The final of the 11th annual Stephen Sondheim Society Student Performer of the Year, incorporating the Stiles + Drewe Prize, will be held at the Noël Coward Theatre in St Martin’s Lane, London, at 3 p.m. on the afternoon of 11th June 2017. The event, co-produced by The Stephen Sondheim Society and Mercury Musical Developments (MMD), will once again present the 12 best students of drama and musical theatre courses – as selected by Chairman of the July Edward Seckerson and Musical Director Steve Ridley – competing for a £1,000 first prize, and a runner’s-up prize of £500.
Joining the students will be 12 songwriters or songwriting partnerships vying for both the £1,000 Best New Song award and the much-coveted Stiles + Drewe Prize: a year of mentorship from George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, awarded to the writer(s) of the new musical that shows the most potential.
Tickets are on sale now via the Delfont Mackintosh booking system, and Society members have the first chance to book. They will also enjoy a 25% discount from the regular ticket price – look out for the Society-exclusive booking link, which has the discount pre-applied. The booking system for non-members will be opened to the public on Tuesday 2 May.
Hosting this year’s event will be West End regular Clive Rowe (Company at the Donmar Warehouse, Tribute to Sondheim at the Barbican, Into The Woods at the Linbury Studio/Royal Opera House). Joining him for a special performance will be guest judge Janie Dee (Putting it Together at the St James Theatre, A Little Night Music at the Palace Theatre, and soon to be seen as Phyllis in the National’s production of Follies). The remaining judges have yet to be announced but expect to see the a glittering line-up picked from the West End’s most celebrated and experienced creatives and performers.
You will also get another chance to hear last year’s winner, Courtney Bowman, singing her winning number, “Me And My Town” from Anyone Can Whistle.
This year’s finalists were whittled down from 78, auditioned at heats held earlier this year at the Bishopsgate Institute in London. Some of the finalists had to undergo earlier stages of heats at their colleges, so you can be sure of seeing the best of the best currently in training for the stage. Congratulations to all of this year’s finalists, who are:
|Tom Blackmore||London College of Music|
|Verity Blyth||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
|Oscar Conlon-Morrey||Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts|
|Georgia Frost||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
|Madeleine Leslay||Royal Academy of Music|
|Rob Peacock||London School of Musical Theatre|
|Georgia Richardson||Italia Conti Academy Of Theatre Arts|
|Jack Whittle||GSA, University of Surrey|
Pictured below are some of the entrants in the heats, auditioning in front of Chairman of the Jury Edward Seckerson, Musical Director Stephen Ridley and pianist Malcolm Forbes-Peckham. Congratulations again to those who made it through. Photos courtesy of David Ovenden at Descripta.