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    Posted April 22, 2011

The Roger Sturtevant Award

Equity Membership Candidates Dayna Dantzler and Edward Miskie Win 2011 Roger Sturtevant Award

Actors' Equity is pleased to announce that Dayna Dantzler and Edward Miskie are the recipients of the seventh annual Roger Sturtevant Musical Theatre Awards, named for the beloved casting director who passed away in 2003. The award is given to Equity Membership Candidates (EMCs) who have demonstrated outstanding abilities in the field of musical theatre. The award consists of a certificate accompanied by a $1000 check.

Dayna Dantzler with her Rogert Sturtevant Award

Dayna Dantzler has been interested in theater since she was a child watching musical theater on videos, but it was a theatre production class, under the direction of her favorite theatre teacher, John Rutherford, that sparked her interest to pursue it as a career. She was cast in her first musical, CINDERELLA, at the age of 7, and later went to high school at Warren Fitzgerald in Warren, MI.

Dayna's first "professional theater audition" was during her sophomore year of college at Western Michigan University for Theatre Performance. "I auditioned for three summer stock theatres and received offers from two of them. Funny enough, the theatre I did not get an offer from, I felt was my best audition."

Elphaba in WICKED and Felicia in MEMPHIS are two of the many roles Dayna is eager to play. Her favorite role that she has been cast in so far is 'Celie' in THE COLOR PURPLE. "It is an iconic role played by incredibly talented women and it is a blessing to be a part of that legacy. Plus it is the most physically, emotionally, and vocally challenging role I've ever had, and I love a challenge."

Dayna received the news that she was the recipient of the 2011 Roger Sturtevant Award from AEA Foundation Coordinator Anne Fortuno. "Receiving this award means that I am on the right track. I am right where I am supposed to be in this journey called life. It also means that my work is appreciated and I am one step closer to opportunities that are still to come. I am so grateful to Jane and Cliff Johnson who founded this award, and the panel at Actors' Equity for giving a voice to those of us trying to get our foot through the door!"

Dayna can currently be seen as Celie in the touring company of THE COLOR PURPLE. She has been performing with the touring company since February 2010 and the show will run through June of this year.

AEA President Nick Wyman presents Sturtevant Award Recipient Edward Miskie with the check

Musical theatre has been a part of Edward Miskie's life since a very young age. The first Broadway Cast Album he owned was GODSPELL and from the age of 5, that was the platform from which he took off in the direction of musical theatre. At the age of 9, he was cast in a high school production of THE WIZARD OF OZ. "I was the Mayor of Munchkin land which is funny for two reasons: I was taller than Dorothy (who was a junior in HS) and I am now 6'4."

Edward is eager to play classic roles such as Neville Craven in SECRET GARDEN, Enjolras in LES MISERABLES, Austin in I LOVE YOU BECAUSE, and Percy in SCARLET PIMPERNEL. However, his favorite role so far is from a new production. "Last spring I was cast as Ian Wallace in the first regional premier of ROOMS: A ROCK MUSICAL. The original production was being rewritten and restaged and we were able to work with the writers and Broadway Producers on the material and staging. The show itself is a truly amazing piece of theatre and hands down the most fulfilling role I've ever been given the chance to live in."

Edward received the news that he was the 2011 recipient of the Roger Sturtevant Award while he was working out at the gym. "I automatically thought I was in trouble for some reason and braced myself when I called (Ms. Fortuno) back."

He is "beyond honored" to be receiving this award. "To me this award reassures me and validates that this is definitely the path that I am to be on and will hopefully bring new and exciting opportunities my way."

Edward has a message for everyone who did not go to college for musical theater: "Don’t feel limited by not having gone to college and don’t let anyone who tells you otherwise stop you from going after your goals. Work hard, stay tough, and play the game. I also want everyone to know that they can LIKE me on Facebook and download me on iTunes and stalk me at"


Award pages:

Arizona Theatre Service
Diversity on Broadway
Spirit of Diversity

Roger Sturtevant began a show business career as box office treasurer (and sometimes as casting director) for summer theaters in the northeast, including the New London Barn Playhouse in New Hampshire and the Pocono Playhouse in Mountainhome, PA. On Broadway he served as assistant treasurer in several theater box offices, including the Winter Garden during the original run of Follies, his favorite musical. After his passing, Roger’s family contacted Equity’s Foundation to set up the award. Jane Sturtevant Johnson notes, “Inspired by the many expressions of gratitude and heartfelt appreciation, we are proud and happy to announce the establishment of an award in Roger’s name to be given to talented new actors and actresses in the musical theatre.”

The award was established in 2005 and is supported by donations from Roger's friends and family.

Recipients of the Roger Sturtevant Award are:

Year Recipient
2005 Meegan Midkiff
Nick Verina
2006 Erin Driscoll
John Pinto
2007 Janine Romano
Scott Reardon
2008 Chelsea Cree Groen
Ricardo Rust
2009 Kalyn Hemphill
Aaron Reeder
2010 Jessica Taige
Isaac Benelli
2011 Dayna Dantzler
Edward Miskie
2012 Emelie Faith Thompson
Matthew Elliott
2013 Katie Wesler
Robert Ariza
2014 Amelia Millar
Daniel Hines
2015 Amanda Hartley Urteaga
Nichalas Parker
2016 Jasmine Easler
Antonio LeRoy King

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