Dr. Phillips Center Presents

2023 Applause Awards

Supported by AdventHealth, Chick-fil-A & OUC
June 3, 2023 | Walt Disney Theater | 7 p.m.

2023 Applause Awards

June 3, 2023 | Walt Disney Theater | 7 p.m.

52 productions. 33 high schools. 1 incredible night.

A panel of 12 casting agents, show directors, and industry professionals will select nearly 300 students from 33 high schools and eight counties to participate in this high-energy evening—featuring live performances of winners in the Outstanding Musical category and culminating in the announcement of who will represent the Dr. Phillips Center in New York City at the Jimmy Awards.

Modeled after the Tony Awards®, the Applause Awards will be directed by Broadway veteran Ray Roderick and hosted by Tony-award winning Broadway performer LaChanze. Thousands of dollars in scholarships will be given to college-bound seniors. Two overall winners will advance to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards®, known as The Jimmy Awards®, for an opportunity of a lifetime to compete among the next generation of Broadway stars in New York City. .

2023 Applause Awards

Ray Roderick — Director

Ray Roderick (writer/director/choreographer) is thrilled to be back at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Applause Awards! Ray directed the London workshop of La Bamba! A New Dance Musical, and will direct the upcoming West End production and subsequent UK tour. He adapted the Broadway script for Chitty, Chitty, Bang, Bang for the 1st US national tour (director), UK tour and Australian tour. He wrote and directed 'S Wonderful! The New Gershwin Musical, which toured the US. He has recently written book and lyrics for Brooklyn’s Bridge, A New Musical, and directed the premiere production at Montclair State University. He was associate director of A Christmas Carol at Madison Square Garden for six years, where he was privileged to work with original director Mike Ockrent. He was also associate director for Susan Stroman's Broadway revival of The Music Man, and subsequently directed the successful three-year North American Tour. He co-wrote/directed/choreographed Irving Berlin's I Love a Piano three-year national tour of the US and Japan.

Ray was the founding artistic director of Tri-State Center for the Arts, where he remained at the helm for seven years. For The Denver Center of the Performing Arts, Ray has directed and choreographed First Date, The Last Five Years, The Taffetas, Five Course Love, and I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change! (Denver's longest running show). Ray begins his 24th year as creative director for the United States Tennis Association's US Open, where he writes and directs Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day television show for ABC, and creates on-court entertainment and ceremonies for ESPN.

As Broadway performer, Ray was seen in many shows, including Barnum, starring Jim Dale and Glenn Close, and originated roles in Grind, Cats, The Wind in the Willows, Crazy for You, and A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum starring Nathan Lane and Whoopi Goldberg.

LaChanze — Host

With a career that has spanned thirty-one Broadway seasons, LaChanze consistently brings women of complexity and triumph into the cultural lexicon. LaChanze won a Tony Award for her performance as Celie in The Color Purple, originated the role of Ti Moune in Once on This Island (Tony Award nomination), and upheld her commitment to artistic excellence this past season as Wiletta in Alice Childress’ historic play, Trouble In Mind (Tony Award nomination). Other notable stage performances include roles in Summer: The Donna Summer Musical (Tony Award nomination), A Christmas Carol, The Secret Life of Bees, If/Then, The Wiz, Ragtime, Uptown... It’s Hot! and Dreamgirls.

On screen, she has delivered memorable roles in both TV and film including: “Handel’s Messiah Rocks: A Joyful Noise” (Emmy Award), “East New York,” “The Blacklist,” “Melinda,” “The Help,” HBO’s “The Night Of,” “Law & Order: SVU,” “The Good Fight,” “Sex And The City,” and Disney animated feature film “Hercules” among other titles.

Next season, LaChanze will make her New York City directorial debut with Alice Childress’ Wine in the Wilderness at Classic Stage Company. This season, LaChanze serves as producer both on the 20th anniversary revival of Suzan-Lori Parks’ acclaimed Pulitzer-Prize-Winning play, Topdog/Underdog, as well as Kimberly Akimbo, a new musical by Tony Award Winning Composer Jeanine Tesori and Pulitzer-Prize-Winning Playwright David Lindsay-Abaire. She is the President of Black Theatre United, a community of creatives dedicated to awareness, accountability, and advocacy. Proud mother of Celia Rose and Zaya LaChanze. She resides in Westchester, New York with her three cats and gardening hats

Roselyn Garcia — Alumni Co-Host

Rosie is so thrilled and honored to be co-hosting the Applause Awards 2023! You may have seen her as Ariel in Applause Awards 2020 and as Elle Woods in Applause Awards 2022! She has so much love for everyone at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and is eternally grateful for this wonderful opportunity. In the time Rosie’s had in the Applause Awards, she has learned so much, met so many people, and made so many memories with people she loves. One of her favorite memories was being able to share the stage one last time with one of her favorite people, Jorge Rayo Jr. Thank you to the Dr. Phillips Center staff, her friends, and her family for being with her in this journey every step of the way!

Ethan Garrepy — Alumni Co-Host

Ethan Garrepy (They/He) is an actor, playwright, director, designer, and artist from Orlando, Florida, pursuing a BFA in Musical Theatre from the University of Florida. Their work in educational theatre includes performances in The Importance of Being Earnest, Macbeth, The Addams Family, Cabaret, and Damn Yankees, for which they were named the Jimmy Awards Nominee Runner Up at the 2022 Applause Awards. Off the stage, Ethan is a makeup artist and designer, receiving acclaim from the International Thespian Society, and a playwright, recently directing a production of their original play, Timofy.

Prices, shows, artists, dates and times are subject to change at any time without notice. The views and opinions expressed within this show are those of the artist(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Dr. Phillips Center.

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