Thirty-one singers selected as semifinalists; Tony Award winners Victoria Clark and Jeanine Tesori to judge semifinals

February 19, 2016: Kim Kowalke, President and CEO of the Kurt Weill Foundation, has announced the semifinalists for the 19th Annual Lotte Lenya Competition. Over 200 singer/actors, ages 19-32, from eleven countries, submitted audition videos of their performances of diverse repertoire from the operatic, golden age and contemporary musical theater stage, and of course, the music of Kurt Weill. Thirty-one semifinalists ranging in age from 21-31 will travel to New York City from across the US, Germany, Austria and Canada to perform at the semifinals on March 10 and 11.

Amanda Achen
Gan-ya Ben-Gur Akselrod
Justin Austin
Curtis Bannister
Erika Cockerham
Chase Cornett
Jasmine Habersham
Anthony Heinemann
Kimberly Hessler
Adam Hill
Stephanie Junge
Talya Lieberman
Stephanie Maloney
Ian McEuen
Cassi Mikat
Reilly Nelson
Lindsay O’Neil
Taylor Pardell
Eric Parker
Tony Potts
Tom Schimon
Jim Schubin
Daniel Schwait
Annie Sherman
Briana Silvie
Bradley Smoak
Cecelia Ticktin
Brian Vu
Dennis Wees
Kayla Wilkens
Aaron Young

Semifinalists will be adjudicated and then coached by two Tony-Award-winners: Broadway, film and television actress Victoria Clark (Light in the Piazza, Titanic, GIGI The Musical, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Cinderella) and composer Jeanine Tesori (Fun Home, Violet, Thoroughly Modern Millie, Shrek the Musical). The top performers will then proceed to the competition finals on April 16 in Rochester, NY, where they will sing for another star-studded jury comprised of international opera legend Teresa Stratas, Rodgers & Hammerstein Organization President and former American Theater Wing Chairman Theodore S. Chapin, and Broadway music director, conductor and accompanist Andy Einhorn.

All semifinalists receive a cash award of $500. Those who move onto the finals will receive a minimum of $1,000, with top prizes ranging from $3,500 to $15,000. In addition to the semifinalists, eight contestants, ages 21-23, were recognized with Emerging Talent awards of $500: Jeremy Brown, Kaitlyn Davis, Katherine McLellan, Todd McNeel, Randa Meierhenry, Lucas Pastrana, Janell Stallard, and Katherine Weber. Brendon Sliger received the Grace Keagy Award of $500 for Outstanding Vocal Promise.

More than a vocal competition, the Lotte Lenya Competition recognizes talented young singer/actors who are dramatically and musically convincing in repertoire ranging from opera/operetta to contemporary Broadway scores, with a focus on the works of Kurt Weill. Prizes will exceed $60,000, including First, Second and Third prizes and additional discretionary awards recognizing emerging talent and outstanding performances of individual numbers. Past prize winners have gone on to appear on major theater, opera and concert stages around the world. Don’t miss the competition described by Opera News as “target[ing] today’s total-package talents, unearthing up-and-coming singers who are ready for their close-ups.”


If you’d like more information about this topic, please contact Elizabeth Blaufox at the Kurt Weill Foundation: (212) 505-5240 x210 or