Meet your 2016 Bobby G Awards Outstanding Actress Finalists

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 Actress.  The winner will advance to represent Colorado at the national Jimmy Awards in New York City.  

Glenwood Springs


Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes
Glenwood Springs High School
Class of 2017 

  • College plans: Pursuing a performing-arts degree
  • Your Director: Kate McRaith 
  • First role: Oh, man. The first role I played was a cabbage in my elementary school play. I stuffed some green burlap with newspaper and sang “R-E-S-P-E-C-T” by Aretha Franklin and did the can-can. I was pretty proud about that one! 
  • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? I feel at home and powerful on stage. I am my best self, love the people I have met and love the audience-performer relationship. There is so much love put into a show and a character – that is what I find so amazing. 
  • Ideal scene partner: I would love to perform with Lin-Manuel Miranda, who is playing Alexander Hamilton in Hamilton on Broadway. I think any part of that would be amazing. It is such an original piece of work that has changed the way I see rap music and American history. 
  • Fun moment when something went wrong: When I was in 7th grade, I played Ms. Hannigan in Annie. Ms. Hannigan is a little raunchy, so I was wearing these tall heels. Of course, I fell. It was very embarrassing. But the character is supposed to be a little tipsy through the entire show, so I played it off in that way.
  • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role?  So much. When I started to educate myself on the show and its characters, I connected with Reno immediately. She not only is sexy, beautiful and has amazing songs, she has a dynamic about her that makes her such a deep character.  
  • Favorite moment from your show: Anything involving the full cast. I always feel so loved and appreciated by them, and a rehearsal can change any of my bad days. It was times like the after-show dinners at Village Inn, and the full-cast rehearsals that I remember most. I love my theater family. 
  • How does it feel to be nominated? So humbling. I am thankful for all the adults and students who help and encourage me. I am stunned at the support of my community and friends. I feel so loved.  
  • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing arts have truly changed my life. I have learned so much about myself and what I am capable of doing. As far as nerves, I always say that when you are on stage, it is your job to have a great time and do your best. I always have to tell myself that I am in control of where I spend my energy, so if you put all that energy toward knocking the audience out of their seats, then you are golden.
  • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? I always found that it was so important to have extracurricular opportunities. But after this, I value it even more. It is essential that not only programs are present, but students have opportunities to shine within them. 
  • Last word: Thank you to Mom, Dad, Papa, and all the friends back home who have supported me whole heartedly. You know who you are, and I hope you know I am so thankful for you. 


Steamboat Springs


Elle Woods, Legally Blonde, The Musical
Steamboat Springs High School
Class of 2017

  • Postgraduate plans: Performing at Disney World
  • Your Director: Jamie Oberhansly
  • First role: I was cast in first grade as Ngana in South Pacific!
  • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? It’s what I love, and I always feel at home when I am onstage.
  • Ideal scene partner: I would love to act with Lily James because I love Cinderella, and the remake she was in was amazing.
  • Favorite moment from your show: This show was definitely packed full of some great memories but for sure closing night was the best with everyone just leaving everything out on the stage and the energy was so high. My vocal chords were so shot, so I would be backstage pantomiming everything. It got to the point where people just stopped asking me questions so they didn’t have a butchered, full body-sign language response!
  • Fun moment when something went wrong: I broke a snap on my dress that I change into on stage during dress rehearsal. And then, come opening night, we forgot to fix it. I just crossed the fabric over itself hoping nobody would see the pink dress underneath before I changed.
  • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It was such a humbling experience. I couldn’t have asked for a better cast and crew to help me with my first leading role.
  • How does it feel to be nominated? This is the most amazing feeling in the world. I couldn’t be more on cloud nine!
  • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Go for it, and if it doesn’t work out, then  find something new. And if it does work out, get ready for the most incredible experience ever!
  • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? We are so fortunate to have such an amazing director. Even though we may not get funding from the school, we always find a way to keep the arts alive in our community.
  • Last word: A big thanks to anyone who has helped put on the Bobby G Awards. This truly is a great opportunity for everyone who is fortunate enough to participate in it.



Charity Hope Valentine, Sweet Charity
Ponderosa High School
Class of 2016

  • College plans: University of Northern Colorado
  • Your Director: Kelly Cole 
  • First role: I was The Aristocats for a Christian Youth Theatre summer-camp production in 5th grade. I played the role of Abigail the Goose.
  • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? Because it is my passion. I enjoy the process of becoming another character, and escaping my own life for a little while. 
  • Ideal scene partner: It would probably be Eddie Redmayne. I think he is an amazing performer, and he puts so much passion into all of his work. I would learn a lot from him. 
  • Favorite moment from your show: When I was in the elevator with Oscar. It was a hilarious scene, and it took everything I had not to break character.
  • Fun moment when something went wrong: I had several quick-changes throughout this show. One of the most difficult was one where I had to get out of a dress and character shoes, and into a blouse, skirt and go-go boots – in about 30 seconds. One night, for some reason, my dress zipper got stuck, and I couldn’t get out of it. We struggled with the zipper for all of 30 seconds until we had to literally rip the dress to get it off. When I went to put the skirt on, that zipper wouldn’t work, either. At that point, my scene partner had been improvising for a good minute. I decided I needed to enter, so I walked on holding my blouse closed with one hand, and holding my skirt up with the other! 
  • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? It was very exciting to get to play a role that not only fit my vocal range, but had the stage time of an ingénue, and the personality of a character. Charity is quirky and sweet – and was a blast to play. 
  • How does it feel to be nominated? I am so honored to have the opportunity to represent my school at this event. 
  • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? The performing-arts community is an extremely accepting and supportive group of people. There are so many different roles, both backstage and onstage that you are sure to find something you enjoy. 
  • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? Much of the education that occurs in high school happens in extracurricular activities. Within the arts, there are opportunities for leadership, cooperation and problem-solving that provide great learning experiences.




Sarah Brown, Guys & Dolls

Fairview High School
Class of 2016

  • College plans: Studying Neuroscience at Washington University in St. Louis
  • Your Directors: Janice Vlachos and Lanny Boyer
  • First role: Baby Judy Garland at age 4 at Riverside Theatre Works in Boston
  • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? It allows me to create other characters and step into their shoes for a moment.
  • Ideal scene partner: Johnny Depp. He always stretches the boundaries of his abilities and the characters he plays.  I swear, he can play anything. He is just an amazing actor.
  • Favorite moment from your show: The Havana Scene. The fight has such high energy because there are so many moments happening all over the stage. I get a bit tipsy in the scene and start climbing the tables and fighting off other people.  
  • When life throws you lemons: We moved when I was entering 5th grade. I had a theatre home and was just feeling really good about myself and my friends when my parents told me we were moving to Colorado.  y mom assured me she would find another theatre group for me to be involved in. She kept to her word, but it was still difficult to make the move.  We moved to Boulder, where there were lots of opportunities to be involved in the arts, and Fairview was probably strongest in its music and theatre programs. Academically, too, which was important to me.  I found my way again, and it has been the better than I could have ever dreamed.
  • How does it feel to be nominated? I’m in shock, and thrilled, and incredibly humbled by the recognition. I’m equally excited that our show was nominated for Outstanding Musical. We had such a united energy as a cast, and I’m glad it was recognized.
  • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? Just try it. The arts will change your life. And remember, no one starts out knowing how to be spectacular on stage.  It is a learning process, and you are supposed to be unsure at first. For then, there is only room for improvement.
  • Last word: I am eternally grateful to my teachers at Fairview for their guidance and support.  They have pushed me to be my very best, and have held my hand the whole way. I am also blessed with a family who love the performing arts as much as I do, and have always been my greatest fans.  I’m off to college next year to pursue my love of science, but I know I will be somehow be involved in the performing arts as well. I understand that for me to be a whole person, I need to nourish both sides of my brain and soul.  It will be an incredible journey – even though I’m a bit nervous.


Mountain View


Reno Sweeney, Anything Goes
Mountain View High School
Class of 2016

  • College plans: Attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York
  • Your Director: Katie Marshall
  • First role: I was five years old and in kindergarten. It was just a small play written by my teacher, but I loved it nonetheless. The next was in my sophomore year of high school, when I was 15 and I was cast in the ensemble of Shrek the Musical.
  • Bobby G Awards 2016 quoteWhy do you perform? Because it is what I love to do, and it allows me to be myself. I am allowed to be unique, and I am accepted for being different. When I become another character, I become a better version of myself, and it inspires me every time I am on stage or reading a script. Performing is my home.
  • Ideal scene partner: I would love to be in a scene with Sutton Foster because she inspires me, and her work is so diverse. She engulfs herself in so many different roles that I think acting with her would not only be an amazing time but also a great experience.
  • Favorite moment from your show: I had actually been nervous about Opening Night from the very first rehearsal. But when the time came, the nerves were gone. Instead, I remember being backstage waiting for places to be called, and I could hardly contain my excitement. I was standing behind the curtain waiting for the music to begin and the energy I felt was exponential. Then the lights came up, the curtains opened and I heard the roaring thunder of a sold-out auditorium. Even now I can’t explain the feeling it gave me. I couldn’t stop thinking about how excited I was for people to see the hard work we all had put into this. I wasn’t just excited for myself, but for my castmates as well. They had all worked so hard and it was finally everyone’s time to shine. The energy and the applause, the smiles and the laughter really fed the show that night. It was such an unexplainably impacting show. I never wanted it to end.
  • Fun moment when something went wrong: Once during “Friendship,” Moonface and I got carried away in the improv dialogue in the song and we missed a vocal cue from the pit. But we just hopped right back on time with each other and finished out the song like it had never happened. The crowd didn’t notice, but we did.
  • What did it mean for you to be cast in this role? I was speechless. I had dreamed of playing Reno, but I never believed it would come true. I was so humbled to play her, and I worked so hard to carry out the role.
  • How does it feel to be nominated? I was sitting around with my fellow castmates that day, waiting for the results to be posted. When I heard the news I lost all control of my sanity. I screamed; I jumped; I ran to hug my directors. That turned into joyous laughter and eventually tears began to form in my eyes because I was just so excited to be presented this incredible opportunity.
  • What would you say to a younger student who might be nervous or unsure about participating in the performing arts? I was honestly terrified to join the performing arts, but I decided to just go for it, and I have never once regretted it. My biggest advice is that it’s OK to be yourself and, in fact, participating in the performing arts is actually a great way to get over any fears you might have. The performing arts are a great place to find yourself, be goofy, be silly, love loud and live passionately. I promise you will never regret it as long as you try. Our biggest regrets are not the things we did do, but the things we didn’t do.
  • What has this experience taught you about the value of arts education and extracurricular activities? This experience has taught me how important the performing arts are to the students in schools and carrying out the arts in our communities. Through our musical, we were able to meet many new members of the community through small performances we would do in senior centers and middle schools. Our show gave us something to strive for. For many of us, it turned out to be our saving grace. It is the one thing I look forward to doing every day.
  • Last word: I just want to say how grateful I am that I get to experience the Bobby G Awards and that I am part of this incredible community.


Previous 2016 Outstanding Musical Nominee profiles:
Cherry Creek High School
Fairview High School
Mountain View High School

Denver School of the Arts
Arvada West High School

Bobby G Awards: Ticket information

  • Thursday, May 26
  • Buell Theatre 
  • 7 p.m.
  • Tickets: 303-893-4100 or BUY ONLINE
  • Selected recent NewsCenter coverage of the Bobby G Awards:
    2016 Bobby G Award nominations: The complete listBobby 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’
    2014-15 Bobby G Awards: Complete list of nominations 

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