GFHS Theatre Ensemble’s HONK! wins Best Musical in HSMTAs

cast members of musical in costume smiling on stage with award trophy
HONK! performed by the GFHS Theatre Ensemble won Best Musical Tier B in the regional competition! Photo by Douglas C Liebig.

Glens Falls High School’s cast and crew of “HONK!” won Best Musical Tier B in the 2022 High School Musical Theatre Awards, held at Proctor’s in Schenectady last weekend! 

Sophomore Natalia Steves, who played Grace in the show, said in her acceptance speech that she’s “ecstatic to be able to accept this award on behalf of our theatre ensemble.”

two student actors looking at glass award
Natalia Steves (as Grace) and Emma Otto (as Ida) admire the Best Musical award trophy backstage during the ceremony

“When we were first auditioning for this show, there were only about 10 girls and one guy that showed up,” Natalia continued. “But the next day, due to our rallying, we brought in so many more people which truly saved our show. So I’d like to thank the students of this musical, the ones who made the musical … well, a musical! We are all eternally grateful to be part of this experience.”

28 students were in the cast of HONK!, which is a musical adaptation of the Hans Christain Anderson classic story of The Ugly Duckling. Five more students comprised the stage crew, and many adults helped on the production team, led by director Avery Babson, and musical director Abi Sery.

Mrs. Babson, a Spanish teacher at Glens Falls Middle School by day, said she is incredibly grateful and proud to be part of this cast and crew’s journey. “Many of the actors to grace the stage tonight are new to the world of theater,” she wrote in her director’s note. “Like the story of our beloved protagonist in HONK!, these students set off on a long, brave, and arduous journey. Throughout the rehearsal process, they faced obstacles, moments of self-doubt, and worry. But through it all, they dug deep to overcome challenges and set-backs… they dug deep to look at what’s within.”

high school actors on stage performing HONK
Photo by Douglas C Liebig

17 total shows from all over the Capital Region participated in the HSMTAs this year. The nine schools nominated for Best Musical award — three schools across three tiers according to the size of the productions — showcased their shows with a single number during the awards show on Proctor’s stage May 14th. The cast of HONK! performed an ensemble number in full costume for the ceremony.

students in costume waiting backstage before a performance
HONK! cast members wait backstage before performing at Proctors Theater in Schenectady

For the awards show, Proctors hires a professional stage director, musical director and choreographer, and a five-piece band provides the live music. The Times Union reports that the High School Musical Theatre Awards, now in its sixth year,  was created by Proctors Collaborative as a way to celebrate local musical theater and spotlight some of the students who may one day be in the cast of professional touring musicals that visit Proctors. 

And while it’s a thrill to perform on a professional theater stage, a kind of “everyday magic” happens right here on the musical hardwood of GFHS.

“The Glens Falls High School Auditorium is a special place,” Mrs. Babson said. “It is where generations of young actors sang their first solo, took their first bow, mastered their first jazz square, and met their lifelong best friend. It is where generations of students learned that hard work, commitment, collaboration, time management, adaptability, self-care, self-discipline, dedication, leadership, and self-confidence are at the root of page to stage.”

And those aren’t just idle words from Mrs. Babson, a 2001 graduate of GFHS and its Theatre Ensemble. On performance weekend of HONK!, a lead actress suddenly became unable to perform for the second show. Rather than have the entire cast and crew miss out on their second performance, Mrs. Babson put on a costume, grabbed the book with lines, and showed her true heart for her students by singing, dancing, and quite literally willing the show into being so that the GFHS student-musicians could shine.

students performing a scene from HONK on the Proctor's Stage
Photo by Douglas C Liebig

“Directing within these walls, sharing the creative process with family and friends, watching students grow, working alongside the admired Pam Granger, and seeing my own kids look up to a new generation of actors has been an absolute honor,” notes Mrs. Babson.

Congratulations to all students, K-12, who participated in the 2022 High School Musical Theatre Awards’ Best Musical Tier B: HONK!

  • Ryan Diffenbach
  • Emma Otto
  • Rosalie Carlsen
  • Jack Adams
  • Sophia Plante
  • Ava LaVine
  • Natalia Steves
  • Claire Fisher
  • Schuyler Quartiers
  • Cameron Hamell
  • Luke O’Hara
  • Mattea Rice
  • Aliveah Nelson
  • Gracia Patterson
  • Americus Frederick
  • Shane LaBounty
  • Alec Aleva
  • Parker Frost
  • Henry France-Miller
  • Lillian Wright
  • Saylor Campbell
  • Rowan Stimpson
  • Samantha Solari
  • Ella Harris
  • Norah Shaffer
  • Keyena Wood
  • Eve Babson
  • Trey Babson
  • Kayla Toney
  • Bowen Bussing
  • Ben Scripture
  • Mandolin Charette
  • Lauren Keyes