2014 Rob Guest Endowment Award Winners

2014 Rob Guest Endowment Award Winners

The sixth annual Rob Guest Endowment Award Gala Concert was held at the Capitol Theatre, Sydney last night, October 14. David Spicer reports.

We’re used to seeing our sporting heroes leap for joy and weep when they win the Premiership but rarely is there that sort of euphoria seen in the theatre world.

That type of passion was on display at 2014 Rob Guest Endowment Award Final Gala Concert at the Capitol Theatre in Sydney when Joshua Robson took out first prize.

He ran across the stage and leapt into a giant man hug with the second place getter Andrew Cook.

The standard of the night was scintillating. Judge Todd McKenney remarked that he was glad that he is not at the start of his career having to compete against any of the six finalists.

A number of performances had that X factor which brought a roar of approval from the audience.

The winner Joshua Robson stamped his claim with his performance of ‘Soliloquy’ from Carousel.

Andrew Cook must have been only a hair’s breadth behind him, getting a similar response to his performance of ‘Lonely Room’ from Oklahoma! before flexing his muscles hilariously in  the song ‘Here For You’.

Another stand out was Karla Tonkich who showed amazing dancing skills in ‘Show Off’ from The Drowsy Chaperone and passion in ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ from Evita.

19-year-old Ben Bennett also stamped himself as a star of the future singing ‘Someone Else’s Skin’ from Catch Me If You Can and ‘Corner of the Sky’ from Pippin.

Angela Scundi’s raunchy ‘Mein Herr’ from Cabaret and Monica Swayne’s impassioned ‘Wherever He Ain’t’ from Mack and Mabel marked them down firmly among the cream of Australia’s rising musical theatre talent.

The top six came from 200 hopefuls around Australia. Most of the six finalists were in their mid-twenties and had already completed degrees at WAAPA, or NIDA or the VCA, with a number of professional gigs under their belts.

Joshua Robson took home $20,000 as the first prize, and the runners-up runners up were each awarded $1,500. The inaugural East End Theatre District Artist Development Award, a $5,000 cash prize to a promising young music theatre talent, went to Andrew Cook.

The Playbill Future Prospect Award went to Daniel Assetta, who is currently performing in Wicked. This award is a $1,500 cash prize to a semi-finalist who didn't make the finals but the judges wanted to encourage to return to the competition next year.

This year also saw the introduction of two new categories recognizing further excellence in other fields of musical theatre. The Rob Guest Endowment Technical Award in Honour of Sue Nattrass was won by Isabelle Stadler, who took home a $10,000 cash prize intended to help fund "the tuition and experience needed to help them become a leader in their field".

The Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award, awarded to Isaac Hayward, is intended to similarly help a current musician in the musical theatre. This is a $10,000 cash prize to be used for professional development to further the winner's career.

Image: Joshua Robson. Photographer Kurt Sneddon.



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