Co-Grand Prize Winners Named at McCallum Theatre's OPEN CALL

April 26
4:47 PM 2013


Saxophonist Emma Reinhart and Vocalist April Murphy shared the Helen Turner Grand Prize Award at the McCallum Theatre's Annual Open Call Talent Competition on Saturday night, the first time in the event's fifteen year history the judges declared a tie for the top prize. The winners were announced by host (and Open Call 2011 Grand Prize winner) Rob Watkins following a rousing finale which featured all twenty-two finalist acts (76 individual performers) before a sold-out audience. The family of award namesake Helen Turner determined on the spot that each winner would receive the $2,500 grand prize.

Second place honors and a $750 prize were awarded to rock vocal group Whitewater, performing their own self-arranged mash up of Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and Survivor's "Eye of the Tiger."

Both co-winners are Open Call veterans. Murphy, who delivered a beautiful performance of "Someone Like You" from Jekyll and Hyde, was a finalist in 2010. Reinhart, a five-time Open Callparticipant, also took home the Audience Favorite Award for her rendition of "Carnival of Venice." Reflecting on her experiences, Reinhart said "Open Call has changed my life and shaped me as a musician and as a person. I'm so glad to have been a part of it these past five years."

Four additional artists were each recognized with the Arline and Seymour Kreshek Talent Achievement Award and a $500 prize: Vocalist Joana Ciurash who sang Puccini's O Mio Babbino Caro; Dancer Christopher Hoggatt, who performed his own choreography to Trey Songz'sFumble; 8 year-old organist Alexia Ceja won the Instrumental Achievement Award for her performance of Vivaldi's Winter; and baton twirler Jessica Jordan was awarded the Specialty prize for her performance to Mambo Italiano.

McCallum Theatre Institute Director Education Kajsa Thuresson-Frary is the Producer and Artistic Director of Open Call. The performance was directed and choreographed by Jennifer Backhaus,with Musical Direction by Paul Cracchiolo. Other members of the creative team included: Joanna Fookes, Production/Stage Manager; Keith Smith, Lighting Design; James P. Funk, Scenic Design;James D. Anderson, Sound Design; Lynda Shaeps, Make-up and Hair Design; and Valentina Lamdin, Costume Design. Open Call 2013 judges were choreographer Jamie Nichols; television producer and director Marty Pasetta; talent producer Carole Propp; producer Terry Hill; and the four thousand audience members who attended the performances.

Open Call is produced by the McCallum Theatre Institute, the Theatre's education division. In addition to being a major fundraiser for the Theatre, the competition provides opportunities for local artists to participate in an intense six-day rehearsal process with a professional director, musical director, choreographer, lighting, set and costume designer, and other Theatre artistic and operations staff. Since 1999, 848 finalists have been awarded over $70,000 in prize money and stipends.

For more information on Open Call, McCallum Theatre Institute or the upcoming 2013-2014 performance season, visit

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David Green David Green is the Executive Director of The American Foundation For Arts Education, founded by Carol Channing and her late husband, Harry Kullijian -- working to restore the Arts to our nation’s public schools and provide an arts education to every child in America. He is the founder and President of the nationally acclaimed "Musical Theatre University", a training ground for talented young people with aspirations for careers in theatre, most specifically musical theatre. Mr. Green's Broadway alumni include Tony -nominees Matthew Morrison and Stephanie Block, Drama Desk nominee Lindsay Mendez, Krysta Rodriguez, Scott Barnhardt and Anneliese VanDerPol to name a few. As a producer and director, he has staged over 150 theatrical productions for both educational and professional theatre and with such stars as Carol Channing, Cathy Rigby, JoAnne Worley, Rex Smith, Jonelle Allen, Eric Kunze, Davis Gaines, Stephanie Zimbalist, John Raitt, Betty Garrett and more. Mr. Green is the Regional Editor and Reviewer for the Inland Empire of Southern California.

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