The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance, recognizing performers and more across the Greater New York area’s high schools, were presented May 19 at the Professional Performing Arts School (PPAS) in New York City.
Ekele Ukegbu won Best Actress for her performance as the title character in Aida at Elmont Memorial High School; Jeremy Fuentes won Best Actor for his turn as Calogero in A Bronx Tale at Archbishop Stepinac High School. The two, selected from a pool of 50 nominees, will go on to compete in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, also known as the Jimmy Awards. In addition, Savannah Lee Henry of PPAS was selected as Best Up and Coming Actress for her role as Caroline in Caroline or Change. Vincent Gerardi of Happauge High School was named Best Up and Coming Actor for his role of Orsino in Twelfth Night.
The Playbillder Award for Marketing was awarded to Mamaroneck High School. The honor had its inaugural bow last year. The Roger Rees Awards also introduced two more accolades for students; the Excellence in Student Journalism Award (sponsored by The Prom) was given to Allison Siegel from Lawrence Woodmere Academy, and Katherine Hui of Great Neck South High School was named winner of the Dear Evan Hansen-inspired “You Will Be Found” College Essay Writing Challenge.
Formerly known as The Gershwin Awards, the awards were renamed for late Tony-winning actor Roger Rees in 2016. Last year's winners included Andrew Barth Feldman, who currently stars in the title role of the Tony-winning musical Dear Evan Hansen. This year's awards activities included a moment for the student nominees to sit down and speak with Feldman about his experiences.
Flip through photos from the ceremony below: