The Bobby G Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in Colorado high-school musical theatre. The fourth annual awards and performance take place Thursday, May 26, at the Buell Theatre. Today we introduce you to the five students who are finalists for Outstanding Lead Actor. The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.
Javert, Les Misérables
Arvada West High School
Class of 2017
- College plans: BYU
- Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
- First role: This is it. It was such an honor to be cast in such a large role as a rookie.
- Why do you perform? Because I love to see the emotions I can evoke from an audience. It’s the greatest feeling to know someone appreciated your work enough to let affect them emotionally. It’s the greatest compliment to hear, “Garrett, you made me cry with that song.” It means I’ve made someone’s life a little better by sharing my hard work and talent. That is what I live for.
- Ideal scene partner: Honestly, it was so much fun to do “The Confrontation” with my classmate, Danny Miller. But I would love to sing it with Alfie Boe. I am such a fan of that man’s voice and his work in the 25th Anniversary recording of Les Misérables was phenomenal. It would be such an experience to perform with him.
- Favorite moment from your show: If I was forced to pick from the among the millions I’d probably say performing “The Epilogue on closing night. I remember entering from underneath the bridge I had thrown myself off of just scenes before, my head whirling with emotions. During that song, I reflected on the entire process and realized how much change I had gone through personally as a result of joining the family that is the Arvada West Theatre Company. I remember glancing to either side of me and seeing tears streaming down all of my friends’ faces. The emotion and power of that performance topped anything I’d ever experienced.
- Fun moment when something went wrong: My police-officer uniform had a flap on the front, which was sewn on one side and had Velcro on the other. After the prologue, I had to do a quick costume change to go back out and play a street urchin, and with the urgency of my costume change on my mind, I ran to the dressing room and promptly tore the flap clean off of the front of my police uniform. I now had an official-looking trapezoid of cloth in my hand and a very plain-looking blue tailcoat on my body. I knew I had to be onstage quickly, so I completed my costume change and pounded on the girls’ dressing room door like there was a fire. They told me I was safe, so I opened the door, mumbled, “ItoremyflapoffcansomeonegosewitbackonIgottabeonstagethanks!” and closed the door. Thankfully they were able to decode my panicked slur – and the audience never found out about it.
- What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? Javert has been my dream role ever since I found out about Les Mis my freshman year. To be cast in such an important role almost blindly was such an honor, and I was determined not to let anyone in the production down.
- How does it feel to be nominated? I was extremely surprised when Ms. Welsh read my name. I did not expect to be nominated alongside someone with so much talent as our Jean Valjean, who was also nominated. I definitely owe thanks to my directors for having the faith to cast me despite never really having seen me act before.
- What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing arts are the quickest way to get a gigantic circle of friends. Also, if you don’t want the pressure of being onstage or in the pit, there’s always a need for crewmembers to run the show behind the scenes, and you will still have the same bonding experiences with your friends that all those onstage do. I absolutely love it, and I think you will, too.
- What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? Arts education and extra-curricular activities save lives. I’ve learned that being a part of something larger than yourself helps you mature, and gives you productive outlets for you pain and sorrow. That’s definitely what theatre and choir are for me.
- Last word: Thank you so much for the nomination. I’m so honored to be considered for this prestigious award.
Moritz Stiefel, Spring Awakening
Denver School of the Arts
Class of 2016
- College plans: London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
- Your Director: Shawn Hann
- First role: I was the Mayor of MunchkinLand in The Wizard of Oz in the 6th Grade at Campus Middle School.
- Why do you perform? I had an obsession with The Wizard of Oz my entire childhood. My older brother loved Pokémon and G.I. Joes, and I just loved Oz. I would parade around saying I’d be the Scarecrow when I grew up. So of course, when the middle school announced the spring musical of The Wizard of Oz, my mother made me audition. The rest is history. Theatre has become my form of expression. It’s the human connection through this work. We all have rich pain and emotion – and in this art form, we’re able to understand others.
- Ideal scene partner: The first of many to come to mind is Jessica Lange. I have so much respect for the woman. She’s one of the bravest and most powerful artists I can think of, so to do a scene with her would be unreal. More specifically, to play her son, Edmund, in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, would be the dream.
- Favorite moment from your show: Absolutely, it was saying the line, “I’m ready now: I’ll be an angel.” During that line, I’m on my knees collecting the lilies that llse dropped, and by the end come to the realization that I really am ready. And then I’d take a big breath of the flowers, carefully set them down and then pull out the gun. It was raw and terrifying and beautiful.
- Fun moment when something went wrong: We had this wonderful moment during an evening performance where my good friend Jimmy Bruenger, who was playing Hanschen, forgot the gun to hand me at the end of the song And Then There Were None. It’s essential to that moment for the gun to appear, and the second the lights shifted into the final chords: he bolted off stage-right and vanished. As each of the other boys made their exits, Jimmy, from the corner of my eye, came charging through the stage door and then stopped dead right at the last foot of wall protecting him from view of the audience. Then, as confident as ever, he strolled on and threw the gun in my hand. It was thrilling.
- What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This became my dream role in the fall of my freshman year. I wanted nothing more than to play Moritz, and the last thing I could have ever imagined was playing him for my senior musical. It was the biggest deal for me, and it felt so right. I never doubted what he was to me, and where he lived in me. My little Moritz is a huge part of me.
- How does it feel to be nominated? It is unreal to me, and such an incredible, incredible honor. In the 10th grade, I was in Cherry Creek High School’s Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and performing at the Bobby G Awards that year as a finalist for Outstanding Musical was the biggest nomination I thought I’d ever come across. I could have never anticipated being nominated myself two years later.
- What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? I’d say this is the single most important thing in the world. It teaches you what it means to be human. There’s something seriously missing from the boy or girl who is not in the arts. It allows you to feel. There are so many moments in this life when we have to step into the fear, and the moment you’re slightly uncomfortable is the moment you’re living. You must be brave. If you’re even the tiniest bit interested in something: Pull the thread. Investigate it. You owe it to yourself to be open to everything.
- What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities at your school? It taught me how important it is to push the bill. Our wonderful principal doesn’t believe in the censorship of art, and we were so fortunate to have his blessing to perform full version of Spring Awakening. Arts education frees you completely. It gives you the ability to process heavy depression or intense delight and really feel those things, but be OK. This show was my biggest challenge yet, but it helped me to understand my emotions and how to deal with them. It taught me that through the darkness, there is always light.
Jean Valjean, Les Misérables
Arvada West High School
Class of 2016
- College plans: Majoring in classical voice at the University of Northern Colorado
- Your Director: Lindsey Welsh
- First role: It was back in 2014, when I was cast to play The Phantom in Arvada West’s production of Phantom of the Opera
- Why do you perform? For the joy of meeting new friends I can call my family. And to share music with the world.
- Ideal scene partner: Ramine Karimloo is my idol. I love his work, and it would be a dream to work with him. He’s my inspiration.
- Fun moment when something went wrong, and how you bounced back: I forget words and flip lyrics around, and once I forgot the words to “Alive,” a song in Jekyll and Hyde – and I did not bounce back at all. I literally sang the rest of the song in something like growls and grunts.
- Favorite moment from your show: The slight moments of silence after singing the last glimmering note of your song.
- What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? This was a euphoric dream. It was unreal. I couldn’t have been more excited to be playing the same role as my idols.
- How does it feel to be nominated? Being nominated again is truly a humbling and scary opportunity. I’m so excited!
- What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Fake it till you make it, be confident in your ability to succeed.
- What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? It’s enlightening, and I think everyone should have a chance to do live theatre. It really expands your mind to its limits.
Nathan Detroit, Guys & Dolls
Fairview High School
Class of 2016
- College plans: Studying International Affairs and Theatre at George Washington University
- Your Directors: Janice Vlachos and Lanny Boyer
- First role: I played Bully the bullfrog in Bully the Bullfrog, The Musical. I was 6, and in the 1st grade.
- Why do you perform? To help people to escape from daily lives, and provide that same kind of escape for myself.
- Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Emma Watson, because she seems like such a fun person to work with. Plus just meeting her would be awesome.
- Favorite moment from your show: Every day, I got to ad-lib a little bit while Adelaide (Carrie Douglass) had a quick-change. Getting to improvise every performance was such a blast.
- What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It meant I could fully immerse myself in my character’s life and for a few hours each day get to live life from his perspective.
- How does it feel to be nominated? Appreciated and honored.
- What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? You will be challenged so much in so many ways, but all of these challenges will shape your life in such a positive way. Do not pass up the opportunity to live the life of another and to carry people away from the turmoil of their everyday lives.
Emmett Forrest, Legally Blonde, The Musical
Durango High School
Class of 2018
- College plans: I’m a sophomore
- Your Director: Ben Mattson
- First role: I was a flyboy in the musical Neville at the Durango Arts Center when I was 5 years old.
- Why do you perform? Because I love how much you can discover about yourself and your life by portraying someone else. I love sharing the wonderful art of performance, and I love the home, the family, and the trust a theatre creates.
- Ideal scene partner: I would love to do a scene with Brian D’arcy James because he is a phenomenal actor and so versatile and seems like such a fun genuine guy.
- Favorite moment from your show: I very much enjoyed Elle’s proposal at the end. (Spoiler!)
- Fun moment when something went wrong: I ran on-stage after a very hectic off-stage incident getting my mic checked and – fully committed and 100 percent serious – I called to Elle, but Elle didn’t come out of my mouth. Instead, I said, “SAM!!!!” I said, “Man I’m stressed out, Elle, what are you doing here?” and continued on. It was real smooth.
- What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It’s such an amazing experience to work with a cast and put on a show. I just don’t know how to describe it. It’s an amazing feeling.
- How does it feel to be nominated? Unreal. I came to the Bobby G Awards last year and watched my brother (Evatt Salinger) win for Outstanding Actor. I watched the guys, dreaming I could be one of them someday. That dream is coming true, and it’s exhilarating.
- What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? It is so much fun. You get so much support. You develop a place in your school where you can go for help with anything. The only negative aspect is it’s really time-consuming. But putting in long hours doing something you love, in my opinion, is worth it.
- What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? The diverse group of friends you make from all grade levels is something that makes life in school so much easier. The performing arts at our school is so important to so many people and it develops a family that you’d never expect from a school environment. Arts education is essential, and should never be taken for granted.
- Last word: Guys, it’s hard to do theatre. I get that. But it’s also extremely fun. Don’t let negativity and scorn discourage you from pursuing something you’re passionate about. It’s also extremely important that you’re not afraid to cry or show emotions. Never lose touch of your feelings, or yourself.
Curtis Sallinger celebrated his brother Evatt’s victory as Outstanding Actor at last year’s Bobby G Awards with a body lift. This year, Curtis is nominated as a sophomore. Photo by Emily Lozow for the DCPA NewsCenter.
Bobby G Awards: Ticket information
Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists
2015-16 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete list Bobby G Awards a triumph for Durango High School Video: Outstanding Actor Nominee Performances Video: Bobby G Award winners sing National Anthem at Rockies game Video: The Acceptance Speeches
Video: A look at Durango’s Outstanding Musical, Les Misérables
Photos: The 2015 Bobby G Awards. (Download for free)
Andre’ Rodriguez’s stirring Bobby G Awards speech
Video: See how we introduced all 30 participating schools
Video: Page to Stage highlights with Bobby G Awards winners
Meet your Bobby G Awards nominees, in their own words
Video: Coloradans on Broadway to high-schoolers: ‘Be relentlessly yourself’