Monday, March 2, 2015


The American Prize is pleased to announce the solo quartet and four cover artists for "SOMETHING WONDERFUL—the music of Rodgers and Hammerstein," 2015 winners of the Chicago Musical Theater Award.

The winning vocal quartet and cover artists will participate in two performances of SOMETHING WONDERFUL, presented by The Chicago Bar Association Symphony Orchestra and the CBA Chorus, David Katz, conductor, in partnership with the Elgin Master Chorale, Sunday, March 22, 2015 at 3:30 pm in the Blizzard Theater at Elgin Community College, Elgin, IL, and again on Sunday, April 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm at Symphony Center/Orchestra Hall, Chicago.

PURCHASE Elgin tickets here.
PURCHASE Chicago tickets here.

The FOUR WINNERS of the Chicago Musical Theater Award, 2015 are:
Born in Cumaná, Venezuela, Tania Arazi Coambs is a passionate and versatile performer, stage director, and writer.  Recognized for her “searing and intense acting and singing”, she has appeared internationally at the Shaw Theatre in London; St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome; the Urbania City Theater in Italy; the Errol Hill Theater in Bridgetown, Barbados; Muson Centre in Lagos, Nigeria; and with the Amadeus Opern Ensemble in Salzburg, Austria.  She has also performed with the Allerton Music Barn Festival, Opera Venezuela, the Pittsburgh Savoyards, Station Theatre, Illinois Opera Theater, and with the Danville Symphony Orchestra.  Previous roles include Aldonza in The Man of La Mancha, Susanna in Le Nozze di Figaro, Gretel in Hansel und Gretel, Aline in The Sorcerer, Lauretta in Gianni Schicchi, Linfea in La Calisto, Arsena in Der Zigeunerbaron, Edith in The Pirates of Penzance, Annie in The Game of Love, Wren in A Body of Water, Nurse Ruth Kelley in Harvey, and Mrs. Webb in Our Town, as well as originating the role of Dr. Vivian Watson in an international tour to Barbados, England, and Nigeria of the play Preemptive.

With her strong interest in Spanish music and art song, as well as in jazz, French cabaret, and tango music, she has performed in concerts around the Midwest with groups such as the George Turner Trio, Tango Espejo, Tempest Performers, as well as presented recitals at the Mid-America Guitar Festival, the Southern Illinois Music Festival, and Krannert Center for the Performing Arts.
Tania’s recent directing projects include The Tender Land, Trouble in Tahiti, and Signor Deluso at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, as well as workshopping and directing scenes from her own opera, Catatumbo, based on her own libretto and composed by Griffin Candey at the University of Illinois.  Other previous directing projects include productions of Stop Kiss, Roméo et Juliette, Feeding the Moonfish, The Informer, Brundibár, A Canoe on the Lake, and co-director of Don Giovanni.  Tania currently serves at the Director of Opera/Music Theater at Indiana University of Pennsylvania and is a doctoral candidate in Vocal Performance and Literature at the University of Illinois.

KATE RYAN, mezzo-soprano
Mezzo-Soprano Kate Ryan is a versatile singer/actress who returns to Chicago after ten years in California. This December, she debuted as the mezzo-soprano soloist with the Waukegan Symphony Orchestra and Chorus for Handel's Messiah, and performed as a soloist with choir and orchestra at several sold-out performances of DePaul University’s Christmas at DePaul. Kate works as a singer/pianist for Howl at the Moon Chicago’s Howl2Go Program, and has performed for Chicago Dueling Piano’s, and in regular cabaret at Davenport’s Piano Bar. Recent musical theater credits include A Christmas Carol, at San Jose Repertory Theater, Hairspray at Coastal Rep and Cabrillo Stage, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels with Broadway by the Bay, The Light in the Piazza with Palo Alto Players, and the title role in the National Tour of Strega Nona the Musical. Ms. Ryan has served as an Adjunct Professor of Voice and Musical Theatre at Santa Clara University, and has worked on the Bay Area’s biggest stages as an actor and musical director. Kate was a print and commercial model for Marla Dell Talent in San Francisco, and has performed on tour as a backup vocalist for Ben Folds. She currently studies voice with international and Metropolitan Opera performing artist Jane Bunnell. Kate is a proud graduate of The Boston Conservatory, and a member of Actor’s Equity Association. Kate would like to extend her gratitude to Maestro Katz, the members of the chorus and orchestra, and the American Prize for this incredible opportunity.

American tenor Justin John Moniz has earned great acclaim for his “comic chops and huge voice”. Lauded by the South Florida Classical Review as a "superb high tenor" and a "vocal standout", his "refined" work has also been praised by the Miami Herald and Cape Cod Times. His unique style and versatility has afforded him an active career in concert, opera, and musical theatre. Mr. Moniz began the 2014/15 season with his debut as Gastone in La traviata, with the Opera Company of Middlebury, where he also covered the role of Alfredo. He returned for a second season with Sarasota Opera in   Pagliacci and The Hobbit, where he “turned Old Bilbo (Moniz) into an unforgettable creation bound to turn youthful audiences into future opera lovers” (The Observer). Moniz made a triumphant return to Miami this winter, where he joined the Civic Chorale of Greater Miami in Handel’s Messiah, and made his company debut in DreamCatcher Theatre’s production of Into the Woods at the Adrienne Arsht Center, in the roles of Cinderella's Prince and The Wolf. Mr. Moniz garnered critical acclaim for his “rich tenor” (The Miami Hurricane), “commanding stage presence” ( and “comic chops and huge voice” (The Miami Herald). He most recently made his role and company debut as Nanki-Poo in Gulfshore Opera's production of The Mikado. In previous seasons, Moniz has appeared with Sarasota Opera, Florida Grand Opera, Opera New Jersey, Center Stage Opera (CA), Orchestra Miami, and the Utah Festival Opera & Musical Theatre, where he made a triumphant debut as Cassio in Otello, with less than ten minutes notice. Mr. Moniz holds degrees from the Frost School of Music at the University of Miami and the Crane School of Music at SUNY Potsdam, where he was recently selected as the recipient of the 2015 Rising Star Award. He is a proud member of the American Guild of Musical Artists (AGMA) and the Actors’ Equity Association (AEA). For more information:


Delshawn Taylor is a junior at Indiana University South Bend where is he studying Psychology with a Spanish minor. He has musically directed and accompanied over 10 musical productions. He has performed lead operatic roles such as Chevalier de la Force in Dialogue of the Carmelites (Opera Notre Dame), Dr. Falke in Die Fledermaus Tartuffe (UE Opera), The Pig in Jonathan Dove’s The Enchanted Pig, and currently learning the role of Gianni Schicchi in Gianni Schicchi (St. Mary’s Opera). He was a Top 5 Finalist in Michiana’s Rising Star and placed second in LaPorte Symphony Orchestra’s Hoosier Star Vocal Competition in the fall of 2014. As a young musician, Delshawn has been mentored by Maestro Tsung Yeh of the South Bend Symphony, Maestro Thomas Wilkins of the Omaha Symphony Orchestra, and Dr. Marvin Curtis, Dean of the Ernestine Ranclin School of the Arts. He has served as Director of Music at Zoar United Church of Christ and currently serves as the Music Director at Sacred Heart Parish. As an aspiring choral composer, Delshawn is on the rise to success with growing commissions. He will be premiering his own setting of The Songs of Solomon for soprano, baritone, tenor, women’s chorus and chamber orchestra in February of 2016 and setting of seven poems by Emily Dickinson for voice and piano. To give back to his community, Delshawn recently started a thriving children’s choir at the Boys & Girls Club. He is the founder of Music for the Soul, an organization that annually unites an entire musical community across two states to raises money in a benefit concert for The Memorial Children’s Hospital and is dedicated to encouraging young singers from elementary to high school, that their voice can make a difference. Delshawn will compete in the second round of Classical Singer Magazine Musical Theatre Competition this May in Chicago. He is studies privately with Ms. Paula Harris.


Winners of the Chicago Musical Theateer Award (cover) for "SOMETHING WONDERFUL" will participate in the finales of the concerts in both locations and are available to assist if needed.

Praised for her “delightful” (The Boston Globe) and “delicately compassionate” (Times Herald Record) singing, soprano Elizabeth Kling is recognized as a dynamic and versatile performer.  In her Carnegie Hall début, she created the title role of Lucy by Tom Cipullo, and her performance was acclaimed as “excellent” (The Big City). Other roles include Gretel (Hansel and Gretel), Jessie (Mahagonny Songspiel), Áljana (A Little Princess), and Hope (Anything Goes). Elizabeth has been a guest artist in song recitals at the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State University of Denver, and Cal Poly Pomona.  She is a 2015 finalist in the G. Gershwin International Competition.  Elizabeth holds a DMA from The City University of New York Graduate Center and a MM from New England Conservatory.  She is Assistant Professor of Music Theatre at Auburn University.

KAREN ARCHBOLD, mezzo-soprano
Karen Archbold is poised to launch an exciting career as a promising young singer.  She studied at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen, Germany.  She currently appears as a part of the Duo Striata, a cello and voice ensemble focusing on new music.  Karen has been a member of the Washington Chorus, the Chicago Chorale, the Bremen Kammerchor, and the Symphonic Chorus at the Hochschule für Künste in Bremen.  Karen has appeared as Miss Jessel in The Turn of the Screw, Buttercup in HMS Pinafore as Buttercup and as Berthe in the Barber of Seville.  She has also participated in the opera choruses of Die Zauberflöte and L’Enfant Sortilege at the Kennedy Center.  Karen’s solo appearances include Alto Soloist in Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, Soloist in John Rutter’s Magnificat, Mezzo soloist in Lili Boulanger’s Psalm Profundis, Alto soloist in the Verdi Requiem, and the Mahler Kindertotenlieder with the MasterWorks Festival Orchestras.

Tenor, Christian Ketter, recently made his Carnegie Hall debut with Marilyn Horne’s festival: “The Song Continues." 2013: Tenor soloist, Bruckner Te Deum, Chicago Bar Symphony and Orchestra; DuBois’ Les sept paroles du Christ; Saint-Saëns’ Oratorio de Noël. Willy Loman: Rizzer’s Death of a Salesman, Chicago Cultural Center. 2011: Mr. Ketter performed under Carlisle Floyd in a concert of Floyd's operatic works. Evita (Che) Southwest Michigan Symphony Orchestra; Tosca (Cavaradossi) Calumet City Chamber-Ensemble; Herrmann’s Wuthering Heights (Edgar) in its televised Chicago premiere; ShowBoat (Ravenal). 2010: At Ravinia, Mr. Ketter gave a recital benefitting the Misericordia Foundation.

2013: International-Finalist: Lotte Lenya Competition. Friedrich Schorr/The American Prize winner; National-Winner: Chicago Oratorio Award;  2nd National-Winner: Hal Leonard Art Song; The American Prize in Art Song; Shirley Rabb-Winston Grand Prize. For release summer 2014: Recording, "Beloved", a collection of classical arrangements spanning many languages, styles, and genres with violinist, Cara Schlecker and pianist, Myron Silberstein. For more information visit:

DAN RICHARDSON, bass-baritone
Bass-baritone Dan Richardson is known for his "clean, clear, declarative" tone and "lovely core sound and earnest musicianship." Recently, Mr. Richardson appeared as Elijah with Choral Union in Mendelssohn's Elijah, Figaro in Le nozze di Figaro with the Salt Creek Chamber Orchestra, as Papageno with Candid Concert Opera, and performed with the New Millennium Orchestra as Death in Viktor Ullmann's the Emperor of Atlantis on the Pritzker Pavilion Stage at Millennium Park.
He has also performed with the Florentine Opera, Opera Omaha, Opera Louisiane, Des Moines Metro Opera, the Cedar Rapids Opera Theatre, Sarasota Opera, and the Lyric Opera of Chicago, where he performed the role of Don Bartolo for their “Opera in the Neighborhoods” production of Rossini's The Barber of Seville. As a concert soloist Mr. Richardson has performed with the Fox Valley Orchestra, Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, The Virginia Consort, the Milwaukee Ballet, Music by the Lake, and the Grant Park Chorus.


Congratulations to these fine artists.