Broadway/San Diego to Launch New High School Competition, 'The Ben Vereen Awards', June 2014

Broadway/San Diego has announced that it is launching a new local high school competition, The Ben Vereen Awards, 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 Theater Awards in New York in June 2014.

The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA), also known as The Jimmy 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 Jimmy 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.

In announcing the local and regional competition, Nederlander San Diego Vice President Joe Kobryner commented 'We are pleased to add this educational component to our mission, and assisting in finding two talented high school students to live their dream of performing on a Broadway stage. We couldn't have initiated this program without the ongoing support of title sponsor San Diego County Credit Union," he added.

"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."

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 Male and Female Leading Performers will be flown to New York for a week of intensive training before they compete in the national finals, The Jimmy Awards, on a Broadway stage for a $10,000 scholarship on Monday, June 30, 2014.

"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", remarks Ben Vereen. "Arts in Education is so vital to the fabric of our society, and it is one of my main passions. I'm hoping that the national high school champions will come from MY region, and look forward to supporting their journey."

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

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: 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 www.nhsmta.com.




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