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This Charlotte grad is bringing home a national theater award. Here's what's next.

Watch this Charlotte girl win a national competition

Renee Rapp of Charlotte won a top prize at the national high school musical theater awards show The Jimmys on Monday night in New York. (See her at about 1:20.) Rapp, from Northwest School of the Arts, won "best performance by an actress."
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Renee Rapp of Charlotte won a top prize at the national high school musical theater awards show The Jimmys on Monday night in New York. (See her at about 1:20.) Rapp, from Northwest School of the Arts, won "best performance by an actress."

If you watch the video, you can see Reneé Rapp's ability to express what's in her heart, said Corey Mitchell, theater teacher at Northwest School of the Arts.

That performance led the Charlotte graduate to a National High School Musical Theatre Award Monday night at Minskoff Theatre in New York.

Rapp graduated from Northwest School of the Arts this month and was named Best Actress at Charlotte's 2018 Blumey Awards in May, which recognize the region's best in high school musical theater. That victory sent her on to the 10th annual Jimmy Awards, hosted by Tony winner Laura Benanti, where Rapp won Best Performance by an Actress for her role as Sandra in "Big Fish."

Rapp and the other students — 40 regional competitions send winners — participated in a professional training intensive at NYU Tisch School of the Arts in the week before the ceremony. Rapp also received a $10,000 scholarship as part of her win.

"It was absolutely unreal," Rapp said Tuesday. "It was such an honor just to be able to perform with the people of that caliber and take direction from the mass amounts of talent that the Jimmy Awards bring."

Rapp is Charlotte's second national winner, following Amina Faye's 2016 victory. Eva Noblezada, the NWSA alum who became a Tony Award nominee in 2017 for her performance in "Miss Saigon," was a Blumey winner and a finalist at the Jimmys in 2013.

While there are a lot of performers who have great vocal ability, Mitchell said, Rapp has a special distinction.

"There is a difference when that vocal ability is coupled with sincere emotions that can move an audience and that literally can excite an audience," Mitchell said.

He said another Charlotte winner speaks to the many schools and programs that aid budding artists in the area. Rapp also sang Charlotte's praises and said she'd be nowhere without her family, Northwest and the Blumenthal.

"I love doing what I do," Rapp said. "But a big part of what I want (is) ... to do it for the people who have supported me."

This fall, Rapp will head to Texas State to study musical theater. While she said she loves theater, she plans to also pursue her love for recording music.

"Reneé has the goods to go just about anywhere that she wants to," Mitchell said. "But I truly believe that within the next couple of years, you're going to hear an album from her."

Myah Ward: 704-358-5062; @MyahWard

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