Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition Awards $100,000 to Finalists

Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition Awards $100,000 to Finalists

An evening of drama, comedy, song and dance featuring 25 talented high school seniors giving their all in the sixth annual Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition and ended with Joshua Riding of Johnson High School in San Antonio taking home the top prize of a $15,000 scholarship. Riding was recognized in the "Acting Solo" category, while his fellow competitors claimed an additional $85,000 in scholarship funds and two trips to the prestigious Jimmy Awards in the unique scholarship program that provides financial assistance to college-bound high school seniors based on their interests and abilities in the performing arts. This year's $100,000 in scholarship funds was the highest total amount of scholarships awarded by Las Casas Foundation since the program's inception and marked the centennial of the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre, the home of the scholarship competition.

The Las Casas Foundation competition highlights talented teens dreaming of honing their craft in college and shooting for future stardom. The competition was held last night before a sold-out audience at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre. The competition featured four performing arts categories judged independently of each other: Vocal Solo, Acting Solo, Acting Duet and Dance Solo, as well as a new category, The Jimmy, where the finalists competes to win one of two trips to the National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA), a national celebration of outstanding student achievement recognizing individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance.

"Each year, we think there's no way that our finalists could possibly shine more, but once again, these talented students raised the bar. The future is full of possibility for them and we're excited to see how their careers in the performing arts take shape. We're proud to nurture their dreams and hope to see them on stage again in San Antonio or in theaters around the world," said Kaye Lenox, CEO of Las Casas Foundation.

The finalists performed before a star-studded panel of professionals representing a variety of performing arts disciplines. The 2014 Las Casas Performing Arts Scholarship Competition judges panel included: award-winning and Tony Award nominated Broadway, film and television actress Jonelle Allen; award-winning Broadway actress, film actress, and solo recording artist Alix Korey, who also co-founded Broadway Cares Equity Fights Aids (BCEFA); award-winning dancer, choreographer, Broadway actor and professor Robin Lewis; award-winning veteran Broadway, television, film and cabaret actor Sal Mistretta; and award-winning Broadway actress Gwen Stewart.

More than 100 students from 44 different schools entered this year's competition, representing schools in San Antonio, Boerne, Seguin, Fair Oaks Ranch, Converse, Helotes, Fisher, La Vernia, Austin, San Marcos, Schertz, Victoria, Corpus Christi, Castroville and New Braunfels, as well as teens who are home-schooled. Preliminary auditions were held at the Charline McCombs Empire Theatre in April, narrowing the field to 25.

All competition finalists received scholarship funds and two students received $1,500 scholarships based on the essays they submitted with their competition applications. Two students were also selected to participate in NHSMTA through The Jimmy category.

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