Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards ceremony moving to Lincoln Park

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In a year that marks the 20th anniversary of the Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards, the presentation of the awards for high school students is moving from Geneva College to the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland.

The college has hosted the awards ceremony on the Beaver Falls campus for the past 12 years.

The college and the center issued a joint news release, insisting that the parting is amiable.

"Geneva College has been a good neighbor all these years," said Laura Humbert, director of media at Lincoln Park. "Geneva is basically passing the baton."

Geneva College president Ken Smith said, "This is a natural evolution for the Mancini Awards.

"While Geneva College has been proud to host the awards these past 12 years, passing the baton to Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center allows Geneva to focus on our core programs with the knowledge that the awards have found a new home perfectly suited to present the best of high school musical theater in our area."

The next awards will be presented May 21 in the 750-seat theater at Lincoln Park.

High schools from Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties are eligible to participate in the Mancini Awards, which promote and celebrate musical theater.

Two students win the awards and receive a scholarship to attend the National Musical Theater Awards in New York City, where they compete on Broadway in June.

The awards are named for Henry Mancini (1924-1994) who grew up in Beaver County and won fame as a composer and conductor.

He was best known for television and movie scores that included songs such as "Moon River" and "The Days of Wine and Roses," as well as the theme for the Pink Panther movies.

Mr. Mancini's widow, Ginny Mancini, gave Lincoln Center permission to name its community education program the Henry Mancini Arts Academy.

Mrs. Mancini said in a joint news release from Lincoln Center and Geneva College, "I am so grateful for the support Geneva College has shown the awards, and am pleased to see that Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center will continue the fine tradition."

Lincoln Park managing director Sal Aloe said, "This is just one of the many ways the center continues its strong relationship with the Mancini family."

In the past 12 years of hosting the awards, Geneva College "committed numerous resources to support the event," the news release said.

"Geneva College is a liberal arts college and our core curriculum includes English and numerous humanities but we do not have a theater major," said Cheryl Johnston, director of marketing services and public relations at Geneva College. "This is a transition year."

The Mancini Awards are managed by a committee of volunteers headed by longtime chairwoman Louise Copeland, a history professor at Geneva, who is retiring from the college at the end of this academic year.

"We look forward to working with Louise and helping the Mancini Awards to grow at Lincoln Park," said artistic director Gavan Pamer.

Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center opened in 2006 and has provided "arts, education and cultural asset for Western Pennsylvania and the Tri-State region," the news release said.

The center includes the Henry Mancini Arts Academy.

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Linda Wilson Fuoco: lfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-722-0087.


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