2016 Roger Rees Awards Honor New York Students; Winners Announced!

2016 Roger Rees Awards Honor New York Students; Winners Announced!The Broadway Education Alliance Inc. presented The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance (formerly the Gershwin Awards) on Sunday, May 22 at The Beacon School in Manhattan. The two-hour showcase hosted by Tim Federle (co-writer of Tuck Everlasting) featured 35 students who had played leading roles at 26 high school located throughout the five boroughs of New York, Long Island and Westchester.

A panel of judges that included Tony Award-winning composer Jason Robert Brown, Tony Award-nominated actor Rob McClure and Ruthlyn Salomons, dance supervisor for The Lion King, selected two students who will represent the Greater New York Metro-area at the 8th annual National High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Minskoff Theatre on June 27. The NHSMTA is produced by The Broadway League Foundation and is a national celebration of theatre arts education presented on behalf of a 31-member coalition of performing arts centers operating across America. For more information, visit www.NHSMTA.com.

Broadway legend, Chita Rivera congratulated the students and announced the 2015-2016 award winners:

· Sarafina Morency won Best Actress for the role of Deloris Van Cartier in Sister Act produced by Archbishop Stepinac High School of Westchester County

· Alexander Pacella won Best Actor for the role of The Baker in Into The Woods produced by the Bay Shore Senior High School in Long Island

The judges also recognized two students who demonstrated exceptional promise:

· Sophia Condon was selected as Best Up and Coming Actress for her role of Audrey in Little Shop of Horrors produced by New Dorp High School from Staten Island

· Justin Sturgis was named Best Up and Coming Actor for his role of Jack in Into The Woods produced by Rye Neck High School from Westchester County

Representing Long Island University/C.W. Post, Roger Rees Awards Adjudicator Michelle Mallardi, Broadway actress and voice faculty member at LIU announced the winner of a full scholarship to Long Island University's Summer Musical Theater Intensive

· Kristen Haynes from Poly Prep County Day School for her role of Vanessa in In The Heights.

Co-founders of the American Musical Theatre Academy and British American Stage and Screen, Christie Miller (executive director) and Kenneth Avery-Clark (actor/director/educator), conferred two full scholarships to AMTA for students to train in New York City and London at their September 2016-17 musical theatre 1-year preparatory program.

· Templar Wright for the role of Éponine in Syosset High School's production of LES MISERABLES

· Alexander Pacella for the role of The Baker in Into The Woods produced by the Bay Shore Senior High School in Long Island (also the Roger Rees winner for Best Actor)

For a complete list of students nominated for the title of Best Actor and Best Actress by their schools, click here.

The Roger Rees Awards showcase was directed by Shannon Lewis and included an ensemble performance by the student cast of The Beacon School's production of Lysistrata Jones, and a guest appearance by Beacon School graduate, Marla Louissaint, the 2015 New York City Best Actress winner who went on to win the National High School Musical Theatre Awards' Best Actress title.

The Roger Rees Award for Excellence in Student Performance celebrates the exceptional life and career-long artistic excellence of Broadway's beloved actor, Roger Rees. Roger received Olivier and Tony Awards for his performance in The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby, and Tony nominations for Indiscretions and as co-director of Peter and the Starcatcher. He passed away in July 2015 after a year-long battle with brain cancer. He was posthumously inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in November 2015.

The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance is produced by the Broadway Education Alliance with generous support by Disney Theatrical Group, Camp Broadway, LLC, Dodger Properties, The Business and Labor Coalition of New York (BALCONY), and many corporate and individual donors.

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