The winner and the 2009 Young Artist Awards, Inc. overall event winner is Sanibel’s Kacie Phillips
This 16-year-old all-around performer comes by her talent and intellect naturally. Her father, Lew Phillips, is Sanibel’s former police chief and is both a visual artist and actor. Her mother, Helene Phillips, was director of the City of Sanibel Recreation Department and was a martial arts star and champion body builder.
The Young Artist Awards, Inc. program is a non-profit performing arts education, audition, performance and scholarship program for area students aged eight to 21. The March 8th event featured 22 finalists selected from auditions held at the the Lee County Alliance of the Arts in January 2009. At the Young Artists Awards, Inc. competition held at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater, Kacie’s performance of “Cry Me a River” in the Contemporary Voice Category won her the Age Group Category. She was also named the Contemporary Voice Category Winner. In the Drama Category, Kacie performed “Rosa’s Eulogy” from Heaven and Hell: A Divine Comedy by Richard Strand and won her Age Group Category. At the end of the ceremony, Kacie was voted the Overall Event Winner!
The judges at the ceremony ranged from actor, director and voice teacher John Bartis and Kat Epple, the Emmy-winning and Grammy-nominated composer and flautist, to those deans of the arts, Dennis Cunningham and Maureen Bashaw, along with some 35 others including actors/producers Bonnie Grossman and Shawn Holiday.
Kacie has sung at numerous island events since she was five. She is a strong vocalist and song writer. Last year she recorded a duet with Danny Morgan called “Love of a Lifetime” on the new Danny Morgan / Livingston Taylor album It’s Always Summer and recorded “Let Love Reign in the Hearts Of All Mankind,” a demo vocal written by Danny Morgan for a Vatican documentary. On Jan. 31st of this year Kacie competed in the District 6 Thespian Festival where she received Superior ratings in Solo Vocal, Duet Vocal, and Large Group Musical. Kacie is also a skilled actress and Broadway musical historian. Like Barbara Streisand, Kacie considers herself an “actress who can sing.”
Early on, she starred along with several other local children in the February, 2002 J. Howard Wood Theatre’s production of Nobody Loves a Dragon and in the Pied Piper of Hamlin. She starred with Blake Sobczak in the Sanibel School’s production of The Music Man in 2004, and she performed in plays at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater and the Cape Coral Cultural Park Theater. In 2008, at the Cypress Lake High School’s Center For The Arts, Kacie starred as Alexa Vere de Vere, in Douglas Carter Beane’s satirical comedy, As Bees in Honey Drown and, in December, starred as Ulla in the Mel Brooks’ musical comedy, The Producers. April 30th through May 2nd, Kacie will appear as Ronnie in Lansford Wilson’s powerful family drama, Lemon Sky, at the CLHS Black Box Theatre. Kacie’s next public performance will be on Monday, April 6, at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater at the Lee County Alliance Angels of the Arts Awards ceremony. She is a nominee for the Young Artist of the Year Award and has been asked to sing “Cry Me A River” at the ceremony.
Kacie has been an apprentice at the prestigious Broadway Theater Project at the University of South Florida, Tampa in 2007 and 2008 and has been accepted again into the 2009 BTP session. The Broadway Theater Project was founded by Ann Reinking and Mary Walkley 17 years ago. BTP is a unique musical theatre program based on the premise that studying with professionals who are actively working in their fields is essential to honing one’s craft. At BTP Kacie has studied with Broadway, movie, and television personalities such as Patrick Wilson, Ben Vereen, Nancy Desault, Terrance Mann, Frank Wildhorn, Adrian Angel and Casting Director, Jay Bender.
Kacie is currently a junior at the Cypress Lake Performing Arts Center studying under theatre director Jason Loete. She is currently researching available scholarships for advanced degrees in Performing Arts and Music for financial assistance after she graduates next year. She studies voice and piano at the Advanced Mentor Pro Voice Studios in Fort Myers, with Susan Niekamp, Jennifer Strode, and Mary Walkley. Not just a student there, the award winning actress and singer also teaches voice and piano at the studio.