Kuper Walker

University High Charter Los Angeles

Kuper is a 15-year-old performer who loves musical theater in any way, shape, or form. She recently won the 2021 Jerry Herman Awards, and as her school’s first win of this competition, she is absolutely thrilled! She knows how to play piano and was ecstatic when the theater program at University High Charter accepted her into the drama family with open arms. She is incredibly grateful for the growth it's taught her, and the family that she's made. She hopes to one day be a musician, and to be able to share her talents with the world!

Phillip Arca

West Covina High School

Phillip's recent work includes playing the roles of Finch in How to Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, Billy in Brightstar, and Council member Sketch in Hairspray. Phillip has studied theatre, technical theatre, voice, instrumental music, and dance all four years of his career at West Covina High School. Phillip plans to pursue a career in the performing arts past high school.  He wants to thank his theatre director Kimberly Segura, his vocal director Tyler Wigglesworth, and his dance coach Andrea Franco for their support and guidance. Phillip would also like to thank his mother for always supporting his passions.



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36 Students. 21 Schools. 1 Opportunity of a Lifetime.

Each year, Broadway in Hollywood hosts THE JERRY HERMAN HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL THEATRE AWARDS with one goal: to constructively support local high school performing arts programs.

This year's goal was even clearer: THE SHOW MUST GO ON!

The Jerry Herman Awards competition this year took on a different format from previous years due to COVID-19 restrictions. While most high schools were unable to perform musicals, all schools were given the opportunity to submit two students to submit audition videos for review by our esteemed panel of judges.



Aariahn Curls

Ambassador High School

John Huebner

Ambassador High School

Eli Okum

Beverly Hills High School

Emma Maurer

Beverly Hills High School

Garrett Lee

Chadwick School

Natalie Tell

Chadwick School

Brendan Teehan

Chaminade College Preparatory High School

Faith Alhadeff

Chaminade College Preparatory High School

Makayla Cochran

Covina High School

Sam Davidson

de Toledo High School

Sydney Simenauer

de Toledo High School

Janssen Van De Yacht

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

Lauren Gmelich

Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy

Autumn Jessel

Grace Brethren

Jassir Rivera

Grace Brethren

Khale Jackson

HArts Academy

Viviana Camarena

HArts Academy

Jillian Flynn

John Burroughs High School

Rhett Hemingway

John Burroughs High School

Dane Camacho

Long Beach Polytechnic High School

Avery Beckman

Louisville High School

Kathy Syta

Notre Dame Academy

Eddie Park

Oak Park High School

Karen Dotan

Oak Park High School

Katie Gaven

Oakwood School

Emma Shapiro

Palos Verdes High School

Hayden Kharrazi

Palos Verdes High School

Hannah Kobayashi

Redondo Union High School

Charlie Hardy

St. Francis High School

Joseph Adams

St. Francis High School

Gannon Ripchik

The Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences

Lucy Sturm

The Valley Academy of Arts and Sciences

Louis Hernandez

University High Charter Los Angeles

Carleen Jimenez

West Covina High School


Kenny Ortega

Kenny Ortega’s work as a director, choreographer, and producer is known and loved by millions around the world. Some of Ortega’s works throughout his long and illustrious career in film and television include the feature documentary “Michael Jackson’s This Is It,” “Newsies,” “Hocus Pocus,” and Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise, which were the most successful Disney Channel Original Movies to date when they premiered. Ortega received an Emmy win for choreography. He is also the executive producer for both of the movie’s multi-platinum soundtracks. In 2008, Kenny directed and executive produced “High School Musical 3: Senior Year (HSM 3)” for Walt Disney Motion Pictures. “HSM 3” was the biggest theatrical box office opening for a musical in history.

Most recently, Kenny directed “Descendants 3” for the Disney Channel, the third in the record-breaking Descendants trilogy. The “Descendants 2” Soundtrack also debuted at #1 on iTunes. Additionally, in the past few years, Kenny has directed “A Change of Heart” (winner of the OUTshine Film Festival Audience Award for Best Feature), “The Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let’s Do the Time Warp Again” for FOX (which premiered during Halloween 2016), and The Hocus Pocus 25th Anniversary Special for Freeform. Ortega has been the recipient of three Emmy Awards, and two Director’s Guild of America Awards, The Fred & Adele Astaire Lifetime Achievement Award, Bob Fosse Award, American Choreography Lifetime Achievement Award, MTV Video Music Award, American Music Award, Billboard Award, ALMA Award, Nosotros Golden Eagle Award, Imagen Creative Achievement Award, NAACP Award, as well as a number of others.

Cathy Rigby

Cathy Rigby earned a Tony nomination when she starred in the 35th Anniversary production of Peter Pan on Broadway. Subsequently, her multiple talents have been lauded on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre as the ‘Cat-In-The-Hat’ in Seussical the Musical. Other National and Regional Tours include Annie Get Your Gun, Meet Me In St. Louis, South Pacific, Paint Your Wagon, and The Unsinkable Molly Brown. Most recently Cathy starred in AR Gurney's Silvia, to rave reviews at the La Mirada Theater for the Performing Arts. Some of Rigby’s dramatic television and movie credits include “Perfect Body,” “Hard To Read,” “The Great Wallendas,” “Triathlon,” “An American Girl Movie,“ “McKenna Shoots for the Stars,” and the Emmy-nominated “Peter Pan” for A&E. A two-time Olympic gymnast, Cathy Rigby is the first American woman to win a medal in the World Gymnastics Competition and holds 12 international medals, eight of them gold.

For over 14 years Cathy has been the Director/Owner of McCoy Rigby Arts in Yorba Linda, which makes a positive difference in the lives and dreams of our youth, through professional training and education in all disciplines of dance, aerial, and theater arts. This July, Cathy is bringing her 35 years of experience and expertise with Peter Pan to children in Southern California.

Sharline Liu

Sharline Liu is thankful for the unique opportunities which have come her way. With a background in musical theater, she has been privileged to perform for American and United Nations troops on a Persian Gulf and European tour, sung and danced in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular with the Rockettes, and cheered professionally for the NBA (choreographer, Marguerite Derricks, who creates numbers for award-winning THE MARVELOUS MRS. MAISEL).

Sharline has appeared in series roles on 13 REASONS WHY, CRIMINAL MINDS (recurring), HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, MAJOR CRIMES, ALLY McBEAL, THE PRACTICE, and others.

She still relishes, however, the energy of live theater. Most recently, she appeared as matriarch “Suyuan Woo” in Sierra Madre Playhouse’s record-breaking THE JOY LUCK CLUB. She and Ethan Le Phong (ALADDIN, West End and Broadway) reprised their roles in the 2019 Hawaii Premiere of ALLEGIANCE at Honolulu’s historic Hawaii Theatre, after performing with George Takei and Broadway cast in ALLEGIANCE’s 2018 Los Angeles Premiere. This followed a lauded run as “Marie Dindon” in East West Players’ (EWP) all-Asian cast of LA CAGE AUX FOLLES opposite Broadway veteran Gedde Watanabe and Olivier Award-nominated Jon Jon Briones (MISS SAIGON, THE ASSASSINATION OF GIANNI VERSACE).

Lewis Wilkenfeld

Lewis Wilkenfeld comes to the Jerry Herman Awards directly from directing the acclaimed Southern California Professional Premiere of Matilda, The Musical in Thousand Oaks, CA. In a career spanning over 40 years, Lewis has directed over 60 plays and musicals across the country, collaborates with writers on the development of new musicals, and is a popular guest speaker/educator in schools and workshops, with a specific emphasis on educating, advising, and inspiring new generations of artists in the performing arts. He recently concluded a ten-year tenure as Artistic Director of Cabrillo Music Theatre (now 5-Star Theatricals) in Thousand Oaks, overseeing 42 productions. During Lewis’ leadership, Cabrillo Music Theatre launched the careers of hundreds of young theatre artists, achieved nationwide recognition, been recognized by the Los Angeles Drama Critics Circle with the Joel Hirschhorn Award for Distinguished Achievement in Musical Theatre, and has been rewarded with 49 Ovation Award nominations and eight wins. Lewis was recognized for his work with Cabrillo, and in the community, with a Commendation of Honor from the City of Thousand Oaks, and the Conejo Players Theatre Civic Advocate Award. Lewis is a regular Director for the acclaimed Musical Theatre Guild in Los Angeles, serves on the Ovation Rules Committee of Los Angeles Stage Alliance, and is committed to supporting and enhancing the Southern California theatre community. Lewis’ finest “productions” are the two he shares with his wife, Serena: daughter Melody and son Jesse.

Dana Solimando

Dana Solimando spent 12 years as professional dancer in NYC before moving to California. She made her Broadway debut in Cats playing the role of “Rumpleteazer”, and went on to perform in other Broadway shows such as Swing! playing the “Country Girl” & Peter Pan as “Tiger Lily”. She has also performed in numerous other Nat’l tours & regional theatre productions including Jesus Christ Superstar, A Chorus Line, Grease, Sugar babies, Gypsy, Oklahoma! & Radio City Music Hall’s Christmas Spectacular (NYC).She can also be seen as Tiger Lily on the A&E film version of Peter Pan starring Cathy Rigby.

She became a professional choreographer and director after moving to California and has been enjoying that ever since. Her most recent project is the new musical Rebel Genius by Matthew Puckett.

Awards: LA Stage Alliance Ovation awards for Swing! (2004 & 2006 Best Choreography/ 2002 Best Ensemble). Award nominations: Cabaret((2018 LADCC Award Nomination), Billy Elliot (2015 LADCC Award Nomination), Ragtime (2015 Ovation Nomination), Damn Yankees (2014 Ovation Nom), Parade (2013 Ovation Nom), Miss Saigon at the Macau International Arts Festival and McCoyRigby Ent. (2012 Ovation nom), The national tour revival of Jesus Christ Superstar starring the late great Carl Anderson (2004 NAACP Theatre Award nomination).

Natalie Iscovich

Natalie Iscovich is celebrating her fifth year with THE JERRY HERMAN AWARDS, the first four serving as Assistant Choreographer and production assistant. This year, Natalie is proud to be serving on our panel of judges. Natalie hails from Thousand Oaks, CA, and has performed extensively at various performing arts organizations throughout the Southland including McCoy Rigby Entertainment, Musical Theater West, 3-D Theatricals, 5-Star Theatricals (Formerly Cabrillo Music Theatre).  Natalie received her BFA in dance at Chapman University College of Performing Arts. Some of Natalie's memorable credits include Cabaret (McCoy Rigby), West Side Story (McCoy Rigby - Rosalia), Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (Musical Theatre West), The Full Monty (3-D Theatricals), Disney's Beauty and the Beast (3-D Theatricals), The Addams Family (3-D Theatricals), Disney's Tarzan (3-D Theatricals), Side Show (3-D Theatricals), Bye Bye Birdie (Cabrillo Music Theatre).

Allison Fox

Allison Fox is a California native with a love for the arts. With experience that spans three decades, she has gained a variety of experience in both film and live performance. Allison is passionate about what the arts have done for her and bringing those life-changing experiences to the youth of Los Angeles. She served on the board of directors with Fantastikids, a touring theatre program to help educate school-age children on the topics of bullying, drug awareness, and gang involvement. Allison worked closely as a choreographer, director, and teacher for the Golden State Children’s Theatre Company in their tenure at the La Mirada Center for Performing Arts and has volunteered with several youth outreach organizations throughout California.

Allison is currently a Show Director at Universal Studios Hollywood, where she has the daily opportunity to create and develop content, cast talent, and lead rehearsal and performance programs for a host of projects under the Parks and Resorts umbrella.


George Pennacchio

George Pennacchio is the entertainment reporter for ABC7 Eyewitness News and also hosts the stations Oscars specials. He joined ABC7 in 1996.

During his broadcasting career, George has won three Emmy Awards for his work. He has also been honored with The Press Award by The Publicists Guild of America for his coverage of the entertainment industry. He's only one of four journalists who have received The Critics' Critic Award from The Broadcast Film Critics Association, North America's largest critics group.

While on assignment in South Africa in 2007 to cover the opening of "The Lion King" on stage in its homeland, George did a series of reports involving entertainment, health and social programs that empower the women of South Africa with connections here in Southern California.

George serves on the board of the charity group, The Thalians, which raises money for the maintenance of the Thalians Mental Health Center at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center. He and his wife, Erin, also support various greyhound charities devoted to saving the dogs once their racing days are over.