Whether it’s nurture or nature, talent runs in the Salinger family.
Durango High School student Curtis Salinger, 15, was named Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role at the statewide Bobby G Awards for high school musical theater on May 26. He was acknowledged for his performance as Emmett Forrest in “Legally Blonde.”
Curtis’ older brother, Evatt Salinger, won the same award last year for his portrayal of Jean Valjean in the DHS production of “Les Misérables.” Because of that win, Evatt, a student at Pepperdine University, and his co-star and co-award winner, Emma Buchanan, were invited to be presenters for the evening. Evatt was thrilled to present the award to his little brother.
“The award is given after adjudicators view the performance at the presenting school,” said Heidi Bosk, spokeswoman for the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, which organizes the awards. “And then a second set of adjudicators judges a performance here, and the two scores are combined. So Curtis was not just good in Durango, he impressed the judges here, too.”
As part of the award, Curtis will represent Colorado at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway after a week of coaching by New York City theater luminaries. Curtis will turn 16 just before going to the Big Apple.
Because of busy schedules, he doesn’t have other gigs booked yet – Evatt Salinger and Buchanan sang the National Anthem at a Colorado Rockies game last summer – but Bosk anticipates he’ll be interviewed on Denver television channels when calendars align.
The Salinger brothers are the sons of Peter Salinger and Sally Zabriskie.
Another DHS student, Senora Robinson, was awarded Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the ceremony at the Buell Theatre in Denver. She played Serena in the “Legally Blonde” production. Three of the five finalist positions in that category were Durango students, with Tilly Leeder and Lauren Rocha also among the nominees.
All of these honors are particularly impressive because DHS entered the statewide awards for the first time last year, coming home with the three top awards in 2015, including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical.
Durango High is the 89th largest high school in the state, and DHS students and their performances were measured against arts magnet schools and theater programs, particularly on the Front Range, that are more highly funded.
“These are the state championships for theater kids,” Bosk said, “and this is a big deal.”