Nominees Announced for the 2017 Ben Vereen Awards


Broadway/San Diego is excited to announce the 10 Best Actress and 10 Best Actor nominees for the 2017 Ben Vereen Awards®, of which two will be selected on May 28th to compete at The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (The JimmyTM Awards) in New York this June. The San Diego Ben Vereen Awards® is sponsored by San Diego County Credit Union® and this, its fourth year, will also highlight the winners of the Wellness Through the Arts Essay Contest with an original musical theatre production piece.

Legendary stage and screen entertainer, Ben Vereen will attend the San Diego competition to present the awards to the previously-announced winners of the Wellness Through the Arts essay contest. This year’s topic was “My Best Day” and received more entries than ever before.  The top five individual winners will each receive a $500 award, and the winning school will earn a $1,000 cash award, provided by San Diego County Credit Union, and will have their work represented at the San Diego competition. 

“I am blown away with the number of incredible stories that these young people have shared with us for the WTA this year,” said Ben Vereen. “We tried something new and opened up the competition to grades 5-12 to create an opportunity for more students to share their stories with us.”

Leading up to the Ben Vereen Awards®, the Top 20 nominees will take part in a week-long intensive rehearsal consisting of dance, vocal and acting workshops, as well as a master class with Ben Vereen himself.

The winning Best Actor and Best Actress performers each receive $1,000 and will be flown to New York on an all expenses paid week of intensive training before they compete in The Jimmy™ Awards, at Broadway’s Minskoff Theatre (home of Disney's THE LION KING) on Monday, June 26, 2017, for the opportunity to win $10,000 towards a college scholarship. 

New this year – The Ben Vereen Awards, in partnership with The San Diego Association of Black Journalists, has selected and nominated Olivia Olander for a Student Reporter Contest coordinated by The Jimmy™ Awards. Two student reporters from around the country will be selected to go to NY to cover the national competition on its social platforms. 

Competition Categories this Year Include:
Best Actor
Best Actress
Best Musical Production
Wellness Through the Arts Essay Contest
Best Local Theatre Teacher

And the Nominees Are (in alphabetical order)

Best Actor
1. Noah Filley – Cathedral Catholic High School
2. Sky Frank - San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts
3. Dashiell Gregory – San Dieguito Academy
4. Nick Hamparyan – Pacific Ridge School
5. Yoni Kruvi – San Dieguito Academy
6. Christopher Lopez – San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts
7. Sammie Lurie – Canyon Crest Academy
8. Jonas McMullen – Canyon Crest Academy
9. Henry Pedersen – Cathedral Catholic High School
10. Cole Studebaker – Vista High School

Best Actress
1. Lindsey Czyzewicz – Scripps Ranch High School
2. Alyssa DeVries – Canyon Crest Academy
3. Brooke Eyler – Rancho Buena Vista High School
4. Anna Machuca – Clairemont High School
5. Grace Newton – Our Lady of Peace Academy
6. Vivian Romero - San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts
7. Emily Smedley – Cathedral Catholic High School
8. Jenna Steinberg – San Dieguito Academy
9. Jillian Strattman – San Dieguito Academy
10. Jenna Viana – Cathedral Catholic High School

Best Musical
1. Anything Goes –Cathedral Catholic High School
2. Anything Goes – San Diego School for the Creative and Performing Arts
3. Sweet Charity –Canyon Crest Academy
4. The Addams Family – San Dieguito Academy
5. The Wedding Singer – Pacific Ridge School

Wellness Through the Arts Essay Winners
Brooke Eyler, 10th Grade - Rancho Buena Vista High School
Kiana Gomes, 5th Grade - Lindbergh Schweitzer Elementary
Marco Manzo, 11th Grade - San Diego High School
Karla Miranda Torres, 12th Grade - New Dawn
Sacred Swindell, 11th Grade - SDSCPA

TICKETS ON SALE NOW at the Balboa Theatre box office, Ticketmaster, and online at

$15        Student Admission
$40        General Admission
$85        Includes Competition & a post-show VIP Reception

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