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West Johnson High's THE WIZARD OF OZ Tops 2014 Triangle Rising Star Awards; DPAC Announces Winners!

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West Johnson High's THE WIZARD OF OZ Tops 2014 Triangle Rising Star Awards; DPAC Announces Winners!

Along with Theatre in the Park, Playmakers Repertory Company and ABC 11, DPAC hosted this year's Triangle Rising Star Awards onstage on Sunday evening, June 2. The Triangle Rising Star Awards (TRS) is a program that brings together area high school musical theater students to perform together and compete against one another for educational scholarships. Last year's winners, Sam Hamashima and Anna Higginson, presented the awards for Best Actress and Best Actor, while awards were also given for Best Ensemble and Best Musical.

WINNERS:

Best Actress: English Bernhardt (Ravenscroft School, Meet Me in St. Louis)
Best Actor: Matthew Washington (Athens Drive High School, Footloose)
Best Ensemble: Thoroughly Modern Millie - Enloe High School
Best Musical: The Wizard of Oz - West Johnston High School

"This has been the experience of a lifetime," gushes Best Actor winner, Matthew Washington. "I am humbled by this amazing privilege that God has given me to represent the Triangle, my school and my family in New York." Best Actress winner English Bernhardt went on to add, "It is thrilling to represent the Triangle in the city I have long aspired to be in....NYC! It has been my dream to perform on a Broadway stage and this incredible program is making that possible."

Honorable mentions were also given to schools that had standout productions in areas of scenic design, orchestra, costume design and choreography:

HONORABLE MENTIONS:

Scenic design:

Jake Kavanagh and Durham Academy: Urinetown

Chris Berner and Hillside High School: In the Heights

Durham School of the Arts: You're a Good Man Charlie Brown

Panther Creek High School: Seussical

Orchestra:

Sanderson High School: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

West Johnston High School: The Wizard of Oz

Athens Drive High School: Footloose

Costume design:

West Johnston High School: The Wizard of Oz

Choreography:

Panther Creek High School: Seussical Athens Drive High School: Footloose

Directed by David Henderson, over 500 patrons witnessed the 20 finalists open with "Razzle Dazzle" (Chicago). Diane Petteway, Music Director and Arranger, led a full band to accompany the student performances. In a Broadway medley, each student had their own chance to shine in solo performances from their individual characters - including the full ensemble joining West Johnston High School's Tyler Crocker in "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" (The Wizard of Oz). After awards were presented, the entire cast of finalists closed out the evening with a tear-jerking rendition of "Seasons of Love" (Rent).

The Triangle Rising Star Awards is a member of The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) on June 30, a national program that unites high school musical theater awards programs from across the country under one roof. The two student winners are provided with $1,000 academic scholarships along with an invitation to represent TRS in an all-expense paid trip to the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City for one week, June 25 - July 1, 2013. The students will train with real Broadway actors, directors and producers. Their week of coaching, auditions and rehearsals will conclude with each student's life-long dream at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. At which, a panel of judges will choose two students for the coveted JimmyTM Awards for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress.

The Best Actor and Best Actress were awarded on Monday night after the audition process began this past fall. Representatives from DPAC, Theatre in the Park, Playmakers Repertory Company, Durham Arts Council and ABC 11 attended high school musicals from area counties, including: Chatham, Durham, Johnston, Orange and Wake Counties. Over 50 applicants auditioned for the program, which was narrowed down to 20 finalists, including 10 women and 10 men.

For more information about the Triangle Rising Star Program, visit: http://www.dpacnc.com/trs. For more information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards/ JimmyTM Awards, visit: http://nhsmta.com

About DPAC: Since its opening in 2008, DPAC, Durham Performing Arts Center, has become the center for live entertainment in the Triangle. Recognized for its contemporary design, DPAC features 2,700 seats, intimate sightlines and state-of-the art sound and video. Listed four times in the top 10 in Pollstar magazine's annual worldwide theater attendance rankings, DPAC is currently the #4 ranked theater in the U.S.

What is up next at DPAC? The ultimate summer music experience with RINGO STARR & HIS ALL STARR BAND (June 22), MOVE Live on Tour Starring Julianne and Derek Hough (June 29) and American Idol Live! with this year's Top Ten Finalists (July 13).

For more information, go to www.DPACnc.com.

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