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Los Angeles Times Article: Documentary Highlights


Movies have Oscar, Broadway has Tony and high-school-musical students -- some of them, anyway -- have Freddy. The Freddy Awards, which recognize excellence in high school musicals in eastern Pennsylvania and western New Jersey, are the focus of the documentary “Most Valuable Players.”

The Freddys, dubbed "the Super Bowl of Performing Arts" by locals, are named after  J. "Fred" Osterstock,  who managed the company that owned the State Theatre in Easton, Pa., from 1936 until his death in 1957. Many folks there believe his ghost still roams the theater halls. 

Filmmakers Matthew D. Kallis and Christopher Lockhart seized the chance to showcase the importance of arts education by filming the drama that kids go through to be judged the best in musical theater. Categories include best actor and actress as well as best orchestra, best chorus, best set and best costumes. The winners receive scholarship money.

"There are a lot of people that try to talk about the importance of arts education," said director and producer Kallis, "but when people see this, they experience what the kids experience. Its visceral and emotional."

"Most Valuable Players" is like a reality-show mash-up of "Glee" and "High School Musical." "It’s a piece of Americana,” said writer and producer Lockhart. He and Kallis are trying to lock up a distribution deal for the film.

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