ST. LOUIS (Dec. 13, 2016) – The dazzling lights of Broadway will shine brightly when Broadway stars Taylor Louderman and Ken Page perform as part of the star-studded entertainment line-up at the 26th annual St. Louis Arts Awards, on Mon., Jan. 23 at the Chase Park Plaza.
Page will oversee the festivities as emcee of the area’s preeminent event that salutes individuals, businesses and organizations that achieve a legacy of artistic excellence and enrich the city’s arts and cultural community. The North County Big Band will also perform under the direction of Riverview Gardens Band Director Harvey Lockhart, this year’s Art Educator of the Year honoree. The band’s pianist, Royce Martin, winner of the 2016 St. Louis Teen Talent Competition, and a junior at Grand Center Arts Academy, will also perform.
In addition to Lockhart, this year’s honorees include: Steven Woolf, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis, Lifetime Achievement in the Arts; Mike Isaacson, The Muny and Fox Theatricals, Excellence in the Arts; Mildred Lane Kemper Art Museum, Excellence in the Arts; Pianos for People, Arts Innovator; Jim and Cathy Berges, The Berges Family Foundation, Excellence in Philanthropy; and U.S. Bank, Corporate Support of the Arts.
Louderman, who made her debut as Margot in “Legally Blonde” at The Muny, and her Broadway debut as head cheerleader Campbell in “Bring It On: The Musical” in 2012, most recently appeared as Wendy Darling in the 2015 NBC musical production of “Peter Pan Live.” The Sullivan, Missouri, native also starred opposite Luke Perry in “Alice Upside Down” (2007). The following year she appeared in Wyatt Weeds “Shadowland.” Following her stage debut at the Ozark Actors’ Theatre in Rolla, Missouri, when she was 10, Louderman began pursuing theatrical opportunities in St. Louis, becoming a member of both Team Stages and Muny Teens, often making the drive to rehearsals and performances after a day of classes at Sullivan High School. She majored in musical theater at the University of Michigan.
Audience members will also be treated to selections by Page known as the voice of Mr. Oogie Boogie in Tim Burton’s cult classic film, “The Nightmare Before Christmas.” He also starred in London’s West End original cast of Stephen Schwartz’s musical “Children of Eden.” The native St. Louisan made his Broadway debut as Nicely-Nicely Johnson in the all-black revival of “Guys and Dolls” for which he received the Theatre World Award. Other Broadway and New York stage credits include the Tony Award-winning musicals “Cats” (starring as Old Deuteronomy in the original Broadway and film productions), “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “The Wiz” (Lion), “The Wizard of Oz” (Cowardly Lion). Film credits include “Dreamgirls” (Max Washington), “Torch Song Trilogy” (Murray), and “All Dogs Go to Heaven” (voice of King Gator).
Martin, who started playing the piano just two years ago, received his instrument from Pianos for People (Arts Innovator honoree), an organization that connects unwanted pianos to individuals and families who could not otherwise afford one. The Grand Center Arts Academy student had previously played percussion instruments in the school band but asked to switch to piano. He initially taught himself by listening to songs on the radio and watching the hand movements of classical pianists on YouTube. He entered the 2016 Teen Talent Competition because he thought it would be a great opportunity to play at the Fabulous Fox Theater where the event is held. Playing an original piece he composed titled “Safari Nzuri,” Martin not only took first-place honors, he also won the Voss Family Originality Award, the Terry Lynford Classical Music Award and the Audience Choice Award.
Proceeds from the St. Louis Arts Awards event benefit the Arts and Education Council’s annual campaign which funds nearly 70 arts and arts education organizations throughout the 16-county bi-state region. Susan S. Block, founder of the Designing Block, and John H. Russell, senior vice president at Stifel Financial Corporation, are co-chairs. Presenting sponsors include World Wide Technology, Inc. and the Steward Family Foundation; principal sponsors are Edward Jones and Emerson. The stage and entertainment sponsor is Centene Charitable Foundation.
About the Arts and Education Council: The Arts and Education Council (A&E), is the St. Louis region’s United Arts Fund providing financial, technical and educational support for arts organizations. A&E’s mission is to build appreciation, participation and support for arts and arts education throughout the St. Louis community. A&E is the only privately funded arts umbrella organization that serves the 16-county, bi-state St. Louis region. Since its inception in 1963, the Arts and Education Council has raised and distributed more than $100 million in private funding for the arts – a significant contribution that directly impacts the quality of life in our region. With funds raised, the Arts and Education Council annually assists approximately 70 nonprofit arts and arts education organizations. Additionally, the Arts and Education Council provides office, rehearsal and performance space for 16 nonprofit arts organizations in the Centene Center for Arts and Education, a unique arts incubator located in the Grand Center Arts District. A&E meets all 20 Better Business Bureau Charity Standards and has earned the Wise Giving Seal of Approval, a three-star rating from Charity Navigator and a Guidestar Exchange Silver Participant rating.