Ben Vereen to Co-Host 2014 Southwest Region Ben Vereen Awards, Today

Ben Vereen to Co-Host 2014 Southwest Region Ben Vereen Awards, Today

Broadway/San Diego has just announced that Ben Vereen will co-host the Southwest Region Ben Vereen Awards on June 14th as well as teach a special master class to the student finalists. The Ben Vereen Awards, is a local high school competition sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union in which two talented students from the Southwest region (which includes San Diego and Tucson high schools) will be crowned Best Actor and Best Actress and go on to compete at The National High School Musical Theatre Awards in New York this June.

Upon confirming his involvement, Vereen said, "I was so pleased to be asked by the Nederlander Organization to lend my name to support the Southwest Region of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. Arts in Education is so vital to the fabric of our society, and it is one of my main passions."

The regional student finalists in the competition will have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from Ben Vereen as he teaches a performance master class. "I'm hoping that the national high school champions will come from MY region, and look forward to supporting their journey," said Vereen.

Vereen will also co-host a pre-show VIP meet-n-greet prior to the June 14th competition.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA), also known as The JimmyTM Awards, named for Chairman of the Nederlander Producing Company of America and Broadway/San Diego, James M. Nederlander, is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater that recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance, and honors teachers and their schools' commitment to performing arts education. The JimmyTM Awards inspired a PBS 3-part documentary series called "Broadway or Bust," which followed students on a journey from their hometown competitions to their debut on Broadway.

"As a dedicated community partner, San Diego County Credit Union is proud to sponsor the Ben Vereen Awards," says Teresa Halleck, president and CEO of SDCCU. "This is one of many ways our organization supports education and our talented youth in San Diego. We look forward to seeing an outstanding representation of our hometown on the Broadway stage in New York."

14 local high schools are currently participating and adjudicators will be attending their spring musicals. Here is the list of schools:

Poway High School

Little Women

8. Mt. Carmel High School

Legally Blonde

2. San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts

Hot Mikado

9. Coronado High School

Legally Blonde

3. Canyon Crest Academy

Les Miserables: School Edition

10. Francis Parker High School

The Last Five Years

4. El Camino High School

The Producers

11. Carlsbad High School

How to Succeed in Business

5. La Costa Canyon High School

Once Upon a Mattress

12. Classical Academy High School

Les Miserables: School Edition

6. West Hills High School

Bye Bye Birdie

13. El Capitan High School

The Wizard of Oz

7. Cathedral Catholic High School

Crazy for You

14. O'Farrell High School

Little Shop of Horrors

The San Diego high school competition of The Ben Vereen Awards® will be held at the Spreckels Theatre in Downtown San Diego on Saturday, June 7, 2014. It will include up to ten leading female and male semi- finalists, along with awarding Best Musical, Best Drama Teacher and 'People's Choice' whereby a winner will be chosen by those in attendance. Following the local competition, semi-finalists from San Diego and Tucson will compete in the Southwest Region Finals at the Spreckels Theatre on Saturday, June 14, 2014.

The winning Best Actor and Best Actress performers will be flown to New York for a week of intensive training before they compete in the national finals, The JimmyTM Awards, on a Broadway stage for a $10,000 scholarship on Monday, June 30, 2014.

Tickets for both competitions go ON SALE Friday, March 21st at the Spreckels Theatre Box Office, Ticketmaster, and online at www.BroadwaySD.com or www.benvereenawards.com.

Broadway/San Diego is still accepting local high schools to participate in the San Diego competition. For more information and to find out how your school can participate, go to www.benvereenawards.com.

MORE ABOUT THE KEY PLAYERS:

About Ben Vereen - Few entertainers today are as accomplished or versatile as Ben Vereen. His legendary performances transcend time and have been woven into the fabric of this country's artistic legacy. His first love and passion is and always will be the stage. "The theater was my first training ground. It taught me discipline, dedication and appreciation of hard work and values that will stay with me a lifetime. The stage sharpens the creative instrument and encourages you to go deeper inside and try new things," states Ben. Find more info at: http://www.benvereen.net/

About The National High School Musical Theater Awards - The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) is a national celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater that recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance, and honors teachers and their schools' commitment to performing arts education. NHSMTA focuses much needed attention on the meaningful work being done by dedicated teachers and real kids with wide ranging talents on and off the stage; engages families in the activities of their children; ignites new partnerships between theaters and the schools in their area, and contributes to the development of future audiences for live performing arts in communities across America. More information can be found at http://www.nhsmta.com/

About SDCCU - San Diego County Credit Union is San Diego's largest locally-owned financial institution serving San Diego, Riverside and Orange counties. SDCCU has assets of $6.4 billion, more than 257,000 customers, more than 30 convenient branch locations and 30,000 surcharge-FREE ATMs. From FREE Checking with eStatements and SDCCU Mobile Deposit, to home and auto loans, Visa® credit cards, money market accounts and business banking services, including commercial real estate loans. SDCCU provides breakthrough banking products that meet the demands of today's lifestyle and delivers banking services that save customers money. Federally insured by NCUA and is an equal housing lender. For more information, visit www.sdccu.com.

About Broadway/San Diego - Broadway/San Diego - A Nederlander Presentation is part of the nationally recognized Nederlander Producing Company of America - one of the country's largest and most experienced operators of live theater. Broadway/San Diego is in its 37th season of bringing the best of Broadway and beyond to Southern California audiences.

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