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NYC High Schoolers Get Acknowledged as Roger Rees Awards Announces 2017-18 Nominees!

The Broadway Education Alliance just announced nominees for the Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance, taking place Saturday, May 19 at Pearl Studios in Manhattan. This program is open to high schools located in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, Orange and Rockland Counties, and Westchester. To be eligible, high schools must present an officially licensed production of a Broadway musical during the 2017- 2018 academic year. The Roger Rees Awards has accepted 29 schools, whose students will compete for the title of Best Actor and Best Actress. Winners of the Roger Rees Award will represent the Greater New York region at The Broadway League Foundation's Jimmy® Awards (also known as the National High School Musical Theatre Awards) in June.

Based on the qualifying roles in the shows being produced by the 29 schools, 121 students are currently being adjudicated by teams of professional industry performers and/or educators who are attending each of these high school productions. The top 50 students (25 men and 25 women) who receive the highest scores will be chosen to participate in a day-long performance training and talent showcase that will be held on Saturday, May 19 at Pearl Studios.

The industry professionals who will serve as acting coaches include Lanene Charters (Mamma Mia!), Robin Lewis (Beauty and the Beast/Rider University), Sean Michael McKnight (Curtains/Pace University), and Cindy Thole (Me and My Girl/Fairleigh Dickenson University and Montclair State University). The music directors include Matt Cataldi (NYU Tisch Center for New Musicals), Nissa Kahle (The Great Comet of 1812), Stephen Purdy (The 25th Annual Putnam Country Spelling Bee/Marymount Manhattan College), and Christine Riley (A Moment in Time/Marymount Manhattan College).


2017-2018 Roger Rees Awards Best Actress Nominees:

Cameron Barr-Kotzen, Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School (Maria, The Sound of Music)
Megan Campbell, Archbishop Stepinac High School (Mother, Ragtime)
Alyssa Cassese, H. Frank Carey High School (Millie Dillmount, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Sophia Condon, New Dorp High School (Maureen, Rent)
Danielle Del Orfano, West Babylon Senior High School (Rosa Bud, The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Giuliana Gabellini, Poly Prep Country Day School (The Baker's Wife, Into the Woods)
Mackenzie Grimes, West Babylon Senior High School (Princess Puffer, The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Erin Horan, Holy Trinity Diocesan High School (Catherine, Pippin)
Olivia Knutsen, Poly Prep Country Day School (Cinderella, Into the Woods)
Daisy Korman, Great Neck North High School (Christine Daae, The Phantom of the Opera)
Dalia Kropf, Walter Panas High School (Helen Sinclair, Bullets Over Broadway)
Julia Lo Cascio, St. Joseph Hill Academy (Mother Abbess, The Sound of Music)
Alyssa McDonald, Nyack High School (Doria, Smile)
Sonya McGaffey, Pleasantville High School (Mother Abbess, The Sound of Music)
Kaitlin Meyers, North Babylon High School (Annie, Annie)
Michaela Reinertsen, James I. O'Neill High School (Elle Woods, Legally Blonde)
Amanda Riché, West Babylon Senior High School (Edwin Drood, The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Kristina Rossi, H. Frank Carey High School (Mrs. Meers, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Bridget Russell, Floral Park Memorial High School (Sandy Dumbrowski, Grease)
Ashley Schlusselberg, Great Neck North High School (Carlotta, The Phantom of the Opera)
Margaret Solimine, Pelham Memorial High School (Irene Molloy, Hello, Dolly!)
Bea Angela Tolentino, Townsend Harris High School (Nina, In the Heights)
Lindsay Whiteman, Wantagh High School (Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes)
Olivia Whitmer, Poly Prep Country Day School (The Witch, Into the Woods)
Athena Woodfin, Pelham Memorial High School (Dolly Levi, Hello, Dolly!)

Alternates:

Josephine Kurdziel, H. Frank Carey High School (Muzzy Van Hossmere, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Lyndsey Minerva, Pleasantville High School (Maria, The Sound of Music)

2017-2018 Roger Rees Awards Best Actor Nominees:

John Bentley, Pleasantville High School (Captain Von Trapp, The Sound of Music)
Carl Capizzi, Plainedge High School (Motel, Fiddler on the Roof)
Joseph Castro, Holy Trinity Diocesan High School (Leading Player, Pippin)
Kyle Colasurdo, H. Frank Carey High School (Trevor Graydon, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Reece DeGraff, Bay Shore High School (Che Guevara, Evita)
Billy DeVito, Wantagh High School (Sir Evelyn Oakleigh, Anything Goes)
Francesco DiFlora, Hauppauge High School (J. Pierpont Finch, How to Succeed...)
Andrew Feldman, Lawrence Woodmere Academy (Frank Jr., Catch Me If You Can)
Joshua Goldin-McCarthy, Rye Neck High School (Joe Boyd/Joe Hardy, Damn Yankees)
David Grant, West Babylon Senior High School (Chairman, The Mystery of Edwin Drood)
Matthew Harmon, Walter Panas High School (Cheech, Bullets Over Broadway)
James Hatter, South Side High School (Frederick Barrett, Titanic, the Musical)
Jordan Hill, Archbishop Stepinac High School (Coalhouse, Ragtime)
Paul Hogan, Holy Trinity Diocesan High School (Pippin, Pippin)
Matthew Kenna, Floral Park Memorial High School (Kenickie, Grease)
Dinghuan Li, Great Neck North High School (The Phantom, The Phantom of the Opera)
Christopher Manirampa, New Dorp High School (Angel, Rent)
Daniel Mejil, Talent Unlimited High School (Jimmy Smith, Thoroughly Modern Millie)
Drew Minard, Professional Performing Arts School (Riff, West Side Story)
Samuel Murdock, Bay Shore High School (Juan Peron, Evita)
Anthony Oliva, New Dorp High School (Roger, Rent)
Tyler Palma, Floral Park Memorial High School (Danny Zuko, Grease)
Sam Rodd, Pelham Memorial High School (Cornelius Hackl, Hello, Dolly!)
Spencer Senzon, Oceanside High School (Duke Mahoney, Nice Work if You Can Get It)
Carlo Tobia, Wantagh High School (Moonface Martin, Anything Goes)

Alternates:

Matthew Adarichev, South Side High School (Murdoch, Titanic, the Musical)
Bennett Taylor, Rye Neck High School (Mr. Applegate, Damn Yankees)


The Roger Rees Awards recognize the importance of theatre arts education, and celebrate the exceptional life and career-long artistic excellence of Broadway's beloved actor/director, Roger Rees. Rees received the 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. Throughout his life, he was a committed educator and generous mentor to young artists. From his earliest days as a young actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company when he traveled to schools in the Cotswolds of England, to the master-craftsman courses at Columbia University (adjunct professor), Williams College (Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts, 2006) and Florida State University (Hoffman Chair); from community outreach he began as Artistic Director of the Bristol Old Vic to the Leap-Frog internships he pioneered as Artistic Director of Williamstown Theater Festival, Roger spent countless hours in rehearsals and classrooms coaching aspiring writers, actors and directors on character development, craft, collaboration and the vast cannon of theatrical works to be explored.

Playwright Rick Elice, Rees' partner of over 30 years, and author of "Finding Roger," said, "Rog would have liked this chance to educate and inspire young actors, to offer a guiding hand as so many were offered to him when he too was a kid with a dream." Rees 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 Broadway Education Alliance is the fiscal sponsor for The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance which are supported by Disney Theatricals, Camp Broadway LLC, Nancy Nagel Gibbs and many other industry leaders working in/around Broadway.

For more information about the program, visit www.rogerreesawards.com.

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