Summer 2013

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Photo by Rahoul Ghose/PBS

Broadway or Bust

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PBS series highlighted actor's performance during the National High School Musical Theater Awards.

Last summer Elizabeth Romero stood on the stage of the Minskoff Theatre in New York City and belted out “Disneyland,” a song from the musical Smile, to a packed house and several judges. The performance earned Romero, now a Northwestern first-year student, a check for $10,000 as the winner of the 2012 Jimmy Award for best high school actress.

Her journey was featured on the PBS documentary miniseries Broadway or Bust, which aired last fall, about the weeklong competition among 60 high school students at the National High School Musical Theater Awards. Each participant was nominated for a role he or she played in high school. Romero, who is Cuban-American, was nominated for her performance as Lola from Damn Yankees.

Romero said the role was challenging. “I’m so not sexy like that,” she said. “I’m the little bookworm, wearing jeans and a sweatshirt every day. So wearing a corset and bringing out the Cuban side of me was a challenge. But I liked that I got to be someone I’d never be in my normal life.”

Romero put the $10,000 prize toward her education at Northwestern, where she is planning to study theater. She has discovered a love of stage management and was recently accepted into Northwestern’s musical theater program.