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The DPAC Rising Star Awards is a program designed to celebrate outstanding achievements in high school musical theater throughout Central, North Carolina. The program focuses attention on the meaningful work being done both on and off stage by dedicated teachers and students.


The DPAC Rising Star Awards ceremony took place at DPAC on May 9, 2024. The event featured twenty student finalists as they competed live for the chance to advance to the Jimmy Awards in New York City. In addition to these top twenty student finalists, roughly 50 additional students representing each participating area high school performed in the Opening and Closing numbers this year. Throughout the course of the evening, 11 awards were presented recognizing excellence in a broad range of categories. Last years’ Best Actress, Lilly Pritchard, and Best Actor, Noah Colvin, returned to DPAC to perform and to announce this year’s winning students who will go on to compete nationally. The event was hosted by Clay Aiken, and adjudicated by an esteemed panel of judges comprised of Tony nominated Alan Campell, Broadway veteran Chauntee’ Schuler Irving and Talent Agent Terri Dollar.

Congratulations to all of our 2024 winners and finalists. Tune in to the Jimmy Awards® on Monday, June 24 to support The DPAC Rising Star Awards Best Actress, Alex Fluker and Best Actor, Conor Kruger!

Check out the below "Behind the Scenes" video by Root Media.


2024 Student Finalists and Winners

Student Winners

·        BEST ACTOR WINNER: Conor Kruger, Enloe High School, Les Misérables, Jean Valjean

·        BEST ACTRESS WINNER: Alex Fluker , Panther Creek High School, Into The Woods, The Witch

·        BEST DANCER WINNER: Audrey Lewis, Needham B. Broughton High School

·        THE DPAC SHINING STAR WINNER: David Hatcher, Panther Creek High School


Best Actor Nominees

·        Aidan Armstrong , Weaver Academy, Something Rotten!, Will Shakespeare

·        Aydan Eatchel , Longleaf School of the Arts, Les Misérables, Marius

·        Dylan Georges, Green Level High School, The Lightning Thief, Grover

·        Ryan Gregory , Enloe High School, Les Misérables, Marius

·        David Hatcher , Panther Creek High School, Into The Woods, The Baker

·        Harrison “Nate” Jones , Durham School of the Arts, Into The Woods, The Baker

·        Isaiah Knight, Heritage High School, The Addams Family, Fester

·        Conor Kruger , Enloe High School, Les Misérables, Jean Valjean

·        Max Templeton , Needham B. Broughton High School, 9 to 5, Franklin Hart Jr.

·        Amari James Wynne, Longleaf School of the Arts, The Wiz, The Lion


Best Actress Nominees

·        Riley Auman , Durham Academy, Into The Woods, The Witch

·        Alex Fluker , Panther Creek High School, Into The Woods, The Witch

·        Audrey Lewis, Needham B. Broughton High School, 9 to 5, Doralee Rhodes

·        Emma Gaddy , Enloe High School, Les Misérables, Fantine

·        Trinity Hall , RJ Reynolds High School, Mamma Mia!, Donna Sheridan

·        Danica Laan , CE Jordan High School, Beauty and the Beast, Lumiere

·        Sabine Langer , Weaver Academy, Something Rotten!, Bea Bottom

·        Gabriella Martínez , Apex Friendship High School, The Addams Family, Wednesday Addams

·        Mary Mask , Carrboro High School, Anything Goes, Reno Sweeny

·        Miley Perrott , Wakefield High School, Guys and Dolls, Miss Adelaide

2024 Production Category Finalists and Winners


·       WINNER: Enloe High School, Les Misérables

·       Durham Academy, Into The Woods

·       Carrboro High School, Anything Goes

·       Heritage High School, SIX: Teen Edition

·       Apex Friendship High School, The Addams Family

·       Panther Creek High School, Into The Woods

·       Weaver Academy, Something Rotten


·       WINNER: Weaver Academy, Something Rotten

·       Enloe High School, Les Misérables

·       RJ Reynolds High School, MAMMA MIA!

·       Apex Friendship High School, The Addams Family

·       Durham School of the Arts, Into The Woods

·       Western Harnett High School, The SpongeBob Musical


·       WINNER: Knightdale High School, The SpongeBob Musical

·       West Johnston High School, Beauty and the Beast

·       Green Level High School, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

·       Durham Academy, Into The Woods

·       Enloe High School, Les Misérables

·       Durham School of the Arts, Into The Woods


·       WINNER: Apex Friendship High School, The Addams Family

·       Heritage High School, The Addams Family

·       Carrboro High School, Anything Goes

·       Knightdale High School, The SpongeBob Musical

·       Enloe High School, Les Misérables

·       Weaver Academy, Something Rotten


·       WINNER: Durham School of the Arts, Into The Woods

·       Clayton High School, High School Musical

·       Enloe High School, Les Miserables

·       Apex Friendship High School, The Addams Family

·       Carrboro High School, Anything Goes

·       Jordan-Matthews High School, Frozen: The Broadway Musical


·       WINNER: Green Level High School, The Lighting Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

·       Durham School of the Arts, Into The Woods

·       Durham Academy, Into The Woods

·       South Garner High School, Footloose

·       Clayton High School, High School Musical

·       Enloe High School, Les Misérables


·       WINNER: Carrboro High School, Anything Goes

·       Longleaf School of the Arts, The Wiz

·       Wake Forest High School, MAMMA MIA!

·       Green Level High School, The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

·       Wakefield High School, Guys and Dolls

·       Millbrook High School, Singin’ In The Rain


Meet The Directors

Director of Choreography: Freddie-Lee Heath is a dancer/teacher/choreographer with over 100 shows to his credit having traveled extensively across the United States. He is thrilled to work with these young artists!

Acting Director: David Henderson is an actor, producer and director from Raleigh. He is the founder and co-Artistic Director of Honest Pint Theatre Company. It is an honor to work with these amazing young artists!

Music Director: Mark Hopper is the Executive and Artistic Director of McGregor Hall Performing Arts Center in Henderson.  He has credits both as a director and a musical director for over 50 shows in the southeast, most recently with Raleigh Little Theatre, NRACT, and NC State University. 

Meet The Ceremony Judges

With incredibly impressive resumes, not only will our Ceremony Judges bring a wealth of experience to the table, they are also huge supporters of the performing arts and arts education.  Join us at DPAC on May 9 to watch these three adjudicate live as they select the two students who will advance to compete nationally this spring at the Jimmy Awards® in NYC.

Alan Campbell is a Tony nominated actor known for his versatility. Over his forty plus year career, Alan has enjoyed featured roles on stage, film, television and in concert. His many credits include Broadway musicals, Off-Broadway and regional musicals and drama, feature and indy films, as well as costarring roles in television drama, comedy, and daytime.

Chauntee’ Schuler Irving is an Assistant Professor of the Practice of Theater Studies at Duke University and a Broadway actor with over twenty years of experience in the industry and the classroom. She is currently guest starring as Maria Cross in the upcoming Amazon Prime TV series Cross and has trained with The Actors’ Studio Drama School, The Barrow Group Theater Company, and The Ailey School prior to receiving her MFA in Theatre Pedagogy from Virginia Commonwealth University. She is a proud member of AEA and SAG- AFTRA. chauntee.com

Terri Dollar is a Talent Agency Owner and Agent with KU Talent Agency in Raleigh, NC.  A former professional actor and teacher, Terri spent over 2 decades helping build the arts scene in Downtown Raleigh as the Program Director of Artsplosure the Raleigh Arts Festival. Terri is an enthusiastic champion of helping young people in the arts, including being one of the directors of the Raleigh Medal of Arts Winning Group S.T.A.R. (Special Theatre Arts Raleigh).

Meet The Student Production Team

Each of these high school students will play a huge role backstage and behind the scenes, and they'll be crucial to helping the awards show run smoothly on DPAC’s stage this May.

Production Stage Manager – Kiersten Sico (Senior at Apex Friendship High School)

Production & Talent Manager – Alex Glass (Senior at Longleaf School of the Arts)

Assistant Stage Manager – Sarah Keller (Junior at Apex Friendship High School)

Best Actor Talent Coordinator – Nate Baker-Sample (Junior at Millbrook High School)

Best Actress Talent Coordinator – Sasha Wolfrum (Sophomore at Durham School of the Arts)

Opening Number Talent Coordinators – Ronni Brockenbrough (Sophomore at Enloe High School) and Yacciri Castillo-Mendez (Senior at Southern School of Energy and Sustainability)

2024 Awards Categories


  • Best Actor
  • Best Actress
  • Best Dancer 
  • The DPAC Shining Star


  • Best Ensemble
  • Best Musical
  • Best Costume Design
  • Best Student Orchestra
  • Best Set Design
  • Best Choreography
  • Best Lighting Design

2023/2024 Participating Musicals

Needham B. Broughton High School - 9 to 5: The Musical

Garner Magnet High School - Aida: School Edition

Carrboro High School - Anything Goes (2022 Revision)

CE Jordan High School - Disney's Beauty and the Beast

West Johnston High School - Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Harnett Central High School - Disney's Beauty and the Beast

Jordan-Matthews High School - Disney's Frozen: The Broadway Musical

South Garner High School - Footloose The Musical

Wakefield High School - Guys and Dolls

Clayton High School - High School Musical

Durham School of the Arts - Into the Woods

Durham Academy - Into the Woods

Penn-Griffin School for the Arts - Into the Woods

Panther Creek High School - Into the Woods

Longleaf School of the Arts - Les Misérables

Enloe High School - Les Misérables School Edition

Seaforth High School - Little Shop of Horrors

Athens Drive Magnet High School - Little Women

Wake Forest High School - Mamma Mia!

RJ Reynolds High School - Mamma Mia!

Heritage High School - Matilda the Musical

Oak Grove High School - Matilda the Musical

Christ Covenant School - Newsies The Musical

Millbrook High School - Singin' in the Rain

Southern School of Energy and Sustainability - Sister Act

Heritage High School - Six: Teen Addition

Weaver Academy for the Performing Arts - Something Rotten

Apex Friendship High School - The Addams Family

Heritage High School - The Addams Family

Green Level High School - The Lightning Thief: The Percy Jackson Musical

Knightdale High School - The SpongeBob Musical

Western Harnett High School - The SpongeBob Musical

Longleaf School of the Arts - The Wiz

Ravenscroft - You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown (Revised)

Opening Number Invitation

Each participating school will be invited to send two (2) student representatives to perform in the Opening Number at The DPAC Rising Star Awards. School representatives will be asked to determine who those two students are by April 16, 2024. DPAC will send an email to each school representative in early April with instructions on how to submit these two selected students. 

Opening Number rehearsals are mandatory for these specially selected students. These rehearsals are scheduled for April 20 and April 21, 2024. 

Only two representatives from each school will be invited. If your school is submitting more than one musical this year, you will not be eligible to submit additional students. This opportunity is for each participating school, not each participating musical. It is up to each school to determine how these students are selected. 

Visual Arts in partnership with Durham Art Guild

NEW THIS YEAR! The DPAC Rising Star Awards has partnered with Durham Art Guild to celebrate achievements made by high school visual art students. Over twenty students from participating high schools were selected to have their work featured in a pop-up gallery in DPAC's lobby at The DPAC Rising Star Awards on May 9, 2024. 

Learn More: https://www.durhamartguild.org/dpac

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