Local Teen on PBS TV show: a winner in Straz Center-sponsored contest | Arts & Culture
South Tampa, Florida-- The winners of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center for the Performing Art’s Broadway Stars of the Future Awards - Joshua Grosso and Samantha Schneider-Behen - will be featured on the PBS show, Broadway or Bust, airing on WEDU-TV Sunday nights at 8 p.m. from Septmber 9 through September 23.
Samantha is a senior at Blake High School in Tampa and Joshua, from Plantation, is now a college student studying musical theater at Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University.
Originally, at the Florida State Thespian Festival in March, Samantha won the award for Best Actress and Jordan Rodnizki won the award for Best Actor. Jordan was unable to accept the prize of competing against other high school students across the country in New York City last June, so the award went to Joshua.
The PBS documentary series follows the competition from the regional competitions to the rigorous final competition in New York City. More than 50,000 high school Thespians competed in regional theatrical competitions across the country. Joshua and Samantha placed among the top 60 performers in the country, allowing them to qualify on the national level.
The TV series shows the young Thespians’ journey as they progress through an intense week of rehearsals, coaching sessions and performances that lead to the final awards ceremony in the famed Minskoff Theatre, right on Broadway. The grand prize will be The Jimmy Awards, named after James Nederlander, owner of Nederlander Theater. The male and female Jimmy Award winners each receive $10,000 in scholarship money.
The Jimmy Awards winners were selected by a seven-judge panel that included Tony Award nominee Montego Glover. The event’s hosts were Constantine Maroulis and Deborah Cox, stars of the upcoming revival of "Jekyll & Hyde." The 60 participating teens received six days of coaching by New York University faculty and Broadway stars like Telly Leung from "Godspell." They also took in a showing of "Nice Work If You Can Get It."
The Straz Center for the Performing Arts is known for community service and generosity, and especially for its commitment to helping talented youth strive and thrive in the world of performing arts.