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Originally published Wednesday, June 12, 2013 at 11:04 AM

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Hanford High earns top 5th Avenue Awards

The school won the grand prize for its staging of “The Drowsy Chaperone,” and the honor for outstanding chorus performance, at Tuesday’s ceremony.

Seattle Times theater critic

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Hanford High School took the top honors at the 11th annual 5th Avenue Awards, announced Tuesday night. The awards honor excellence in high-school musical productions around the state, and were handed out at a lively ceremony at the 5th Avenue Theatre packed with cheering teenage drama students.

Hanford High School’s show “The Drowsy Chaperone” won the grand prize for outstanding overall musical production, and also received an award for outstanding performance by a chorus.

Top performing honors went to Tori Gresham, of Eisenhower High School in Yakima, for her lead turn in “Annie Get Your Gun,” and to both Danny Palomba, of Spokane’s Lewis and Clark High School, and Pasco High’s Franklin Castellanos; they tied for best male performance in their school’s productions of “In the Heights.”

University High School’s version of “Urinetown” and Lewis and Clark High’s “In the Heights” received three prizes apiece, tying as the winners of the most awards. Thirteen other high schools received honors in such categories as acting, lighting design and lobby display, including Kentridge, which received the award for outstanding music direction for “Evita.”

Woodinville High School drama teacher Leslie Herlich was presented with the second annual special honor for outstanding educator.

This year, 105 productions at 88 schools were considered by a team of adult theater professionals. According to the 5th Avenue, schools report that their participation in the program has helped them secure more funding for arts activities, improve curriculum and increase participation.

For a full list of 5th Avenue Award recipients, go to: www.5thavenue.org/education/student-programs#5th-avenue-awards.

Misha Berson: mberson@seattletimes.com

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