo

Senior Bo Graham will head to New York to participate in a contest after being named “Best Actor” at the Schmidt and Jones awards for musical theatre.

Stephanie Thomson, Staff Reporter

The Schmidt and Jones Award program is one of 30 across the nation which judge high school musicals. Each program judges musicals and nominated people to many different positions: best actor in a minor role, best actor in a lead role, best choreographer, etc.

Schmidt and Jones is the program over North Texas schools and for the second year in a row, a student was nominated by Schmidt and Jones as Best Actor. Last year, graduate Drew Shafranek was nominated, and this year junior Bo Graham received the same award.

“When you win an award, you get a check prize of a certain amount–like I got a $500 scholarship for Best Actor,” Graham said.

Winners also receive a trip to New York, to try their hand at Broadway production.

“I am going to go to New York this summer, and I get to perform at the Jimmy’s Award Ceremony, with the 59 other youth who were nominated for Best Actor and Best Actress through the similar programs through the country,” Graham said. “There, we get together for a performance on Broadway. We also each perform a song of our choice for the judges.”

Through this experience, which students can follow on the show “Broadway or Bust”, the judges will select three winners. The winners each get a cash prize of varying amounts. Drew Shafranek was awarded third place last year.

“We think it’s an incredible opportunity and we’re very pleased that this is two years in a row that we’ve had this opportunity,” theatre teacher John Davenport said.  “So we feel very fortunate and lucky.”

Graham shares these feelings of luck, as this opportunity is once-in-a-lifetime, and could alter the path of his life.

“I wouldn’t be looking at theater in my future so seriously if I hadn’t have won this, and I definitely wasn’t looking into Broadway as a possibility before this,” Graham said.  “I think it’s cool that I have like a trial run to see what I think of the Broadway experience and environment before I have to decide for certain whether I want to take this path or not.”

As much of an impact as this has on Bo Graham’s life, it also affects the school in general.

“I think we’re starting to look like a force to be reckoned with, and that makes me happy, at least on a competitive level,” Davenport said.  “I think that as far as achievement goes, I think that we’re really blazing a trail for us to have a name, in 4A and musical theater and choir.”