Marble Falls is now home to two of the top high school actors in the country following the 2021 International Thespian Festival awards.
Marble Falls High School students Jordan Brandt and Dane Lackey landed Thespys in the Duet Acting category following their live-streamed June 25 performance. The festival, which showcases high school theater arts, held its program and performances virtually June 22-25, culminating with the awards.
Lackey, a senior, and Brandt, a 2021 graduate, performed a piece from “Leading Ladies,” a play about two English Shakespearean actors with struggling careers. They hear of a woman who plans to give her fortune to her two English nephews. The actors, Leo and Jack, decide to pass themselves off as the two relatives but quickly realize the nephews are actually nieces.
Lackey and Brandt performed their scene in the Marble Falls High School auditorium June 25 while it was streamed live to the judges as well as educators and middle school and high school students across the country.
“Being named a Thespy winner means they were one of the top two duet acting scenes in the nation,” said Marble Falls theater arts teacher Jon Clark.
Qualifying for the International Thespian Festival were 640 duets. Brandt and Lackey were one of only 28 pairs selected out of the initial entries to advance in the Thespy event.
“At the national level, every student competing has already been deemed ‘superior’ by their state or chapter’s panel of adjudicators,” Clark explained. “Meaning that all of these 640 competitors have already been vetted and determined to be strong entries. Making callbacks for the final showcase is in itself a tremendous accomplishment.”
The Marble Falls acting duo was one of eight performance groups selected to be in the Thespy Showcase on June 25. Clark described this as a “prestigious honor.”
“This live-streamed event was the closing ceremony for this year’s International Thespian Festival,” he added. “Performing at the Main Stage Showcase is the highest honor students can achieve at (the festival).”
Along with the Thespy, Lackey landed a $1,000 thespian scholarship.
This marks the third time in the past six thespian festivals that Marble Falls has attended — at state and national levels — where officials selected its students for the main stage showcases. In 2019, Charles “CW” Hellen and Abigail Collard landed on the main stage at the International Thespian Festival. In 2018, Charles McLean and Gillian Goff made it to the Texas Thespian State Festival main stage.
“A 50 percent selection rate for main stage in our last three years is truly impressive,” Clark said. “I would venture that few schools in the nation can boast those numbers. I am so proud of these two young men as well as all of our students that competed in this year’s Thespy event. It’s been an incredible year for us, and this is the icing on the cake.”