News Release – DPAC Presents Triangle Rising Stars Virtual Showcase and Awards Show

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                               

Press Contact:

Josette Roten



Triangle Rising Stars

Virtual Showcase and Awards Show

With special guest host, CLAY AIKEN

March 23, 2020 (Durham, N.C.)  DPAC is proud to invite high school students from across Central and Eastern North Carolina to participate in the first ever Triangle Rising Stars Virtual Showcase and Awards Show.  A qualifying competition for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA), this exceptional regional event will take place virtually May 20, 2020.

Students may now fill out a Triangle Rising Stars Application Form to be considered for Best Actor or Best Actress.  All details regarding the application process can be found here.  DPAC encourages all local students who are interested to apply.  This year’s virtual ceremony makes participation more accessible to a wider range of schools and their students.  The deadline to submit an application form is Monday, April 5th, 2021.

Triangle Rising Stars is open to public and private high schools students in the Triangle and surrounding areas.  To be eligible for the 2021 virtual ceremony, all students must choose a role from a musical on a list of qualified productions provided by The Broadway League.  The current qualifying lead roles can be found at or by clicking here.

Triangle Rising Stars

Triangle Rising Stars recognizes the outstanding achievements of area high school students and their musical theatre productions.  The top-20 finalists will perform select songs for a chance to be named the Triangle Rising Stars – Best Actor andBest Actress.

Triangle native and singer/actor, Clay Aikenwill once again return as guest host.  With years of experience stretching from theworld’s concert stages to Broadway, Aiken brings a diverse repertoire of skills and knowledge to this host role, further enhancing the experience for each participant and guest.

Triangle Rising Stars is made possible with support from our community partners, which include McGregor Hall, Root Media, and Honest Pint Theatre Co.

“I am excited by the incredible inclusiveness that a virtual Triangle Rising Stars will offer our community,” says Megan Rindoks, Community Engagement Manager at DPAC. “This year, students who might not have a theater program at their schools will be able to apply, and students will not be limited by the musical production that their school selects.  I cannot wait to meet these talented theater students this spring and watch them shine!”

As the official Central and Eastern North Carolina qualifying event for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA), Triangle Rising Stars Best Actor and Actress winners each receive a $1,000 scholarship and are invited to compete in the virtual national competition in late June/early July of 2021. 

National Competition

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) is the year-end culmination of awards programs across the country presented by dozens of professional theatre organizations just like DPAC. Finalists competing in the national virtual ceremony were first named Best Actress or Best Actor at a regional competition, representing over 40 cities.

Prior to the virtual National High School Musical Theatre Awards (NHSMTA) ceremony, participants experience a week of private coaching, auditions and rehearsals with theatre professionals. Their week’s journey concludes with a panel of industry experts selecting exceptional students for The Jimmy® for Best Performance by an Actress and Actor. Students receive opportunities for merit scholarships, professional advancement, and other prizes. The Jimmy Award is named in honor ofJames M. Nederlander, legendary Broadway theatre owner and producer.


Mirroring the mission of the National High School Musical Theatre Awards, Triangle Rising Stars (TRS) is a regional celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theatre that recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance, and acting performance, and honors teachers and their schools’ commitment to performing arts education. TRS focuses much needed attention on the meaningful work being done by dedicated teachers and students with wide ranging talents on and off the stage, engages families in the activities of their children, ignites new partnerships between theatres and the schools in their area, and contributes to the development of future audiences for live performing arts in communities across Central and Eastern North Carolina.

For more information about the Triangle Rising Stars, visit:   

For more information about the National High School Musical Theatre Awards/ JimmyAwards, visit:

About DPAC

Since its opening in 2008, DPAC (Durham Performing Arts Center) has become the center for live entertainment in North Carolina. Recognized for its contemporary design, DPAC features 2,704 seats, intimate sightlines and state-of-the-art sound and video. Ranked annually among the top-five theaters in America by three leading national magazines that cover live entertainment events and venues, DPAC attracts over 500,000 guests per year.  

With a mission of presenting one-of-a-kind live entertainment events, DPAC truly has “something for everyone,” hosting more than 200 performances a year, including spectacular touring Broadway productions, high-profile concert and comedy events, family shows and the heralded American Dance Festival. Owned by the City of Durham and operated under the direction of Nederlander and Professional Facilities Management (PFM), since 2011 DPAC has been listed as the #1 performing arts organization in the region by the Triangle Business Journal

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About Clay Aiken

Clay Aiken most recently starred on Broadway, alongside Ruben Studdard, in Ruben & Clay’s First Annual Christmas Carol Family Fun Pageant Spectacular Reunion Show at the Imperial Theater.  The New York Times called the production ‘A Christmas Miracle’. This came ten years after Clay’s critically lauded Broadway debut in Monty Python’s Spamalot.

On the heels of Idol, he became the first artist in history to have his first single debut at #1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart. His subsequent album, Measure Of A Man, also debuted at #1 with the highest first week sales by a debut artist. His 2004 holiday release, Merry Christmas With Love, set a record for the fastest selling holiday album of the SoundScan era and remains tied for the highest charting debut of a holiday album in Billboard history. 

He served 9 years as a UNICEF Ambassador and in 2003, he co-founded, with Diane Bubel, what is now the National Inclusion Project to advocate and increase opportunities for children with disabilities to be included in extracurricular activities (such as summer camps and after-school programs) with their non-disabled peers.

Additional TV appearances include: 30 Rock, The Office, Scrubs, Days Of Our Lives, and Law & Order: SVU. Additional 2nd place finishes include: The Celebrity Apprentice in 2012 and the NC 2nd District US House race in 2014. Beyond all of his successes (and near successes) his proudest accomplishment remains his son, Parker.