Roger Rees Awards Issues Statement in Support of Black Lives Matter
Tonight, Monday, June 1 at 7:30PM, the Broadway Education Alliance ("BEA") will present the 10th annual Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance, a celebration of high school musical programs, at RogerReesAwards.com. In advance of tonight's event, the organization provides the following statement:
"The Roger Rees Awards is a celebration of self-discovery, high hopes, and big dreams. It's also a recognition of the hard work and commitment that hundreds of students, educators, and their communities put into achieving a common goal-presenting their high school musical. But art is more than a presentation. It is a lesson in empathy.
The Roger Rees Awards is dedicated to honoring every voice, especially those who feel voiceless, allowing students to express themselves and celebrating that expression. We stand with the Black community. We stand with our Black students past, present, and future. We stand with our Black educators. We stand with their families. Black Lives Matter.
With lives up-ended and our cities are in strife, our presentation is an opportunity to applaud the harmony and fellowship that high school theatre students throughout the Greater New York area have created to end their academic year on a high note, put joy in the world, and create a vision for a world of equality."
The event features New York area high school students in multiple musical numbers, including an opening anthem "As Long as There Is Love" from the highly anticipated Broadway musical Mrs. Doubtfire, and a special closing finale performance of "You'll Never Walk Alone" featuring Tony Award winner Jessie Mueller. Roger Rees Award finalists will also be showcased throughout the event, and the Best Actor and Best Actress honorees will be announced, alongside special appearances by Tony Award nominees Eva Noblezada and Rob McClure; Tony Award winners Christian Borle, Celia Keenan-Bolger, Kristin Chenoweth, Benj Pasek & Justin Paul; and more. To mark the 10th anniversary of this educational program, there will be a special performance of ALL 18 previous Roger Rees Award-winners (formerly called the Gershwin Awards) - including three National High School Musical Theatre Award® (aka Jimmy Awards®) winners, Ekele Ukegbu (2019 Best Actress), Andrew Barth Feldman (2018 Best Actor) and Marla Louissaint (2015 Best Actress).
This online talent showcase is produced by Cody Williams (Ordinary Sunday LLC), from the Emmy® Award-winning show On Stage, and hosted by NY1's Emmy® Award-winning reporter Frank DiLella and 2018 Roger Rees and Jimmy Award®-winning Best Actor Andrew Barth Feldman (who made his Broadway debut as Evan in Dear Evan Hanson in 2019). Broadway On Demand, the new global theatrical streaming platform, will present the Roger Rees Awards Live pre-show hosted by Ruthie Fierberg tonight, Monday, June 1 at 7:00 pm.
In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, BEA's management team at Camp Broadway LLC worked collaboratively with participating school administrators to adapt the adjudication process for selecting the student nominees for Best Actor and Best Actress. Schools that had planned to produce an officially licensed production of a Broadway musical during the 2019-2020 academic year nominated two performers to represent their musical. Through a video audition process, professional Broadway coaches and music directors selected the top fifty (50) students (25 men and 25 women) to move forward in the competition.
A panel of Broadway professionals including Bonita Hamilton (star of Disney's The Lion King), Hal Luftig (Tony Award®-winning producer), Rob McClure (star of Mrs. Doubtfire), Patricia Hoag Simon (Marymount Manhattan College), and Merri Sugarman (Tara Rubin Casting) will choose the Best Actor and Best Actress high school performer in the Greater New York region during the show.
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. 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." For more information about the program, visit www.rogerreesawards.com.
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