Salisbury Press

Friday, May 29, 2020
Freddys tribute telecast May 21 on WFMZ Freddys tribute telecast May 21 on WFMZ

Freddys tribute telecast May 21 on WFMZ

Thursday, May 21, 2020 by PAUL WILLISTEIN in Focus

The “Freddy Awards: A Television Special Celebrating the High School Musical Class of 2020” will be telecast, 7 - 10 p.m. May 21, 69-WFMZ, a partner with the State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton.

The 18th annual Freddy Awards isn’t being presented because of the public and charter schools shutdown mandated by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The TV special is a tribute to the Freddy Awards and especially high school seniors who participated in the 2020 musical productions, most of which were not presented because of the pandemic-mandated shutdowns.

Said Denise L. Smith, Vice President, Development, State Theatre Center for the Arts, Easton, “While our stage remains dark at this time, we have been quite busy working with WFMZ-TV to prepare a modified version of the Freddy program this year.

“It is not possible to do the presentation of awards because so many schools were not able to present their spring musicals, but we wanted to do something to celebrate all the dedicated schools and talented students, especially the seniors.

“We’ll have some exciting new material thanks in part to the submissions by and participation of many students, as well as a celebratory look back on all previous 17 years of the program,” said Smith.

“When schools were cancelled for the year, we knew that a Freddy Awards show in its traditional form would not be possible,” said Shelley Brown, Executive Producer of the awards program and President and CEO of the State Theatre Center for the Arts, in an April 22 press release.

“Only six of our 29 schools were able to perform their shows this year, and with self-distancing in place it has been a challenge even to envision a television show at all,” said Brown.

“But in theater, the show must go on in some form,” Brown continued in the April 22 press release. “And, we are especially sensitive to the seniors that have looked forward to their special night this year. In true theater spirit, we will not let this year pass without a salute to the students who have worked so hard on their shows.

“Our show will not be as grand as it has been on our large stage. There will be no awards given. But it is our hope that we can capture the spirit of joy and supportiveness that we are most proud of in the community that the Freddy spirit has helped to create,” Brown said.

As part of the Freddy Awards program, more than $1.5 million in scholarships and awards have been presented to students and schools since 2003, said Jamie Balliet, Senior Vice President, Marketing, State Theatre Center for the Arts and Producer, Freddy Awards, in the press release. This year, $200,000 in awards is available.

The Freddy Awards recognizes and rewards accomplishments in the production and performance of musical theater in high schools in Lehigh and Northampton counties, and Warren County, N.J. The Freddys are named after J. Fred Osterstock, whose birthdate is May 21.