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San Diego High School Theater Students Head To Broadway

The finalists for the 2016 Ben Vereen Awards, a local high school theater competition.
Courtesy of Broadway San Diego
The finalists for the 2016 Ben Vereen Awards, a local high school theater competition.
San Diego High School Theater Students Head To Broadway
GUESTS:Cameron Chang, student, Canyon Crest Academy Jazley Genovese, student, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts Joe Kobryner, producer, Ben Vereen Awards

Hey kids let's put on a show and they did last Sunday night at the Balboa theater at the end of the evening to San Diego high school seniors became the newest Ben Vereen Awards winners and they'll beheaded to a national musical theater competition in New York next month. A San Diego high school performers were given tips before the competition from MFA students at San Diego State and a master class on musical theater from Tony award winner Ben Vereen. I spoke with best actor winner Cameron Chang a student of Canyon Crest Academy best actress winner Jazley Genovese the a student at the School of Creative and Performing Arts and with Joe Kobryner Vice President of Broadway San Diego and the producer of the Ben Vereen Awards . Hears that interview. First of all congratulations Cameron and jostling.'s I understand you performed to solo pieces during the Sunday awards ceremony for the Sunday competition. Cameron which to pieces did you perform? The first piece I performed was from the role that I was nominated for an it was all tough love from the [ Indiscernible ]. The second piece was Toseland from smile. With a quote from that. [ Music ] Jazley what were the winning to solos that you did? The first piece which I was not in -- nominated for when you are good to mama from Chicago and the second was like love from the musical Charlie girl. We have a clip from that. [ Music ] To really fantastic performances. Did you know that you had nailed it? Did you have a feeling that you had nailed it? I don't know if I nailed it necessarily but I remember after I did Aldo follow I felt very proud of myself because the audience reacted in a very positive way. It was a nice confidence booster. It felt really good with the audience reacting and having a good time. We were having a good time that will really wanted is the audience having as much fun as we do in age thing the songs. Out of the weeklong mentoring by SDSU graduate students and the master class by Ben Vereen, how did they help you performance changer performance, influence you? They were awesome just to get feedback from them after having them watch our performance. I was lucky enough to get picked to sing for Ben Vereen and get one-on-one time with him. He Tommy to discover in the moment what we are really saying and to find the truth in our songs. It was amazing. And you Cameron how the that influence you? The training and the exposure you got. I think the biggest thing that Ben teaches us is performers is that performing is the necessarily about performing bit about being in it's about how you can put yourself into the work. And set of thinking I'm actor so I have to think this way and be this person it's just how you take your own self your own heart and soul and put it into the work which is really important. Show why this is award named after Ben Vereen? When we started this local competition project we were looking for someone who was iconic and whose name was recognizable and who could influence a positive way these young students. I also knew that Ben had some connection to San Diego and I found out he likes to come here frequently. He was at the top of the list so when we reached out to him he didn't know what he had said yes to. [ Laughter ] but he agreed in there and he came into town and I met him two years ago and he saw the first Ben Vereen Awards and he said you got me hooked for life. Have any San Diego school take part in this Joe? It's grown dramatically, the first year we had 12 schools. Last year we had 16 schools, this year we adjudicated 26 productions. No Cameron your beheaded to New York for the national high school musical theater awards in late June. You know what that competition will be like? We watch this reality show about it so I have a vague idea of what it's about. Is basically what we did for the Ben Vereen Awards but more intense. We are working with New York Broadway actors who are helping us train and choreographers, directors. Is going to be intense but it's going to be really fun and I'm so excited to meet all the other competitors and hopefully make friends. Jazley you agree , tense but fun? Yes definitely. , The kids will be there? I believe 60. What is the grand prize if one of these two lucky students when? The grand prize of $10,000 each for the college scholarship. Is anyone from San Diego wanted? Not yet. We bequeath to great possibilities. Cameron how long of you wanted to be a performer? I started performing when I was seven years old. It was basically something I always like to say that I was -- what I was trying out sports I was a was the second worst player in every sports team because I didn't really know what I was doing and I had no passion. I was in a second grade class play in one of the moms told my mom he should addition for show. I addition for show and I kept doing it and it was this really fun hobby and I think in middle school I decided this is my passion. I can actually make money doing this. Jazley you attend the School of Creative and Performing Arts so you have known for a while that this is the direction you want to go in . You have some favorite parts you like to play on Broadway? Yes. One of my favorite shows is Gypsy. I would love to play Mama Rose. With your plans after you -- your senior right? Where plans after high school Jazley I will be attending Pace University in New York City for musical theater . And you Cameron? I will be attending Otterbein University in Ohio for musical theater as well. What you think when in the Ben Vereen Awards means to you Cameron and possibly to your future? A mental up because it's my second that doing it and that was really rewarding to come back and win this time. Also, it feels like everything that I have done up to this point, every show, every obstacle in my we was all worth it because the feeling that I had last night when they announced my name was just unbelievable. I felt like any regrets that I had ever had about doing musical theater was gone. Winning does that. Jazley what does it mean to you? Where do you see this fitting into your future as a musical performer? Having this opportunity, all the second-guessing I had about wanting to go into the field of musical theater went out the window and is building a my confidence in building up my readiness to go out there and to what I love and fight for what I love and be a part of this wonderful world of musical theater. I have been speaking with the Ben Vereen Awards winners Cameron Chang, Jazley Genovese see and what thank you both so much. Thank you.

Two local high school students are going to New York this summer to compete in a national musical theater competition.

Cameron Chang of Canyon Crest Academy and Jazley Genovese of the San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts were named winners of Sunday's Ben Vereen Awards, a local competition that showcases the best high school musical theater students in San Diego.

Ten girls and 10 boys from high schools around the county performed for a live audience and a panel of judges.


Ben Vereen, the Broadway legend who's the award's namesake, gave the finalists a master class in the week leading up to the event.

Chang and Genovese were selected to move on to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (also known as the Jimmy Awards), happening June 27 at Broadway's Minksoff Theatre.

The winner of that competition receives $10,000 toward a college scholarship.

Hear the winning songs and listen to the students and Ben Vereen Awards producer Joe Kobryner talk about their experience on Midday Edition Tuesday.