Dr. Phillips Center announces 9th Annual Applause Awards honoring outstanding student performers

The Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts revealed the winners of the 2023 Applause Awards, which will be held on June 3 at the Walt Disney Theater.

This marks the ninth year of the event, which recognizes talent in high school musical theater.


Broadway veteran Ray Roderick will direct the awards, hosted by Tony Award-winning Broadway performer LaChanze Sapp.

A panel selected 350 students from 33 schools across the Sunshine State to participate in the awards. The winners will compete for regional scholarships and represent Florida at the Jimmy Awards in New York City.

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The event will feature live performances by winners in the Outstanding Musical category, with the announcement of Outstanding Lead Male and Female Performers. These winners will advance to the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

The Applause Awards will honor Jorge Rayo, Jr. with a special tribute. Jorge was the winner of the 2022 Spirit of Applause Award, but unfortunately passed away last November.

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The Applause Awards also support students interested in behind-the-scenes work. Winners in lighting design, stage management, and orchestras will collaborate with professionals.

Ray Roderick, the director of the show, returns for his second year, alongside the education team at the Dr. Phillips Center. LaChanze Sapp will host the awards.

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Tickets are available starting at $35.

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