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Caryl Crane Youth Theatre wins national honors in 2021 Musical Theater Competition of America

The youth theater based at BGSU Firelands brought home 11 awards including 'Best in Festival.'
Credit: BGSU Firelands (via Twitter)
Image provided by BGSU Firelands (via twitter) of Caryl Crane Youth Theatre

HURON, Ohio — Midwest talent is on the map after winning big in the recent 2021 Musical Theater Competition of America. Caryl Crane Youth Theatre's ensemble of local high school students from various regional schools was a triple threat-plus, proving they can sing, dance, act and win “Best in Festival." 

BGSU Firelands’ Caryl Crane Youth Theatre (CCYT) brought home 11 awards at the 2021 Musical Theatre Competitions of America Virtual Festival.  

The group, which comprises 15 high school students from nine area schools, won first place for its rendition of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cats, as well as the Creative Excellence Award for Ensemble.

Marisa Graybill (senior, Huron High School) was named Best Festival Vocalist for her portrayal of Grizabella in Cats, and Ryan Humphrey (freshman, Vermilion High School) was awarded first place in Hair and Makeup Design for Cats.

McKenna Stoffer (senior, Ontario High School) and Marisa Graybill received the first place award for their Duet Performance and were chosen to workshop their vocals in a masterclass with Tony Award-Winner Stephanie J Block. Bryce Nevison (junior, Huron High School) was awarded first place for his Monologue Performance.

In addition, Gabe Omlor (junior, Toledo School for the Arts) took second place for his Solo Performance and Bryce Nevison won third in the same category. DeKotah Lanier (senior, Sandusky High School) and Joshua Higgins (senior, Bellevue High School) were awarded fourth place for their Duet Performance and McKenna Stoffer received fourth place for her Solo Performance.

The Caryl Crane Youth Theatre Ensemble, under the direction of Brian Marshall, features:

Bryce Dials (sophomore, Willard High School), Marisa Graybill, Jessica Hartley (sophomore, Elyria High School), Ryan Humphrey, Jake Koba (senior, Huron High School), Natalie Kwasny-Jackson (junior, Edison High School), DeKotah Lanier, Caylin McCormick (sophomore, Huron High School), Bryce Nevison, Gabe Omlor, Alaina Parkinson (senior, Huron High School). Elijah Routh (junior, Huron High School), McKenna Stoffer, and Kelsey Swain (junior, Huron High School).  

Partnering with BGSU Firelands College for 31 years, Caryl Crane Youth Theatre leaders say the theater exists to create revolutionary theater experiences, and advance theater as a means of educating, challenging and inspiring the youth in its community.

The program offers tuition-free productions, theatrical training and leadership opportunities for youth from all over Erie County. Each school year, CCYT produces a six-show season, which includes a junior production (ages 6-12), a competition team/JTF production, an all-ages production, a holiday show, a summer day-camp production and a combined production with the theatre program at BGSU Firelands College.

While greatly affected by the pandemic, Caryl Crane Youth Theatre is one of the only youth theatres in the state to have successfully shifted and produced a full season, while providing safe theatrical training opportunities for local youth. CCYT has been able to offer a safe, in-person season of rehearsing and filming productions for future release. 

Earlier this season, CCYT produced Something Rotten Jr. and the annual The Mickey Mouse Club Christmas Concert. This past month, CCYT streamed Oliver Jr., and just completed workshoping a new musical, Snapshots, written by the CCYT Teen Board as part of a Showcase, Musical Theatre Bootcamp. CCCYT will present an in-person production of Les Misérables in late April and early May.