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Monday, June 10, 2019

DES MOINES, Iowa – In a surprise reveal during the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards (IHSMTA) Showcase, presented by EMC Insurance Companies at the Civic Center, Des Moines Performing Arts named two Triple Threat Award recipients. The students are:

  • Peyton Reese recognized for her role as “Veronica Sawyer” in HEATHERS THE MUSICAL (HIGH SCHOOL EDITION) at Davenport Central High School. Her encore performance at the Showcase was “Lost in The Brass” from BAND GEEKS.
  • Cole Strelecki recognized for his role as “Man in the Yellow Suit” in TUCK EVERLASTING at West Des Moines Valley High School. His encore performance at the Showcase was “This Is Not Over Yet” from PARADE.

As Triple Threat Award recipients, Cole and Peyton will represent Iowa at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York City, June 17-24, 2019. They will join students from across the country for a nine-day intensive of private coaching, master classes and rehearsals with Broadway professionals. Their experience will culminate with a final performance on Monday, June 24, 2019 at the Minskoff Theatre, home to Disney’s The Lion Kingon Broadway.

Des Moines Performing Arts is a partner of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. To identify Iowa’s two student representatives at Nationals, the Triple Threat Award program was created. The award recognizes students who are a “triple threat,” demonstrating excellent acting, dancing and vocal talents. Additionally, the Triple Threat Award recognizes students who exemplify the spirit of the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards.

This year, 73 students from participating Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards schools auditioned for the Triple Threat Award. The students were invited to audition based on the strength of their performances in their school musical production in a role. Students spent Friday, May 31 through Sunday, June 2 at the Civic Center auditioning, rehearsing under the direction of Broadway veterans, and receiving private coaching from local university faculty.

About the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards

The Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards is a yearlong education program launched by Des Moines Performing Arts. Throughout the year, performing arts professionals and educators serve as adjudicators to review musical productions and offer constructive feedback to each of the participating high schools. The program has continued to grow by leaps and bounds since nine schools first participated during its inaugural year in 2012. A statewide initiative as of the 2016–2017 school year, the showcase featured 600 student performers representing a record 77 participating high schools.

Based on the adjudicators’ feedback, the IHSMTA students and productions were honored with awards and recognition during the Awards Showcase. Students and productions were acknowledged in several different categories including: Outstanding Musical Production, Outstanding Performance in a Principal Role, Outstanding Ensemble and Outstanding Overall Technical and Creative Achievement.

Check out additional photos from the Awards Showcase at the following link:

For more information about the Iowa High School Musical Theater Awards, please visit

About Des Moines Performing Arts

Des Moines Performing Arts is a private not-for-profit organization celebrating 40 seasons of presenting the performing arts to Iowa and the surrounding states on four stages in Des Moines – the Civic Center, the Stoner Theater, the Temple Theater and the newly renovated outdoor space, Cowles Commons. Des Moines Performing Arts is a presenter of major Broadway and educational touring companies, performers and groups, and is home to many local and regional groups, including the Des Moines Symphony. All performances of the Broadway Series are supported by Willis Auto Campus. All performances at the Temple Theater are supported by Prairie Meadows. All performances of the Family Series are supported by Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield. For more information, visit

Des Moines Performing Arts Partnerships: