Area Students Get Tremendous Experience Acting Up

News Palm Beach County Schools

PALM BEACH COUNTY, FL ( — Area students lucky enough to be students at the Alexander W. Dreyfoos School Of The Arts had the honor of performing in Tampa, in the largest school theater festival in the world.

From Palm Beach County Schools:

The festival, held March 14-18 at Tampa’s David A. Straz Center for the Performing Arts and the Tampa Convention Center, hosted over 7,000 high school theatre students from across the state of Florida. Dreyfoos theatre students took the festival by storm with full-length and individual event performances, presentations, and college/scholarship auditions.

MIDSUMMER, a new rock musical interpretation of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream that incorporates the music of The Moody Blues, was one of fourteen high school productions in the state selected to perform on the mainstage of the festival. Students were allotted six hours to install complicated scenery that included rigging for aerial arts and a motorized revolving turntable before the performance at 7:00pm on Friday, March 16. At the play’s conclusion, a sold-out audience of 2,600 high school students and guests from across Florida rewarded the cast and crew’s deft performance with a rousing standing ovation.

Junior theatre student Lexi Carter, 17 of Jupiter, was nominated for the Straz Center’s “Broadway Star of the Future” award for her work playing Helena in MIDSUMMER. Carter was one of four female high school students in Florida nominated for this honor. She plans to continue her studies in theatrical performance so that she may pursue a career as a musical theatre actress.

Another junior theatre student, Sam Leopold, 17 of Palm Beach Gardens, received a Critics’ Choice award in the category of Student-Directed Scene. Leopold, who also portrayed the role of Bottom in MIDSUMMER, described the experience of winning one of two Critics’ Choice awards in the directing category and performing on the Festival’s mainstage as“surreal, unforgettable, emotional, and a tremendous honor.”

Senior theatre major Erick Fields, 18 of West Palm Beach, received a $1,000 scholarship from Florida State Thespians. Fields, a technical direction student, will use his scholarship to attend a theatre program at either Carnegie Mellon University, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Webster University, or Purchase College.

Three Dreyfoos students represented District 15 Thespians (central and northern Palm Beach County as well as Martin, St. Lucie, and Okeechobee counties) at the Festival’s opening ceremonies: Sarah Belcher, 17 of Loxahatchee, was the District’s representative for technical theatre and design; and, Melissa Gonzalez, 16 of West Palm Beach, and Sarah Hardwick, 16 of Lake Worth, performed a scene from the play Stop Kiss for over 2,000 students as the District’s performance representative.

Additionally, Dreyfoos students earned nine Superior ratings and three Excellent ratings in the Festival’s individual event competition. Individual event categories included: large group musical theatre, duet musical theatre, duet acting, scenic design, student directed scene, costume design, and publicity direction.


The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts was founded in 1989 as the premier arts high school in the School District of Palm Beach County. The Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts offers its students intensive study within their art area and a rigorous college preparatory academic curriculum. Alumni from the Dreyfoos theatre program are working as performers, designers, and technicians on Broadway, in television and film, and in regional theatres across the country.



Paul Saperstein


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