Interview: Alex Fluker & Conor Kruger of the 2024 DPAC Rising Star Awards

Get to know Alex & Conor through this interview.

By: May. 20, 2024
Interview: Alex Fluker & Conor Kruger of the 2024 DPAC Rising Star Awards
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Earlier this month, the 2024 DPAC Rising Star Awards took place at the Durham Performing Arts Center. This regional competition brings together high school musical theater students from Central and Eastern North Carolina to perform and compete for the chance to represent the Triangle in The National High School Musical Theater (otherwise known as The Jimmy) Awards in New York City on June 24th. The national competition celebrates outstanding student performances in high school musical productions from all over the United States. Shortly after the DPAC Rising Star Awards, I had the great pleasure of going backstage to interview both of this year's winners, Alex Fluker of Panther Creek High School and Conor Kruger of Enloe High School. The two of them discuss their experiences with this year's competition, their excitement for the Jimmy Awards, and more.

To start things off, congratulations on your victories?
Both: Thank you so much!

Going back to the beginning, how did each of you get involved with this year's DPAC Rising Star Awards?
AF: So I got into this because last year I went to go see it. I saw the entire awards presentation and was like, “this is great.” Then, this year, I was in INTO THE WOODS as The Witch. The judges came to my school to see a performance, not a full performance, just a dress rehearsal. But they came to see it. Then I got nominated as one of the top 10 Best Actresses. 

CK: Similarly, I got cast in LES MIZ as Jean Valjean, and they kind of take it away from there. If you get nominated by your school, then the judges will come and watch the production and that's basically it.

As the lists of finalists in both categories were read out loud one last time before announcing the winners, what was going through your minds?
AF: Well, my heart was racing. It was going so fast. I actually remember as we were walking from the wing onto the stage, I could hear my heart and it was like a type of nervousness I had never felt before. I was nervous, but it was exciting. It was like gratitude because I knew that whoever won Best Actress, I would be just as smiley and just as happy as I am right now.

CK: There was a split second when Noah Colvin, the little prankster that he is, was like, “and the Best Actor is, can we get a drum roll?,” and in that split second, my brain was like, “no matter who it is, I love all these people and I'm glad we got to do this.” So that's kind of what I was feeling. 

How excited are the two of you to be going to New York next month to compete at the Jimmy Awards?
AF: I think Connor definitely shares this feeling, but I am so excited. I am beyond what the word excited, like the definition if you Google it, I'm beyond that. I’m over the moon.

CK: There are no words. The only way to describe it is a guttural scream.

Conor, I believe you’re now the third Enloe High School alum in a row to win DPAC Rising Star Awards following Symoné Spencer and Noah Colvin.
CK: It's very humbling and very honoring. I think it's a testament to our director for really training us to be very well-rounded people and artists.

Moving forward, is musical theater something each of you would like to pursue as a career?
AF: I really enjoy musical theater and I will definitely continue training and I would love to do stuff with musical theater. I'm also going into marketing, which is another thing that I really enjoy, but who says you can't have both? So I plan to have both in my life, for sure.

CK: So I'm planning to go into a film acting path. I'm going to USC in L.A. to study acting. So whatever happens, happens. But similarly, I have a lot of widespread interests. So I won't keep myself in a box.

I thank each of you very much for devoting your time to this interview. It was great getting to talk to both of you.
Both: Thanks so much!

I hope the two of you break a leg at the Jimmy Awards. Win or lose, I’m sure both of you will have a great time.
Both: Yes, for sure.

The 2024 Jimmy Awards will be taking place and available to watch online on June 24th. For more information, please click here.


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