Pull back that stage curtain and flick on the lights because Heritage High is hosting its first summer show. "Legally Blonde: The Musical" is set to open July 5.

When asked why the school is putting on another show -- especially during break -- theater department director Chris Fallows said, "I have no sense of limits ... I can't leave it alone if there is a chance to improve something I do."

While cast and crew toil away at rehearsals, there's still plenty of buzz about the group's win at the 2013 Bay Area High School Musical Theatre Stage top honor awards.

Nineteen private and public high school musical theater programs competed in the event, which is modeled after Broadway's Tony Awards.

Regarding the school's performance of "We Will Rock You," Fallows said: "We received eight nominations, including best overall show, which means we got to perform a scene from the show" at the June 3 ceremony. "Getting those kids on stage again is such a gift. They are incredible and I love them, so it is special to get to reunite for a little encore."

Plus, the group danced away with the student orchestra award.

"It's our second year in a row winning that award," Fallows said. "Steve Ernest and his band are truly the best of the best, and it is a gift to have him at Heritage." The honored nominees (all for "Rock You") were: Hillary Pedrotti, hair/make-up design; Tammy Vance, costume design; Alex Finlez for best featured actor (as Britney Spears); Madeline Bustos, best supporting actress (Meatloaf); Zinah Abraha, best leading actress (Scaramouche); Jacob Olsen, student achievement in technical theater; and overall production.


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"It was a thrill to perform on the stage of the historic California Theatre in San Jose ... We did 'Another One Bites the Dust,' 'We Will Rock You' and 'We Are the Champions.' The students were rock solid, no pun intended. I am glad I got to see them perform those great numbers again."

Fallows said all were honored to share the stage with such "amazing programs." Abraha told the theater teacher/director that performing in the medley with the other nominated actresses was "amazing." "I could feel the power of each one of the girls," Fallows said.

He added that Heritage's participation is a "huge boost for the vision of our students. Seeing the height of the standards established helps us reach further, to get over the bar."

While the joy of the awards ceremony is still alive, the company's focus now is on its "Legally Blonde" production. The show runs weekends July 5-20 with evening and matinee performances.

The show features current students and alum Jon Robin and Jillian Butler as the leads.

"Both are theater majors. They will make a huge difference guiding and leading by example," Fallows said. "It is exciting to have them working with and inspiring my students. The cast is something of an all-star cast. I feel honored that so many people feel strongly enough about our program to want to come back and relive their experience here."

Tickets are $19 for adults, $14 for students. For more information, visit www.hhsrisingstars.com or call 925-437-3078.

Also on deck for the award-winning troupe is "Spamalot," the Monty Python musical and "To Kill a Mockingbird, which opens in September.

THE RACE IS ON: Big Lots has kicked off its 6th annual Lots2Give video contest, and Pittsburg's Black Diamond High School is in the running for a chance to win a share of $120,000 in cash prizes.

As part of the 2013 Lots2Give contest, folks are invited to view the videos at www.biglots.com/lots2give and vote for their favorite. To enter the contest, schools submitted a 90-second video and a brief essay on why their school could use some financial support.

Nearly 200 schools entered, and are hoping to be one of the 37 lucky winners. One $20,000 grand prize, two $10,000 first-place prizes, four $5,000 second-place prizes and 30 $2,000 third-place prizes will be awarded.

Voting ends July 7. Individuals can cast up to three votes per day until the deadline.

Other Bay Area schools in the running are Hayward's Cesar Chavez Middle and Cherryland Elementary, and Richmond's Grant Elementary.

For more info, visit www.biglots.com/lots2give.

Scholars win: Becas Hispanicas Inc., a nonprofit educational organization, has given a $400 scholarship to five local students:

  • Jessica Trujillo of Pittsburg High School, who plans to attend Marinello Beauty School and become a cosmetologist.

  • Briggette Polette Bollanos Vierra of Antioch High School, who plans to attend UC Davis or Cal State Sacramento to become a school counselor or a college professor.

  • Martha Hernandez Ramirez, who plans to attend Los Medanos College and the University of California and study to become a nurse.

  • Maxemiliano Vargas of Deer Valley High School, who plans to attend a state college or the University of California and study psychology.

  • Yazxmin Tenorio, who plans to attend UCLA and study neuroscience or human biology.

    If you have school news to share, contact Trine Gallegos at trineg@att.net. You can also reach Judith Prieve at jprieve@bayareanewsgroup.com.