Nominees have been announced for the 2019 Roger Rees Awards, recognizing excellence in high school theatre in the greater New York area. Jimmy Award winner Marla Loussaint and NY1’s Frank DiLella will host this year’s awards ceremony, which will take place May 19 at the Professional Performing Arts School.
The 50 nominees (plus two alternates), who will compete for the title of Best Actor and Best Actress, hail from 40 high schools across the region, including Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island, Long Island, and Orange, Rockland, and Westchester Counties.
The annual event includes an opening and closing number showcasing all 50 nominees, as well as solos from each of the 12 finalists. This year, students from the Professional Performing Arts School will also perform a selection from their production of Caroline, or Change.
Student nominees participate in a pre-award intensive, which includes coachings and master classes with Broadway professionals who select the 12 finalists. They include Andy Einhorn (Carousel, Hello Dolly!), Isaac Harlan (Broadway Inspirational Voices), David Libby (Chasing Rainbows: The Road to Oz), Christine Riley (Marymount Manhattan College), Tina Maria Casamento (Actress/Faculty Rider University Musical Theatre and Acting), Michelle Millard (CW Post/Long Island University), Sean McKnight (The Hybrid Agency), and Cynthia Thole (Fairleigh Dickinson University).
This year’s judges include Jelani Alladin (Frozen), producer and general manager Nancy Nagel Gibbs (Wicked, Fun Home), Tony Award winner Bob Martin (The Prom, The Drowsy Chaperone), Patricia Simon (Marymount Manhattan College), and casting director Merri Sugarman (Tara Rubin Casting C.S.A.) Kyra Selman, Musical Theatre Faculty at the Studio School in Los Angeles, will award a scholarship to the school’s pre-college summer program to one participating student.
Formerly known as The Gershwin Awards, the awards were renamed for late Tony-winning actor Roger Rees in 2016.