PHS students earn IHSMTA recognition for ‘Peter Pan’

Breanna Penenger sings, "I Gotta Crow!" in her role as Peter Pan. Penenger receives the IHSMTA's award for Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role.

Anna Ridnour, playing the part of the Darling family maid Liza, won IHSMTA Special Recognition for Performance as a Featured Dancer.

Perry High School has garnered several awards from the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA) for its spring production of “Peter Pan,” according to this week’s IHSMTA announcement.

From individual performances to group performances to recognition of the entire community, the March 30 and April 1 shows at the Perry Performing Arts Center won high marks. Awards included:

  • Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role—Breanna Penenger as “Peter Pan”
  • Special Recognition for Performance as a Featured Dancer—Anna Ridnour
  • Distinguished Scene—“Indian Dance”
  • Special Recognition for Community Engagement

Award winners will perform in the IHSMTS’ Showcase Monday, June 5 at 7 p.m. at the Des Moines Civic Center.

Penenger will perform a solo excerpt from the song “I Gotta Crow” from “Peter Pan” at the IHSMTA Showcase and will also perform in a medley. Amani Al-Rashid, Karley Whelchel, Madison Mason and Taylor Eppert will perform along with students from other schools in the opening medley of the Awards Showcase.

Tickets for the show are $15 and can be purchased online.

“We would love to have a home crowd cheering our students on at the June 5 showcase,” said Jenn Nelson, PHS vocal music director. “What better way to show how much Perry deserves its Special Recognition for Community Engagement?”

Peneger’s Outstanding Performance award also qualifies her to participate in the Triple Threat Award competition. She will audition to represent the state of Iowa at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City later in June.

Triple Threat Award students receive coaching on a musical theater solo and perform their solo in front of a selection panel. They also work with a guest Broadway director and Broadway choreographer in putting together a medley with other Triple Threat students, and they perform the medley at the June 5 IHSMTA Showcase.

Based on their solo performances, coaching sessions and the group rehearsal process, one male and one female actor will be chosen to receive the Triple Threat Award and will represent Iowa at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York. The Triple Threat winners will be revealed during the Awards Showcase event.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater. Students in the New York program take part in a rigorous, nine-day experience featuring individual vocal and acting coaching by Broadway industry professionals, visits from special guests, discussions with working actors, a night out in Times Square for dinner and a Broadway show and a session with a Broadway casting agency.

Students traveling to Nationals will perform in The Jimmy Awards showcase Monday, June 26 at the Minskoff Theatre, the home to Disney’s “The Lion King” on Broadway.

Amani Al-Rashid, left, plays Tiger Lily the “Indian Dance,” which won a Distinguished Scene award from the IHSMTA. Al-Rashid’s friend, Tiffany S. Secress, right, is also her biggest fan.


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