It's 20 miles north of the United Palace in Washington Heights, home of Sunday's Tony Awards, and about 2,500 seats smaller, but Tarrytown Music Hall holds the promise of Tony-level memories for theater kids who'll converge there on Monday night for the 2023 Metro Awards.
The Metros, back from a three-year pandemic pause, honor high school musicals from Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Bergen counties. This year, 56 schools are taking part.
Who will perform and when: 2023 Metro Awards release order of Monday's show
The ceremony, an ear-shattering, joy-filled night of laughter and song — and perhaps a promposal? — will be hosted by Kerry Butler and David Josefsberg, from Broadway's "Beetlejuice." They, and the audience of about 850, will see performances from the six productions nominated for outstanding overall production, as well as from the performers nominated in leading roles.
As nominees for each of the 35 categories is read, audience members learn where each school is sitting. A nomination for Blind Brook will bring whoops from here. A Stepinac nominee will be shouted for over there. And there is always a winner who arrives breathless from the balcony, having hustled down after hearing their name called.
Overall production is the evening's final honor, after Metros have been bestowed for everything from director and choreographer to child actor and (new this year) hair and makeup design.
The schools nominated for overall production this year are: Archbishop Stepinac's “Jersey Boys”; Blind Brook's “Something Rotten!”; Immaculate Heart Academy's “Xanadu”; Nyack's “Little Shop of Horrors”; Pleasantville's “Bye Bye Birdie”; and Rye Neck's “Anastasia.”
The Metros are a tough ticket at the smaller Music Hall, which is roughly half the size of the Purchase Performing Arts Center, its pre-pandemic home. But lohud.com, the event's media sponsor, will livestream the evening, starting at 6 p.m. with an hour-long blue-carpet interview show. The Metro Awards get under way at 7:30 p.m. Watch it all live on lohud.com.
It's the first time the Metros have been held since 2019. New producers Blake Spence and Jordan Singer have taken the baton from Helen Hayes Youth Theater producer Danielle Rudess, who has stepped back from the in-the-thick-of-it role she had since starting the awards — as the Helen Hayes Theater Awards — decades ago.
The Metros have been held at a host of different venues through the years. They began in Nyack, then were held jointly in Nyack and White Plains Performing Arts Center (linked by a satellite feed), then at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Peekskill, then Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains, last at the massive Concert Hall at Purchase College Performing Arts Center.
What to watch for
In addition to the numbers from the overall production nominees, livestream watchers and audience members will be eager to see the performers in the leading roles perform about 16 bars from their nominated performances.
The performances are merely a showcase, though; the winners were chosen long before Metros night, by judges who saw the full musicals, alongside proud parents and grandparents, friends and fans alike.
The nominees for outstanding performance in a leading female-identified role are:
Immaculate Heart Academy: Kate Ryan as Kyra in "Xanadu";
North Salem: Gigi LeClair as Velma Kelly in “Chicago: Teen Edition”;
Nyack: Tatum Hopkins as Audrey in “Little Shop of Horrors”;
Pleasantville: Alice Cabral as Rosie Alvarez in “Bye Bye Birdie”;
Rye Neck: Lulu Tagger as Anya in “Anastasia”;
St. Joseph’s Regional: Hannah Schinder as The Baker’s Wife in “Into the Woods.”
This year, two of those roles have a special tie to one of the hosts. Kerry Butler created the role of Kyra/Clio in "Xanadu" and played Audrey in "Little Shop of Horrors."
Also Nyack's Hopkins, nominated for "Little Shop," won the coveted Roger Rees Award last month and is already in rehearsal in the Kristin Chenoweth musical, "The Queen of Versailles." She's sure to draw attention.
The nominees for outstanding performance in a leading male-identified role are:
Archbishop Stepinac: Ryan Diaz as Tommy DeVito in “Jersey Boys”;
Northern Valley Old Tappan: Roman Gatti as Freddie Benson in “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels”;
Nyack: Angus McLary as Seymour Krelborn in “Little Shop of Horrors”;
Ossining: Frank Carl Marrero as J. Pierrepont Finch in “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying”;
Ramapo (New Jersey): Bryan Fortunato as Bobby Strong in “Urinetown”;
Rye Neck: Nathaniel Findlay as Dmitry in “Anastasia.”
The crowd will be receptive, with three years of pent-up excitement ready to explode. The nominees will be eager to show what they can do, and have done. The hosts will be prepped but likely unprepared for the sheer volume of the cheering. All in all, the promise of the night is as big as it can be.
And the memories await.
Reach Peter D. Kramer at email@example.com.
This article originally appeared on New York State Team: 2023 Metro Awards: What to watch for on Monday's livestream