Heritage Hall News


Lauren Roth, Director of Communications
Leah Hughes to represent Heritage Hall this month on Broadway 

(Oklahoma City) – Heritage Hall Performing Arts was recently recognized with four nominations from the Kelli O’Hara Awards for the school’s stage production of Disney’s animated blockbuster, Frozen. Leah Hughes ’24, who portrayed “Elsa” from the production, won “Outstanding Performance by an Actress.” She will now compete in the National High School Theatre, “Jimmy” Awards in New York City this month, following a week of professional training and competition among winners from dozens of regional programs.

Named for Broadway actress and singer Kelli O’Hara, an eight-time Tony Award nominee and Tulsa native, the Kelli O’Hara Awards were created by OKC Broadway to celebrate outstanding achievement by students and teachers in Oklahoma high school musical theater. The awards also recognize exceptional performing arts education programs that distinguish schools like Heritage Hall, which offers daily performing arts instruction from preschool through grade 12. 

Heritage Hall’s production of Frozen garnered four nominations from three major categories of awards: Outstanding Performance by an Actress (Leah Hughes ’24, who portrayed “Elsa,” and Reygann Jones ’24, who portrayed “Olaf”); Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble; and Best Musical (Frozen).

Nominees Leah Hughes and Reygann Jones performed songs from their nominated performances at the awards ceremony, held at the Civic Center Music Hall on May 31. As nominees for “Best Musical,” the Heritage Hall company was one of three schools to perform at the awards ceremony and delivered a thrilling medley of songs from Frozen.

“Our school was hand-picked by Disney Theatricals to be the first school production of Frozen in Oklahoma and we put everything we had into the show,” stated Jay Ferguson ’96, Heritage Hall Fine Arts Director. “It was so gratifying to see all of our students’ hard work celebrated at the Kelli O’Hara Awards and, now, our Queen Elsa, Leah Hughes, making her Broadway debut. This show is truly a gift that keeps on giving.”

In the six years since the Kelli O’Hara Awards program was established, Hughes is Heritage Hall’s third winner. Evan Hulse ’24 represented Heritage Hall in 2023 (Outstanding Performance by an Actor) for his lead role as an Irish busker in the musical Once. In 2020, Audrey Payne ’20 was recognized (Outstanding Performance by an Actress) for her starring turn in The Spitfire Grill. 

Winners spend a week at The Juilliard School in New York City, where they are coached by leading industry professionals, and prepare show-stopping musical numbers for The Jimmy Awards (National High School Musical Theatre Awards). Perhaps the most meaningful part of the experience for young performers is the chance to sing on a Broadway stage, and to see their names and faces in lights on the marquees in Times Square.

“The opportunity that these programs provide to students is nothing short of life-changing,” Ferguson said. While our students at Heritage Hall get the benefit of a robust arts program, we recognize that is not the case in a great many schools across the state and country. Programs like these lift up arts education in ways that highlight its immense value to schools and communities.”

In support of Leah Hughes’ nomination, Heritage Hall will host a 2024 Jimmy Awards watch party (open to the public) at 6 pm on Monday, June 24 in the Howard Theatre on the Heritage Hall campus (1800 NW 122nd Street, Oklahoma City). Admission is free.
Heritage Hall is an equal opportunity employer committed to a diverse community promoting fairness, acceptance, equal treatment, and opportunities for all. With regard to hiring, student admission, allocation of financial aid, and educational policy, it is our policy not to discriminate and to comply with all applicable state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, gender, national origin, religion, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, or other applicable protected classification.