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2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2015 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

ATLANTA -- Twenty-four productions have been nominated for the 2015 Georgia High School Musical Theater Awards, otherwise known as the Shuler Hensley Awards.

The program is named for Tony Award-winning actor Shuler Hensley, a Cobb County native. This year's winners will be announced Thursday, Apr. 23 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre.

Winning a Shuler Hensley Award can reap major benefits for a budding performer. Just ask Jai'Len Josey, who won Best Actress in 2014 for her portrayal of Effie White in Tri-Cities High School's production of Dreamgirls.

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

2014 Shuler Hensley Awards nominees announced

(WXIA) -- The nominees for this year's Georgia High School Musical Theatre Awards, known casually as the Shuler Hensley Awards, were revealed Wednesday.

The awards program celebrates some of the best high school musical theater productions in the state. The award is named for metro Atlanta native Shuler Hensley, a seasoned Broadway performer who originated the role of the Monster in Young Frankenstein and won a Tony Award for playing Jud Fry in the revival of Oklahoma!

Sixty-one public and private high schools from 24 counties are vying for this year's awards. The winners will be announced on Thursday, Apr. 17 during an awards ceremony at the Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre. Tickets are $23 for the general public and can be purchased at shulerawards.org.

Some of this year's notable nominees include:

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

Kids encouraged to 'Plug into Nature'

(WXIA) -- The Georgia Department of Natural Resources has brought back its Give Wildlife a Chance Poster Contest for 2014.

This year's theme is Plug into Nature, emphasizing the importance of experiencing wildlife and plants firsthand.

All Georgia students in grades kindergarten through 5 are invited to enter the contest. The top 12 winners' posters will be displayed on the DNR's Flickr site and at the Go Fish Education Center in Perry during the first two weeks in May.

Contest entries are due Apr. 16. Three winners will be picked in four categories (kindergarten, grades 1-2, grades 3-4, grade 5).

Visit georgiawildlife.com for more information about the contest.

Doodle 4 Google contest accepting entries

Doodle 4 Google contest accepting entries

(WXIA) -- It's back! The wildly popular Doodle 4 Google contest, which gives children the opportunity to create a Google Doodle, is now accepting entries.

Students in grades K-12 can enter the competition by drawing the Google logo with the theme, "If I could invent one thing to make the world a better place ..."

"So many of the world's greatest inventions started out as simple doodles -- just think of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings of flying machines long before airplanes were made. We hope students will think big and surprise us with their creative ideas, just like they've done in years past!" Google said in a release.

Google will choose one finalist from each state. Last year's Georgia winner was Christine Jeong, a 5th grader at Wilson Creek Elementary School in Johns Creek. Meet Christine and see her winning doodle.

AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest open

AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest open

ATLANTA -- Calling all artists: the AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest is now accepting entries.

Designers have until Friday, Feb. 28 to submit their works of art. All entries will be whittled down to five finalists, which will be unveiled on ajc.com/peachtree on Saturday, Mar. 15.

No one will see the winning design until race day, when it will adorn tens of thousands of finishers' T-shirts.

"The AJC Peachtree Road Race T-shirt design contest is a great way to showcase the work of our local artists, and we are always impressed with the entries we receive," Atlanta Track Club interim executive director Sue Payne said in a statement.

Whoever wins the contest receives $1,000, while each of the four finalists gets $100.

Pat Conroy to visit UNG

Pat Conroy to visit UNG

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- Atlanta native and bestselling author Pat Conroy will participate in the University of North Georgia's tribute to writer Mary Hood next month.

Conroy, best known for writing The Prince of Tides, will give a reading in the Martha T. Nesbitt Academic Building on the school's Gainesville campus on Friday, Oct. 4 at 7 p.m.

Other participants include Hood and novelist Philip Lee Williams.

"As far as I know, Mary Hood has never written an uninteresting sentence in her life, and I've read and loved everything she's ever written. In the immaculate work of Hood, I've always found her choice of subjects both offbeat and surprising," Conroy said. "This conference in Mary Hood's honor will be a celebration of her splendid and ongoing career, and there is nowhere I would rather be than reveling with her throngs of admirers and literary disciples as we laud a most magnificent writer."

'Smoke on the Mountain' opens Aug. 8

'Smoke on the Mountain' opens Aug. 8

GAINESVILLE, Ga. -- The Georgia Mountain Players' production of Smoke on the Mountain begins its run in August.

Tickets are currently on sale for the popular musical, which opens Aug. 8 and runs every Thursday through Sunday until Aug. 25.

Visit georgiamountainplayers.org for more information on how to catch one of the theater company's final productions.