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Youth Theater Sparkles in June

Over the past three years, the Syracuse Area Live Theatre Youth (SALTY) Awards have grown and evolved. We have changed the awards to enable more people to participate in selection of winners.

The SALTYs celebrate and honor the work of students and educators in the performing arts. Originally, schools registered to participate. Ballots were sent to SALTY Academy members after receiving nominees from each of the schools. The SALTY Awards were based on those high school nominations and SALTY Academy members’ votes. Community theater companies also nominated young participants and shows that involved large numbers of young people.

This year, changes to the SALTYs will involve more voters and will enable a greater number of people to see scenes from the high school productions. 

Ted Long and Amy Robbins of 93Q will emcee SALTYs this year. Eight high schools will perform a scene from their show. A panel of judges from various walks of life, along with the audience, will vote for their favorite of the eight at the SALTY Awards show. A SALTY will be given specifically for that presentation that day. 

People’s choice awards, similar to the Syracuse Area Live Theatre (SALT) People’s Choice, will be presented as well. Online voting will also be available. All schools in Onondaga County are now part of SALTYs.

The number of categories devoted to community theater has been reduced in order to put the focus back on high school productions. A shift in venue, to Cicero-North Syracuse High School, which holds three times as many people as the New Times Theater, will ensure everyone can get a seat at the awards show. 

Much about SALTYs also remains the same, including the Rising Star Award, the Spirit Award and the Lifetime Achievement Award.

As an educator for more than 35 years, I have worked with children most of my life. I also have been involved in theater for more than 40 years, and have directed many, many shows that have involved children. I am the executive director of Rising Stars Children’s Theatre (whose shows are exempt from these awards because of my affiliation), which is committed to having all children have the chance to participate in theater. I have worked at the Shakespeare Festival in Canada and Cortland Repertory Theatre, and I have directed shows for numerous local companies. 

My job in all of this is to do what I think I do best: Put on a show!

The SALTY Awards will take place on Saturday, June 6, 12:30 to 4 p.m., at Cicero-North Syracuse High School, 6002 Route 31, Cicero. Tickets are $10 for everyone. Tickets will be distributed through schools and available at the door. For more information or advance tickets, call 288-5052, visit www.familytimes.biz and click on the SALTY Awards box in the left column, or send an e-mail to azimmer@syracusenewtimes.com.


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