Three Maricopa High School theater students and the backstage crew have been named finalists in the Arizona High School Musical Theatre Awards.

The awards ceremony, usually held with great fanfare and performances at ASU Gammage, will be a virtual event May 23 at 7 p.m. to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. The coronavirus outbreak prevented nine participating high schools from performing their spring musicals this year.

MHS Theatre Company staged its spring musical, Newsies, a little earlier than usual this year and make the cut.

MHS sophomore Joey Russoniello, who played Davey, is a finalist for best lead male. The Arizona students who win for male and female leads will be sent to New York City to participate in the Jimmy Awards.

Julie Goodrum is a finalist for best supporting female. Photo by Kyle Norby

Senior Julianna Goodrum is a finalist for best supporting female. Haley Raffaele is a finalist for best vocalist. The dance ensemble for the “Seize the Day” number was also named a finalist in a category that used to be best dancer.

MHS Tech Theatre is a finalist for best lighting.

Senior Haley Lemon is up for an ASU Gammage Leadership Award.

Semifinalists are drawn from throughout state, with a panel of judges deciding the finalists and then the winners. Most categories have four or five nominees. However, best lead female has 10 finalists, and best lead male has 11.

MHS Theatre Company’s other semifinalists were Emma Schraeder as best lead female and Jae Luna as best supporting male. Tech Theatre was a semifinalist for best set, best sound, best costumes and best hair and makeup.

Haley Raffaele. Photo by Kyle Norby
Newsies Dance Ensemble. Photo by Kyle Norby