Alexandra Finke of Centerville and Mimi Klipstine Dick of West Milton took top honors at the Human Race Theatre Company’s fourth annual Stephen Schwartz Musical Theatre Scholarship competition Tuesday, April 26 at the Loft Theatre.
Named in honor of the prolific composer of such musicals as “Godspell,” “Pippin,” “The Prince of Egypt” and “Wicked,” the competition, truly competitive and musically engaging, featured six collegiate and four high school students who prepared a Schwartz selection and a show tune from another composer.
Finke, a Muse Machine alumna and a junior at the University of Michigan who performed “Corner of the Sky” (“Pippin”) and “Pulled” (“The Addams Family”), received a $2,500 scholarship. She was also co-winner of the 2008 inaugural competition. “It’s a huge honor,” Finke said. “It was wonderful to perform with such amazing singers. It’s great that the Human Race Theatre Company provides such opportunities.”
Dick, a senior at the Interlochen Arts Academy who performed “Defying Gravity” (“Wicked”) and “Blow, Gabriel, Blow” (“Anything Goes”), received a $1,000 scholarship. Equally thrilled as Finke, Dick looks forward to pursuing her musical theater aspirations in college. “It feels amazing!,” she said. “I love musical theater. I want to be on Broadway – that’s the dream.”
The remaining finalists were Joanna Draper of Oakwood High School, Bradley Farmer of Springboro High School, Mary Kate O’Neill of Kettering-Fairmont High School, Jamard Richardson of the University of Oklahoma and Wright State University students Blaine Boyd, Alyssa Hostetler, Jenyth Rosati and Lucian Smith. Each finalist received marvelous accompaniment courtesy of music director-pianist Julie Spangler of the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music. Human Race resident artist Scott Stoney served as acting coach. Nathan D. Dean handled sound duties.
In addition to Finke and Dick’s radiant performances, musical highlights included Boyd’s dynamic “Proud Lady” (“The Baker’s Wife”), Draper’s cute and coy “Times Like This” (“Lucky Stiff”), Farmer’s perfectly perky “Popular” (“Wicked”), Hostetler’s magnetic “The Wizard and I” (“Wicked”), O’Neill’s outstanding deliveries of “Ain’t It Good” (“Children of Eden”) and “The Worst Pies in London” (“Sweeney Todd”), Richardson’s cool and smooth “It Ain’t Necessarily So” (“Porgy and Bess”), Rosati’s tender “Where Is the Warmth?” (“The Baker’s Wife”) and Smith’s gently authentic “With You” (“Pippin”).
Judges were Human Race producing artistic director Kevin Moore, Human Race resident artist Patricia Linhart of the University of Cincinnati-College Conservatory of Music and Victoria Theatre Association vice president of programming Tina McPhearson. The audience also provided a collective vote. Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra music director Neal Gittleman hosted the festivities, which included an intriguing preview of scenes from Schwartz’s first opera “Seance on a Wet Afternoon.”
For more information, visit www.humanracetheatre.org