Char­lotte grad wins a na­tional the­ater award in NY

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY MYAH WARD [email protected]­lot­teob­ Myah Ward: 704-358-5062

If you watch the video, you can see Reneé Rapp’s abil­ity to ex­press what’s in her heart, said Corey Mitchell, the­ater teacher at North­west School of the Arts.

That per­for­mance led the Char­lotte grad­u­ate to a Na­tional High School Mu­si­cal The­atre Award Mon­day night at Min­skoff The­atre in New York.

Rapp grad­u­ated from North­west School of the Arts this month and was named Best Ac­tress in May at Char­lotte’s 2018 Blumey Awards, which rec­og­nize the re­gion’s best in high school mu­si­cal the­ater. That vic­tory sent her on to the 10th an­nual Jimmy Awards, hosted by Tony win­ner Laura Benanti, where Rapp won Best Per­for­mance by an Ac­tress for her role as San­dra in “Big Fish.”

Rapp and the other stu­dents — 40 re­gional com­pe­ti­tions send win­ners — par­tic­i­pated in a pro­fes­sional train­ing in­ten­sive at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the week be­fore the cer­e­mony. Rapp also re­ceived a $10,000 schol­ar­ship as part of her win.

“It was ab­so­lutely un­real,” Rapp said Tues­day. “It was such an honor just to be able to per­form with the peo­ple of that cal­iber and take di­rec­tion from the mass amounts of tal­ent that the Jimmy Awards bring.”

Rapp is Char­lotte’s sec­ond na­tional win­ner, fol­low­ing Amina Faye’s 2016 vic­tory. Eva Noblezada, the NWSA alum who be­came a Tony Award nom­i­nee in 2017 for her per­for­mance in “Miss Saigon,” was a Blumey win­ner and a fi­nal­ist at the Jim­mys in 2013.

While there are a lot of per­form­ers who have great vo­cal abil­ity, Mitchell said, Rapp has a spe­cial dis­tinc­tion.

“There is a dif­fer­ence when that vo­cal abil­ity is cou­pled with sin­cere emo­tions that can move an au­di­ence and that lit­er­ally can ex­cite an au­di­ence,” Mitchell said.

He said an­other Char­lotte win­ner speaks to the many schools and pro­grams that aid bud­ding artists in the area. Rapp also sang Char­lotte’s praises and said she’d be nowhere with­out her fam­ily, North­west and the Blu­men­thal.

“I love do­ing what I do,” Rapp said. “But a big part of what I want (is) ... to do it for the peo­ple who have sup­ported me.”

This fall, Rapp will head to Texas State to study mu­si­cal the­ater. While she said she loves the­ater, she plans to also pur­sue her love for record­ing mu­sic.

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