The John Raitt Awards for Youth (JRAY) “Supporting High School Performing Arts Education in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties and the Inland Empire Since 2008.”
The JRAY mission is to promote and support high school education by recognizing musical theater excellence in all performance and technical production categories, and to provide outstanding students with unique opportunities and professional exposure through the granting of awards and educational scholarships.
The JRAYs were named to honor John Raitt, a successful stage, film, and television actor who began his performance career as a Fullerton Union High School student in Plummer Auditorium. One of his last performances was in the role of “Zorba” for Fullerton Civic Light Opera (FCLO) Music Theatre, the organization under which JRAY operates.
JRAY Awards are given for on stage and behind the scenes work. Qualified judges view and rate each of the participating schools’ shows during the school year, which culminates in the JRAY Awards Ceremony at the end of the high school season. JRAY gives over 200 awards for achievement in 28 categories.
Both the Male Actor of the Year and Female Actress of the Year are sent to New York for a one-week, all expenses paid, intensive workshop with Broadway Professionals. Their experience finishes with a showcase before Broadway Agents and Casting Directors. For details see broadwayartistsalliance.org.
HOW DID JRAY GET ITS NAME?
In 1971, Jan and Griff Duncan (pictured) founded Fullerton Civic Light Opera (FCLO) to bring live theatre to the cultural landscape of Southern California. From humble beginnings, FCLO rose in prestige as one of the top regional theatres in the country, employing thousands of professional actors, technicians and directors, and designers. For over forty years they created a place of inclusion and “extended family” to performers, industry professionals, and stage technicians, alike.
The John Raitt Awards for Youth (JRAY) operates as a 501c(3) under the umbrella of FCLO. "JRAY" was named after their dear friend and Broadway legend John Raitt, a Fullerton native. For his first role on Broadway, the towering, full-voiced baritone, John Raitt created the leading role of Billy Bigelow in the classic musical Carousel (1945). He went on to star in The Pajama Game (1954) creating the role of Sid Sorokin on Broadway,and later reprised the 1957 film version playing opposite Doris Day. Raitt was drawn to high school theater and performed in his first musical while attending Fullerton Union High School, in Fullerton, California in the same theater and on the same stage as many of the JRAY Awards shows. John is also famous as the father of multi Grammy Award winner, Bonnie Raitt.
Fullerton Civic Light Opera (FCLO) Music Theatre
The JRAY program operates under the umbrella organization of FCLO Music Theatre, which was founded as a nonprofit organization in December 1971, under the organizational name of Fullerton Civic Light Opera Music Theatre. FCLO delivered high-quality live musical theater in the Orange County Performing Arts scene for over 45 years. They won numerous awards for their productions and provided a platform for performers young and old to hone their craft and entertain audiences from all over the Southland.
Today, the exclusive focus of FCLO is on JRAY Awards, which is managed by a Board of Directors, all of whom are volunteers.
The participating schools will be invited to perform on stage for a 2-5 minute cutting of their adjudicated musical. A guest panel of professional performers will adjudicate these performances, and there will be a trophy presented to the winning show of the day.
Award Format for JRAY
Each category will have nominees as voted upon by the panel of judges. All nominees will be presented with an award. The first place winners will receive beautiful JRAY trophies. The award-winning performances and recognition for students and schools include, but are not limited to the following categories.
BAA Actor & Actress of the Year (Grand Prize winners who go to NY)
Actress in a Leading Role
Actor in a Leading Role
Cameo – Male
Cameo – Female
Dancer – Male
Dancer – Female
Soloist – Male
Soloist – Female
Student Stage Manager
Graphic Design & Publicity
Choreographer of the Year
Music Director of the Year
Director of the Year
Comedy Musical of the Year
Dramatic Musical of the Year
Discretionary Awards (as applicable): To recognize a student-driven production of excellence in various categories, such as costuming, choreography, scenic design, lighting, etc. The determination will be made by the judges on a school-by-school basis when adjudicating the musical.
BAA WINNERS: Each year JRAY will send two winners (one female and one male) to Broadway Artists Alliance (BAA) in New York City to attend their one-week summer workshop intensives and master classes conducted by Broadway professionals – culminating in solo performances before industry professionals and casting agents. This prize covers the cost of the workshop, airfare, and lodging.
Broadway Artists Alliance Scholarship offers two more students (Male and Female) to Attend BAA’s Summer Workshop, including hotel accommodations (double room occupancy, same gender).
Not included: Airfare and RT transportation from NY airport and Manhattan.
This season we are offering the following JRAY scholarships:
The Jan & Griff Duncan Memorial FCLO Scholarships
The Duncan Great Cause Foundation Scholarship
The Broadway Artists Alliance Scholarship (pays for two more students to Attend BAA’s Summer Workshop–lodging and airfare not included)
The Michele Leighton Memorial Scholarship
The Matthew Schwartz Technical Scholarship
The Tim MacDougall Vocal Scholarship
All of our scholarships are made possible by our generous donors and sponsors, both private individuals and corporate. Scholarship recipients are determined by a scholarship review panel and are based on merit/ grade point/ school participation and need. Nominations must be made from a participating school to be eligible. The names of scholarship recipients are announced on the day of the Awards show.
If you are interested in making a donation and/or creating/naming a new scholarship, please contact our Patron/Scholarship department and Marilyn Gianetti: firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call @ (626) 222-6403.
Our goal is to help promote each school’s theater program and encourage community involvement/support through media releases.