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Tri-Cities, Atlanta Intl. students win N.Y. musical theater awards

Monday night was a big one for two recent winners of the Shuler Hensley Awards For Excellence in High School Musical Theatre organized by the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

At the second annual Nati0nal High School Music Theater Awards (or Jimmys) in New York, Alexandria Payne, a recent graduate of Tri-Cities High School in East Point, was named best actress.

Payne won best actress in late March at the Hensleys, which qualified her for the New York competition. Monday’s prize, for her performance as Ti Moune on “Once on This Island,” brought with it a $10,000 scholarship.

And Arsalan Akhavan, a rising senior at the Atlanta International School who won the best actor prize at the Hensleys, was awarded a special trophy for most improved at the Jimmys, good for a $2,500 scholarship.

Both metro high schools are considered powerhouses of musical theater training. Tony nominee Sahr Ngaujah and his co-star in “Fela” on Broadway, Saycon Sengbloh, met while attending Tri-Cities.

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