“The Hello Girls” cast members nominated for Tommy Tune Awards

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Emerson Heath

Senior Jaisal Kalapatapu and junior Alex King act out a scene where he outlines the Army’s rules.

Emerson Heath, Staff Writer

The closest a high school student from Houston can get to a Tony Award is a Tommy Tune Award

This year, Kinkaid’s performance of “The Hello Girls” received 23 Tommy Tune nominations and honorable mentions, including outstanding ensemble, director and musical. Out of all 23 nominations, Kinkaid has two award finalists. 

Junior Alexandra King was nominated for outstanding performer in a leading role for her portrayal of Grace Banker. Senior Taylor McMullen was nominated in the same category for her role as Bertha Hunt. 

Lead finalists perform in a medley performance – highlighting their role in their musical,” McMullen said.

Students worked in front of a panel of judges every day to prepare for the final show on May 4. 

McMullen, who has been nominated once before, said she enjoyed her experience as a finalist last year.

“My experience last year was super exciting. I loved meeting students from all over Houston that share the same passion for theatre that I do,” she said. “Everyone was so kind, and we really bonded together during the somewhat stressful rehearsal process.”

Kinkaid has a long history of winning Tommy Tunes for its musicals. In 2022, Kinkaid’s performance of the musical “Carrie” was awarded the Tommy Tune for Best Technical Execution. 

Two out of the five main actresses in “The Hello Girls” were nominated together in a category, which has not happened in a Kinkaid production in recent times. 

“This nomination is really exciting and rewarding. It’s nice to have all of your hard work pay off,” McMullen said.

The two said they look forward to working with each other at Theater Under the Stars.

“I’m so excited to go through this experience with a friend like Taylor,” King said. “Because she is older than me and has already been through the process it will be great to have her guide me.” 

McMullen shared her feelings about performing with her co-star.

“I am so so excited to be able to perform in Tommy Tunes with Alex,” she said. “She is so amazing and so talented. I’m excited to perform alongside her again.” 

The Tommy Tune Awards Program celebrates high school musical theater in Greater Houston. The program awards many high school musicals for their directing, singing, dancing, acting and stage design. 

When someone is nominated for a Tommy Tune, they travel to Theater Under The Stars and perform the play they were nominated for. Students showcase their abilities in a compilation directed by a professional. 

Editor’s note (05/05/2023): King and McMullen were named finalists for Leading Performer at the Tommy Tunes Awards, and McMullen was named Jimmy Award Nominee Runner-Up. Both performed in multiple numbers during the awards show at the Hobby Center. Stage manager and senior Adam Behr received a Tommy Tunes scholarship during the awards show.