Amhof, Campbell, Casciato, Schmieder earn honors for parts in 'Les Miserables'

—Submitted Photo Grace Casciato sings a song as Fantine in Fort Dodge Senior High’s 96th musical Les Miserables.

It wasn’t about the individual awards for the cast of “Les Miserables.”

It was about the production and their cast mates.

Four senior cast members from the Fort Dodge Senior High School musical were honored by the Iowa High School Musical Theatre Program to be involved in the Triple Threat program as Outstanding performers in a Principal Role.

Aaron Amhof, Mikeal Campbell and Grace Casciato were honored for the second straight year. Brayden Schmieder, who played Thenardier, received the award for the first time.

“It was an amazing production, and I’m glad I was able to be a part of it,” Schmieder said. “I wasn’t expecting to earn Triple Threat. When she announced our names at the speech banquet, she said my name very last and I was in shock.

—Submitted Photo Brayden Schmieder portrays his character Thenardier in Fort Dodge Senior High’s 96th musical Les Miserables.

“Everyone put so much work into this musical, and it deserves every award it received.”

Along with the individual awards the cast of Fort Dodge Senior High’s 96th musical earned Outstanding Musical Production. The Dodgers also earned Outstanding Community Engagement, and picked up special recognition for ensemble performance. Michael Wagner took special recognition for his part as Enjolras.

The entire cast will perform a short excerpt of the production at the awards showcase at the Des Moines Civic Center today.

Casciato, who plans on performing for her career, was excited to earn the award after her performance as Fantine.

“Personally, I am so proud of being able to earn a Triple Threat and designation,” Casciato said. “It is validation that I am headed in the right direction, in terms of my career.

—Submitted Photo Aaon Amhof (left) and Mikeal Campbell (right) take part in a scene of Les Miserables as their characters Jean Valjean and Javert respectively at the Fort Dodge Middle School.

“Last year, the process of preparing and performing alongside some of the best performers and Iowa was a highlight of my year, and I can’t wait to participate in the program again.”

For Casciato it wasn’t about the awards, it was about her classmates coming together for a unique and talented production.

“‘Les Miserables’ was such a unique production,” Casciato said. “I am grateful to be a part of such a talented cast, and I am so proud of the product we were able to create.

“Receiving an Outstanding Musical Production award was an honor because it showed that we were able to connect with our audience as well as making a product we were proud of.”

Amhof will take many memories with him in his final musical as a Dodger.

“Being a part of this show was the highlight of my high school career,” Amhof said. “Every moment was amazing and I made so many memories that I will always cherish. My only wish is that we could’ve kept going forever.

“Les Miserables’ was my dream show, and I could not have asked for a better ending to my senior year.”

Amhof, who played Jean Valjean, the musical’s central character, understood how difficult this musical would be, but was pleased to take part in it.

“We knew that this show was going to be a big undertaking, but that only made us work harder,” Amhof said. “Everyone involved did whatever they could to make this the best it could be. “Receiving an Outstanding Musical Production award means so much to all of us, and I’m so proud of how everything turned out.”

Being part of the Triple Threat program again was a career highlight for Amhof.

“The Triple Threat program is considered to be the best of the best in Iowa where you get to work with Broadway professionals in many aspects,” Amhof said. “Being invited to the Triple Threat program is one of the greatest honors of my life.

“It’s such an honor also to have the opportunity to represent FDSH and the community of Fort Dodge at an event of this caliber.”

Campbell, who played Valjean’s nemesis Javert, loved how this year’s production turned out.

“I have no shame in admitting that this year’s musical was light years better than last year’s production in ‘Footloose,” Campbell said. “Well I had a great time as Ren McCormack, I feel I’ve improved a lot since then.

“Earning Triple Threat honors for a second time is just as exciting as it was the first time.”

Earning Outstanding Musical Performance and ensemble again was great for Campbell to see.

“As far as the ensemble, I am thrilled that they got their flowers again,” Campbell said. “They are a special bunch, who really gives it their all every time they perform.”


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