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Lauren Carr wins NATS 2020 National Music Theater Competition

posted on 5:06 PM, January 12, 2020
First place winner collects cash and prizes valued at $7,500
NMTC prize winners (from left) Ambrose, Howell, Carr, and Searcy, with NATS Executive Director Allen Henderson

NEW YORK – Lauren Carr placed first in the NATS 2020 National Music Theater Competition on Saturday evening, January 11, in The Roosevelt Hotel Grand Ballroom in midtown Manhattan. A 2019 alumna of Elmhurst College, Carr collected $7,500 in cash and prizes. She currently studies with Jennifer Mather.

Among the seven finalists, Sarah Ambrose, a student of Christy Welty, placed second; Terrance Searcy, a student of Joseph Mason, placed third; and Rebekah Howell, a student of Robert Best, placed fourth.

Finalists earning honorable mention were Julianne McBride, a student of Karen Rees; Cassi Mikat, a student of Sally Mikat; and Austin Stole, a student of Jerry Elsbernd. 

The semifinal and final rounds of the National Music Theater Competition were held in conjunction with the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS) Winter Workshop and hosted in front of an audience of top professionals in the music industry. Competition sponsors include the NATS Foundation, Hal Leonard Corporation, Stage Door Connections, and Jolie Stratton.

As first place winner, Carr collects a $5,000 cash award, a $1,000 gift certificate from Hal Leonard Corporation, a career management services package from Stage Door Connections, and a winner’s concert at the upcoming NATS National Conference in Knoxville, TN. Last summer Carr took first place in the NATS National Student Auditions Upper College Music Theater division.

The NATS National Music Theater Competition (NMTC) was launched in 2011 as the first national competition for the emerging professional music theater soloist. Now in its fifth iteration, NMTC has provided industry connections to past competitors and winners that have led to their success.

A complete list of the winners is below:

1st place ($7,500 package): Lauren Carr, Upper Marlboro, MD
2nd place($3,000 package): Sarah Ambrose, Glendale, AZ
3rd place (Louise Lerch Award - $1,000): Terrance Searcy, Tifton, GA
4th place (Bill Hayes Award - $750): Rebekah Howell, Houston TX
Honorable Mention (sponsored by the NATS Foundation - $500): Julianne McBride, Houston, TX, Cassi Mikat, New York, NY, and Austin Stole, Richfield, MN.