Hillside High School drama teacher Wendell Tabb recently received an honorable mention for Excellence in Theatre Education from the Tony Awards and Carnegie Mellon University.
Tabb was one of 20 theater educators from across the the country to receive an honorable mention for the award, which recognizes a K-12 theater educator in the U.S. who has demonstrated monumental impact on the lives of students and who embodies the highest standards of the profession.
“Anytime you’re recognized by your peers, and particularly by a group associated with the prestigious Tony Awards, it’s a great honor and means the world to me,” Tabb said in an interview Monday, July 12. “I’ve always dreamed of winning a Tony as an actor but this honorable mention by the Tony Awards in the field of education is just as sweet.”
Hillside Principal William Logan said Tabb is deserving of the recognition from the Tony Awards and more.
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“He has worked diligently to create an exemplary theater program at Hillside High School, garnering participation of students across Durham Public Schools,” Logan said. “It never ceases to amaze me when I travel across the state and country that people are familiar with Hillside's theater program because of how much of himself he has poured into it.”
The winner and honorable mentions are chosen by a panel of judges comprised of the American Theatre Wing, The Broadway League, Carnegie Mellon University and other leaders from the theater industry.
Under Tabb’s leadership since 1987, the Hillside Drama Department has won more than 100 awards, certificates and citations.
The honors include six Best Play Awards from the North Carolina Theatre Conference, numerous awards for Best Ensemble Acting, Best Costumes, Music and Choreography.
Tabb also has been honored on numerous occasions for his craft and service to the community.
He has received the North Carolina Regional Theatre Conference Excellence in Directing Award eight consecutive years and he is a past recipient of the C.C. Lipscomb State Best Director Award.
Tabb has also received numerous educational and civic awards.
Another accomplishment of the Drama Department under Tabb has been the creation the Hillside International Professional-Student Theatre Exchange Program, which allows Hillside Drama students to perform for other drama students throughout the nation and around the world.
Hillside’s Drama Department has performed on six of the seven continents.
This year’s winner of the Excellence in Theatre Education award from the Tony Awards was Rachel Harry of Hood River, Oregon.
Harry, the third recipient of the award, received $10,000 for her theater program, round-trip airfare and hotel accommodations for her and a guest to New York City and tickets to the 71st Annual Tony Awards and Gala held, Sunday, June 11, at Radio City Music Hall in New York City.