Dowagiac Drama wins best choreography, performs at Wave Awards

Published 4:48 pm Wednesday, May 18, 2022

BENTON HARBOR — With the red carpet rolled out, local high school drama programs got the star treatment this week at a southwest Michigan awards show.  

Dowagiac Drama took home the Outstanding Choreography award Tuesday at the Wave Awards for their production of “Ranked, A Musical.” The first-year award show honored the best regional high school drama musicals and was hosted at Lake Michigan College’s Mendel Center Main Stage in Benton Harbor.   

“I didn’t expect this one,” said director Tammy Mammel, after accepting the choreography award. “I’m not a dancer – I say often I move like a refrigerator more than anything else. … Working in these small schools, it’s kind of hard sometimes to find dancers willing to come in and help, so I have to figure out some choreograph movement.” 

Mammel said her experience in high school marching band helped her with the choreography. She also made sure to recognize Dowagiac graduate and experienced dancer Grace Clark for her help with the choreography. 

“When we were really struggling with some of the more complicated dance moves, I said “Grace, I need your help. Please, please, please come help,’” Mammel said. “She came in and worked with the kids and they just did a fabulous job. Thank you, Grace. Thank you to my entire crew. Thank you to everybody who supported us.” 

Dowagiac students also performed the song “Everything’s Changing,” from their production of Ranked. In total, Dowagiac was nominated for nine awards, including Outstanding Musical Production Individually, Amelia Jones and Roxie Robison were nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor and Outstanding Supporting Actor, respectively. 

Paw Paw won six of the 12 Wave Awards for their production of “Curtains.” They won best overall production, best set design, best lighting design, best supporting actor, best featured actor and best lead actress.  

“We want to inspire collaboration among high school-aged performers and develop an appreciation for the visual and performing arts among youth in our region,” LMC Dean of Arts & Sciences Kristopher Zook said. “The benefits of participating in the arts have been well documented. Our goal is to foster those benefits while building a sense of community in the arts that can transfer to participants’ adult lives.”