Meet the 2024 Lead Performer Nominees

Ahead of this year’s Bobby G Awards, the DCPA’s annual celebration of high school musical theatre, taking place on May 17 in the Buell Theatre, meet the ten Lead Performer nominees. During the awards ceremony these students will sing an original medley kicked off by last year’s Lead Performer winners, Camille Nugent and Connor O’Brian.

Bobby G Lead Performer winners head to the Jimmy Awards on Broadway to represent Colorado in the national competition. After a week in workshops with Broadway professionals, they will perform in the Minskoff Theatre on June 24. The Jimmy Awards have kickstarted the careers for many artists, including Reneé Rapp who recently starred as Regina George in the Mean Girls movie musical after playing the role on Broadway.

The 2024 Bobby G Lead Performer nominees are Jake Larson, Leah Taylor, Ashton Showers, Logan Richardson, Tate Dewhurst, Charlotte Hearn, Hannah Schnorr, Gabi Karl, Caleb Kezeor, and Nathan Adams. The two winners will be announced during the ceremony on May 17. Tickets are available now at

Jake Larson

Jake Larson in Something Rotten!, Arvada West High School

Role: Thomas Nostradamus
Production: Something Rotten!
School: Arvada West High School

Jake Larson found a new side of himself as Thomas Nostradamus in Something Rotten!. “The past few characters I played have all been either really bitter, filled with a deep-seated rage, or a mouse of an individual,” Larson explained as Nostradamus, he “got the opportunity to just be me, in a way. I could explore how big and crazy I could get.”

In the same breath, Larson said, “I absolutely adored the idea of being a hobo that tells the future. Who wouldn’t want to be a walking reference.” Something Rotten! follows brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom as they take on William Shakespeare’s fame. Nick turns to soothsayer Nostradamus, who predicts the future of theatre is musicals.

“Performing for me had always been nerve-wracking, but always so rewarding,” Larson said. “It’s the final bows, the cheer of the audience, and the people backstage that remind you how much this work has paid off.” Larson’s favorite part of performing is the laughter – even during mistakes – from his castmates and the audience. Larson said, “I have made so many friends and formed a strong family. Performing with these people makes me proud to be where I am and honored that I get to share the stage with them.”

Larson plans to take a gap year after graduating this spring, then wants to see where life takes him. That might mean college in Los Angeles or it might mean a career in movies. Either way, Larson is excited to see what happens next.

Leah Taylor

Leah Taylor in Frozen, Castle View High School

Role: Anna
Production: Frozen
School: Castle View High School

Castle View High School’s production of Frozen was an incredibly special opportunity. A partnership of the Educational Theatre Association, Music Theatre International and Disney Theatrical Group presented “The United States of Frozen” contest, which allowed one winning school in each state the rights to produce Disney’s Frozen. “This was a huge opportunity for our school and we as a company couldn’t be more excited to perform with each other,” said Leah Taylor.

Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, one with magical powers to turn the world to ice. On a quest to save her sister and her beloved Arendelle from an eternal winter, Anna journeys with her friends, learning about herself, family, and true love.

Though Taylor was nervous to portray Anna, having a community at her back outweighed the stress. “Castle View Theater Company holds some of the most supportive, creative, and passionate students I’ve ever worked with,” Taylor said. “Most of the rehearsal days are filled with laughter and support from every part of the company. Then, the second I step onstage it’s like the world had melted away and all that matters is the story and memories we’re creating together.”

Outside the Theater Company, Taylor appreciated seeing children at their performances dressed in costume. “It makes me happy seeing how much Frozen brought the community together,” she said.

After graduation this spring, Taylor will attend the University of Colorado Boulder to pursue a degree in Musical Theatre. She said, “I am so excited for these next chapters of my life!”

Ashton Showers

Ashton Showers in Frozen, Castle View High School

Role: Hans
Production: Frozen
School: Castle View High School

Ashton Showers was “immeasurably stoked” when the announcement was made that Castle View High School would produce Frozen. What Showers didn’t realize was that auditioning for Frozen would be one of the most significant decisions of his high school career, giving him the opportunity to learn and grow as a performer.

Frozen tells the story of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, one with magical powers to turn the world to ice. While Anna is on a quest to save her sister, Hans is a hero – supporting a freezing Arendelle through tumult and fear.

Spoiler alert: In Act II, Hans reveals his monstrous intentions, condemning both sisters to death to seize the throne. “Going into a show that’s so well-known makes it challenging to play a villain,” Showers said. “My goal was to make the character so believable that he could surprise an entire audience of people who already knew the plot twist.”

The role excited Showers as he continued to be surprised by Hans’s depth. “Every day, I would catch something new about the character, and that gave me a reason to keep digging.” It was an “exhilarating experience, a blessing, and a lot of fun.”

After graduating this spring, Showers is pursuing a BFA in acting at Ithaca College in New York. He is beyond excited to continue studying the arts and is incredibly grateful for the faculty, family, and friends who supported him the whole way.

Logan Richardson

Logan Richardson in Ride the Cyclone, CIVA Charter High School

Role: Jane Doe
Production: Ride the Cyclone: High School Edition
School: CIVA Charter High School

Logan Richardson didn’t let the fact that this was her first time in a leading role stand in her way. “My first performance was so nerve wracking,” she said. “I wanted so badly to prove my worth within this role. I’m so glad that it all paid off.”

In Ride the Cyclone, a group of teenagers is killed in a tragic roller coaster accident. The teens fight, cry, and come to terms with their deaths as they journey through the afterlife. Richardson’s character, Jane Doe, is named as such because she lost her head in the accident. She has no memory of her life, and her companions don’t know who she is. With costuming and make-up from the creative team, Richardson’s head was made to look like a doll’s – to replace the head Jane Doe lost.

Ride the Cyclone has been my dream show,” Richardson said. “The greatest part about Ride The Cyclone is that everyone is the main character. Everyone has a solo and a story to tell.” Richardson went on, “ My favorite memory that stands out is singing ‘The Ballad of Jane Doe’ for the first time with full choreography and costume.” The haunting song  went viral on TikTok in recent years, giving the show unprecedented popularity.

As a junior, Richardson has one more year of theatre at CIVA Charter High School. After graduation, she hopes to study Musical Theatre and Vocal Training. Helping others connect with music is a passion of hers, saying, “I believe that musical theatre is a way for everyone to have a deeper connection.”

Tate Dewhurst

Tate Dewhurst in Rock of Ages, Denver North High School

Role: Drew
Production: Rock of Ages
School: Denver North High School

Improvisation was key to developing Rock of Ages in the Denver North Black Masque Theatre Company – “at least that’s how we saw it,” Tate Dewhurst said. “Every rehearsal and subsequent performance, the lines in some scenes would begin to get more creative and change from the last time we had run them. It kept all of us engaged in what was being said,” he explained. “The jokes would keep flowing, though many didn’t make it into the show, it was probably for the best.”

Rock of Ages is an 80’s jukebox musical that follows two aspiring musicians as they try to keep rock ‘n’ roll alive. Dewhurst’s character, Drew, is the guitarist in a band named Wolfgang Von Colt. “The show features hits from Bon Jovi, Poison, Journey, and more. It’s a musical for anyone,” he said.

Though playing a lead is nerve racking, especially one with the vocal rock star range of Drew Boley, working with such a collaborative cast and creative team helped ease Dewhurst into the role. “Those nerves change into excitement those few weeks before the show. The cast collectively starts to focus more,” he said. “At the risk of sounding cliché, my favorite part of the process is the hours you spend workshopping these dances, lines, and blocking to create as polished a product as you can for the audience.”

Dewhurst will graduate this spring, then head to the University of Northern Colorado to study Musical Theatre in the fall.

Charlotte Hearn

Charlotte Hearn in Bright Star, Denver School of the Arts

Role: Alice Murphy
Production: Bright Star
School: Denver School of the Arts

Denver School of the Arts planned on presenting Bright Star a couple of years ago, but was postponed due to the pandemic. Since it was brought to the stage this year, Charlotte Hearn had the opportunity to portray Alice Murphy, a role she fell “head over heels in love with.”

Bright Star tells the story of Alice, from her spirited teenage years through adulthood. “It’s a heartfelt tale of hope and rebirth,” Hearn said. “From the outside eye Alice is quick-witted and aspirational, but her tenderness and past grievances are quickly unveiled.”

Though Hearn had previous acting experience, this role was a bit intimidating. “I’d never played anyone quite so serious, so at first, being Alice felt like uncharted water. Not to mention, how nervous I was about singing a role as challenging as hers,” Hearn explained. “I made a promise to myself to ask a lot of questions, learn my part early and practice with friends outside of rehearsal.”

Her diligence paid off, now she’s nominated for a Bobby G Award. Unfortunately, performances were cancelled due to the heavy snowfall in March. Opening night was the first and last time Hearn stepped onstage as Alice. “I remember standing in the wings on opening night struggling to keep my dinner down,” Hearn said. “But the show that night was spectacular. The audience gave us a standing ovation.”

This spring, Hearn will attend The Julliard School to study Drama. She’s looking forward to continue singing, but also hopes to write or direct a play during her time at Julliard.

Hannah Schnorr

Hannah Schnorr in Into the Woods, Fossil Ridge High School

Role: Baker’s Wife
Production: Into the Woods
School: Fossil Ridge High School

As a massive Sondheim fan, playing the Baker’s Wife in Into the Woods was an exciting proposition for Hannah Schnorr. The Baker and his wife wish to have a child, but they learn his family has been cursed by an evil witch. Thus begins their journey to undo the curse as they become entangled with several fairy tale characters, including Rapunzel, Cinderella, Little Red Riding Hood, and more.

“For my take on the Baker’s Wife I definitely tried to lean into the funny side of her, so every night I was so excited to see how my jokes and bits would land with a different audience,” Schnorr said. On stage and off, her favorite memories of performing are of laughter and fun.

The Fossil Ridge theatre department is like family to Schnorr. Besides having fun with her castmates and friends, she feels comfortable immersing herself in a role. There’s an awesome level of trust behind-the-scenes, and everyone steps up to the plate. She said, “I love seeing the show come together with all the props, costumes, sets, lighting. Everyone knows their material and it becomes more about truly just living in the story instead of worrying about knowing where you should be or what your next line is. The only thing you are doing is living in the moment.”

Schnorr is a Junior at Fossil Ridge, meaning one last season of shows with the theater department that has become family.

Gabi Karl

Gabi Karl in Mean Girls, ThunderRidge High School

Role: Janis
Production: Mean Girls: High School Edition
School: ThunderRidge High School

Gabi Karl considers herself a theatrical late bloomer. Meaning, she didn’t join ThunderRidge’s theatre company until the end of her sophomore year. Now a graduating senior, Karl has participated in every production since that moment.

Karl portrayed Janis Ian in Mean Girls: High School Edition. “She’s one of the main protagonists or antagonists of the story, depending on how you view her character,” Karl said. When new girl Cady befriends outsiders Janis and Damian, they convince her to join and sabotage the popular clique, also known as The Plastics. High school drama ensues.

“My favorite part of the rehearsal process was being surrounded by such talented people, and in turn being pushed to new limits,” Karl said. This was particularly true of the dance numbers, since Karl had very limited dance training. But she appreciated being pushed out of her comfort zone. “The people I worked with, along with my lovely director were so supportive of this, and it made the process that much more enjoyable.”

Even though she might still be learning the ins and outs of theatre, Karl has loved immersing herself in a role. “I always get a bit nervous on opening night – especially if there is family in the audience – but once I’m on stage, I sink into my character and let my muscle memory and love for theatre do the work,” she said.

Karl has plans to attend college in Rochester, New York after graduating this spring. She will study Psychology and Performing Arts, and hopes to join a local community theatre.

Caleb Kezeor

Caleb Kezeor in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Woodland Park High School

Role: Quasimodo
Production: The Hunchback of Notre Dame
School: Woodland Park High School

A unique production to this year’s Bobby G Awards is The Hunchback of Notre Dame. A musical based on the animated Disney film, which in turn was based on the Victor Hugo novel, is a particularly grand undertaking. It tells the story of Quasimodo, a hunchbacked bell ringer sequestered inside the Notre Dame, who longs to join the outside world.

Portraying Quasimodo set some high expectations for Caleb Kezeor. “I think I can speak for many actors when we find out what show we are auditioning for, we study up by watching it and listening to it. This definitely got me very excited to start the show,” Kezeor explained. “As we went through the rehearsal process, nerves started to kick in, which soon accompanied the need to be amazing. Yet I feel that pushed me to be better and better.”

Though Kezeor had performed as a lead in other productions, this was a new experience that required a lot of attention. Quasimodo demands a lot from a performer. “I feel that this role has been the toughest and yet the most fulfilling of any role I’ve done so far,” Kezeor said.

It helps ease the stress when you have a strong support system. Kezeor enjoyed every moment of The Hunchback of Notre Dame because of the camaraderie in the theatre company. “I find that even when I’m having off days, the theater folk always help me to feel a lot better,” he said.

Kezeor is determined to continue singing, dancing, and acting no matter where life takes him. For now, he will attend Oklahoma City University in the fall to study Musical Theatre.

Nathan Adams

Nathan Adams in The Addams Family, Vista PEAK Preparatory

Role: Gomez Addams
Production: The Addams Family
School: Vista PEAK Preparatory

Nathan Adams will graduate from Vista PEAK Preparatory on a high note. The Addams Family was a favorite production – and considering he’s auditioned for every show since the fifth grade, that’s saying something. “This show was definitely a final hurrah for me and I was so glad to be a part of it,” Adams said.

The Addams Family shows us the familiar, gloomy characters we know and love, but with a new story. Wednesday is hoping to get married, but she’s keeping it secret from her mother, Morticia. “Gomez is the fun loving but very stressed father,” Adams explained. “He is caught between a rock and a hard place when it comes to keeping a secret for his daughter or lying to his wife.”

Theatre is a collaborative effort, and Adams was so proud to work with his castmates and the creative team on The Addams Family. “Everyone did their work with a smile on their face,” he said. “Working in tandem with everyone just felt so incredible because everyone in the show truly cared about it being amazing!”

One special element of this show was sharing the stage with his best friend, who played his daughter, Wednesday. During the closing performance, Adams felt bittersweet sharing the stage one last time. “It’s happy/sad,” he said. “I started crying thinking about us growing up together. It was a really sweet moment.”

In the fall, Adams plans to continue singing and acting. He will attend Colorado State University for Musical Theatre and Psychology.