Poplar Pike Playhouse Wins Big at Orpheum Awards

Germantown High School’s nationally recognized Poplar Pike Playhouse had a big night on a big stage. The student-run theatre’s production of Hairspray won four awards, including Outstanding Lead Actor for GHS junior Maclean Mayers, at the Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards

Mayers won for his role as Edna Turnblad. He’ll head to New York City and compete nationally in the Jimmy Awards held at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre this summer. GHS senior and Playhouse master carpenter Brandon Lau won for Outstanding Student Technical Achievement. Germantown High also went home with top prize for Outstanding Hair & Make-up and Outstanding Orchestra.

“I am so proud of our students for their accomplishments,” said Hairspray director and GHS fine arts teacher Ashleigh Williams. “The Orpheum is one of the only organizations on this level that recognizes students for their theatre accomplishments, and we are proud supporters of this program and of the outstanding high school productions across the region.”

The Hairspray cast shined on the Orpheum stage. The Playhouse’s most recent musical was nominated for Outstanding Overall Production. Nominees in that category performed throughout the evening. The GHS students brought many in the crowd of over 1,500 to their feet with “You Can’t Stop the Beat.” Mayers was just as entertaining during the Outstanding Lead Actor medley, when the six nominees performed together in character. He spent much of the following day making local media appearances with Bethany Beckham from Evangelical Christian School, who won Outstanding Lead Actress.

The Orpheum High School Musical Theatre Awards recognize achievement in all areas of high school musical theatre. Modeled after the Tony Awards, the event included students and supporters from 28 schools across the Mid-South. It also is part of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards program, which includes 30 programs across the country.

The Poplar Pike Playhouse at Germantown High School presents a full season of theatrical events in its 300 seat, on-campus theatre facility. The yearly roster of events includes two mainstage shows, several acting festivals, a touring children’s theatre company and additional ensemble presentations. Students not only perform onstage, but also are responsible for every element of theatre operation including the technical and business sides of the program. Playhouse alumni include Saturday Night Live star Chris Parnell, film actress Missi Pyle (The Artist, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, Dodgeball), Blue Man Group member Wes Day and Emmy winning casting director Scott Genkinger (Desperate Housewives, NYPD Blue). For more information, visit ppp.org or follow the Playhouse on Twitter (@ppptheatre) and Facebook.