PMHS freshman Liam Ginsburg was named a 2021-22 Winner of The Roger Rees Award as Best Actor in the Metropolitan Area for his performance as Billy Kane in this year’s spring musical “Bright Star.” Liam will now move on to compete against winners from around the nation in the Jimmy Awards.
Liam is the third PMHS student to win the Roger Rees Award, following alumnas Sarah Alice Liddy (2014) and Meredith Heller (2020). This year senior Oliver Tam also reached the finals, making this something of a milestone year for Sock ‘n’ Buskin performers.
"As Steve Martin writes in his musical, ‘You never know what life will bring, only what you bring to life’,” said Directors Tom Beck and Neil Schleifer. “In this case we witnessed a freshman with very little theatre experience bring his talent, heart, soul, energy and commitment to the rehearsal process. We are thrilled that he was recognized by Roger Rees!"
The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance is presented by Disney Theatrical Group (The Broadway League member) and the Broadway Education Alliance (Roger Rees Awards fiscal sponsor) in association with Camp Broadway LLC who serve as the program administrator and showcase producer. It is currently the only student award in the New York metro area that recognizes distinction in student performance and outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre programs. The Roger Rees Awards (RRA) is the Greater New York Regional Award program of The Broadway League Foundation’s, The Jimmy® Awards, aka The National High School Musical Theatre Awards® (NHSMTA®).
To qualify for the Roger Rees Award, performers had to have three (3) theatre professionals see the actual production (in person or online) and evaluate each eligible student in the context of their live performance in the school musical production. These individuals had to be unbiased, independent and in no way affiliated with the school, the production, or members of the cast, crew, or production team. Students were judged on a range of skills including Stage Presence, Musicianship, Characterization, and Movement.
Those with the highest scores were then invited to participate in an in-person masterclass with experienced Broadway professionals who will coach students on their individual performances. Coaching sessions were held in New York City from May 9-12. Following the class, the team of director/choreographers and music directors completed a second evaluation of each student’s performance. The top-ranking 6 female and 6 male students are designated award Finalists, including Ginsburg and Tam. Each of the twelve Award Finalists were invited to perform their song, accompanied by a professional pianist, in-person for a panel of theatre experts on May 22. Ginsburg sang the title song from “Bright Star” and Tam sang “Heartbreaker” also from the show.
A panel of 5-7 professionals then completed the final award program rubric for each student based on the students’ performance. Individual judge’s scores were then tabulated by Roger Rees Awards administrators. The two students with the highest total score are designated the winner of the Best Actor and Best Actress Awards.