Posted on April 8th, 2021
Dallas, TX (April 8, 2021) – Dallas Summer Musicals (DSM) is pleased to announce the production team for the 10th Annual DSM High School Musical Theatre Awards (HSMTA) will feature Joel Ferrell as Director/Choreographer, Cherish Love Robinson as Music Director, and Eric Lee Tysinger as Production Supervisor. In addition, Liz Mikel has been named the recipient of the 2021 Fullinwider Award in honor of her impact on the North Texas theater community. The awards ceremony will be presented as a virtual livestream through DSM’s YouTube page on June 11, 2021.
Ferrell is a seasoned director and choreographer based in Dallas, Texas. He is the former Associate Artistic Director at Dallas Theater Center and has directed and choreographed extensively around the country for Denver Center Theater, Portland Center Stage, North Shore Music Theater, and more. His acting credits include Broadway national tours, regional theater, television, and film.
Robinson is an award-winning theater and music industry veteran with a career that has spanned over the last two decades as an artist, producer, composer, music director, and songwriter. She has produced and vocal arranged for artists around the country including Elle King, The Texas Gentlemen, and Paul Cauthen, and television shows such as Big Little Lies and Grey’s Anatomy.
Tysinger has spent the last 19 years stage managing and production managing in all facets of the performing arts. He served as the Production Stage Manager for The Dallas Theater Center (Regional Theater Tony Award 2016) for six years and for Triad Stage for two years. Tysinger’s credits include The Last Ship on Broadway and the national tour of Hamilton.
Dallas native and Broadway veteran Liz Mikel will be presented with the 2021 Fullinwider Award in honor of her accomplishments within the North Texas theater community and beyond. Mikel is a multifaceted, award-winning artist that has been a beloved staple in the Dallas-Fort Worth arts scene for more than 30 years. She has transitioned seamlessly from stage to television, studio recordings, cabaret, and feature films, has toured both nationally and abroad, and has worked alongside some of the industry’s most prominent artists.
The Fullinwider Award is presented to artists with roots in the North Texas community who have gone on to have had significant impact on the local, regional, and national theater communities. The award is named for Leah and Jerry Fullinwider, the founding donors of DSM’s High School Musical Theater Awards. The award was created to honor the Fullinwiders for their initial gift of $100,000, which helped fund and produce DSM HSMTA and College Scholarship program in 2012.
The awards ceremony, which traditionally takes place at the Music Hall at Fair Park, will be presented as a livestream broadcast production through DSM’s YouTube page. All awards will be announced live, and the evening will feature live engaging performances and acceptance speeches by this year’s nominees and winners.
Patterned after Broadway’s Tony Awards®, the DSM HSMTA celebrate the power of the arts and its ability to significantly improve all areas of education. The annual DSM HSMTA recognizes artistic and educational achievements of North Texas students and their high school programs. A total of 41 performances from 39 participating high schools were evaluated by a diverse group of highly qualified judges from the North Texas theater community.
Awards will be presented in 15 categories and scholarships are awarded to outstanding graduating seniors who are nominated by their teachers and selected by the DSM scholarship panel. Through funds raised by private donations, DSM HSMTA will award $55,000 in cash scholarships to continue to foster the great talent North Texas has to offer. To date, DSM HSMTA College Scholarship program has awarded more than $350,000 in cash scholarships to deserving students.
About Dallas Summer Musicals
Since 1941, the non-profit Dallas Summer Musicals Inc. (DSM) has presented the Best of Broadway to North Texas audiences. Located in the historic Music Hall at Fair Park, DSM promotes excellence in live musical theatre with year-round performances for diverse audiences of all ages, impacting the lives of children and families through education and community outreach programs, while enriching the cultural landscape of North Texas and the Southwest Region.
As a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, DSM relies on a variety of funding sources to offer affordable ticket prices, preserve the beautiful historic theatre, educate young audiences and develop impactful community programs.
DSM gratefully acknowledges the support of our season sponsors, annual fund donors and corporate partners American Airlines, Texas Instruments, The Dallas Morning News, and WFAA TV Channel 8. For more information about Dallas Summer Musicals, please call 214-421-5678 or visit our website at DallasSummerMusicals.org.
Joel Ferrell (Director/Choreographer)
Joel Ferrell is a seasoned director and choreographer based in Dallas, Texas. He is the former Associate Artistic Director at Dallas Theater Center, where his directing credits include: Romeo and Juliet, Clybourne Park, Red, God of Carnage, Dividing the Estate, Reasons to be Pretty, The Laramie Project: Ten Years Later, Cotton Patch Gospel, The Rocky Horror Show, Cabaret, Hairspray, Frankenstein, The Christians, Steel Magnolias, Dreamgirls, and A Christmas Carol.
Other Dallas area credits include: Gruesome Playground Injuries, Othello, The Necessities (Second Thought Theatre); Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, The Baltimore Waltz (Stage West); Love’s Labor’s Lost, Comedy Of Errors (Trinity Shakespeare Festival), and Sweeney Todd and One Man, Two Governors (Circle Theater). Mr. Ferrell has directed and choreographed extensively around the country for Denver Center Theater, Portland Center Stage, North Shore Music Theater, and many more. Mr. Ferrell is the former Artistic Director of Casa Manana Musicals in Fort Worth, Texas (1996 to 2001) where he directed over 40 productions.
He has served as adjunct theater faculty for Southern Methodist University, Texas Wesleyan University, and The University of North Texas, as well as teaching regularly for Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing and Visual Arts in Dallas. His acting credits include Broadway National tours, regional theater, television and film, most recently appearing in the Dallas produced film, Final Dress.
Ferrell is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and a proud member of Society of Directors and Choreographers and Actor’s Equity Association.
Cherish Love Robinson (Music Director)
Cherish Robinson is an award-winning theatre and music industry veteran.
With a career that has spanned over the last two decades, audiences have enjoyed her sounds throughout the United States, Europe and beyond as an artist, producer, composer, music director and songwriter. Her voice has been featured behind some of the industry’s most notable performers like Erykah Badu and The Roots of The Tonight Show, and as a background singer on national shows like The Colbert Show.
As a producer, Cherish has produced and vocal arranged for artists around the country like Elle King, The Texas Gentlemen, and Paul Cauthen, and shows like Big Little Lies, Grey’s Anatomy, and the Amazon Prime Original Movie, My Spy.
Cherish’s deep love, knowledge and appreciation for a wide span of musical genres led her to offer her voice as an arts contributor for publications like Elisia Magazine, and radio shows like The Midday Lockdown. Recently heralded as the artist who offered “one of DFW’s sharpest musical theater moments” by Broadway World Dallas, Cherish has been seen on stages across North Texas and beyond. Recent credits include: Sister Act (Savannah Theatre, ICT MainStage, WaterTower Theatre), Madagascar (Casa Manana), Detroit 67 (Jubilee Theatre), Passing Strange (Theatre Three), All Shook Up (Grand Prairie Arts Center/Music Director).
One of the highlights of Cherish’s career was composing, music directing and starring in Solstice at Theatre Three written by Dallas-native, Jonathon Norton and composing the black album written by Regina Taylor.
Cherish enjoys teaching and coaching voice and piano to her many students. She is writing a book, ‘The Vocal Parallel’, slated for release this fall.
Eric Lee Tysinger (Production Supervisor)
Broadway: The Last Ship. Nation Tour: Hamilton. Off-Broadway: Elvis People. Regional: Million Dollar Quartet; Mamma Mia! (Casa Manana); Giant, Fly, The Wiz, Public Works Dallas (Dallas Theater Center); Tonight At 8:30, Light Up the Sky, Hedda Gabler (Williamstown); Evita, Dreamgirls, Peter Pan, Hello, Dolly!, The Producers, West Side Story (North Carolina Theatre). Eric served as the Production Stage Manager for The Dallas Theater Center (Regional Theater Tony Award 2016) for six years and for Triad Stage for two years. He has spent the last 19 years stage managing and production managing in all facets of the performing arts. Thankful to DSM for allowing his journey to intersect with education through the HSMTA.
Liz Mikel (Fullenwider Award Recipient)
Liz Mikel is a multifaceted artist that has been a staple in the DFW Arts scene for more than 30 years. Her love of performing, warmth, magnetic presence, and dynamic voice has endeared her to audiences worldwide. Like a painter with a blank canvas, she makes every performance an original.
An accomplished actress and vocalist, Liz has transitioned seamlessly from stage to television, studio recordings, cabaret, and feature films. Ms. Mikel has toured both nationally and abroad and has worked alongside some of the industry’s biggest celebrities.
Her recurring role as Corrina Williams on NBC’s Emmy Award winning series, Friday Night Lights, tugged the heartstrings of viewers and critics alike. She had audiences laughing in the star packed, Martin Lawrence blockbuster, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, playing the wife of the late Michael Clark Duncan. She was cast by comedian/director, Ben Stiller, and body slammed him in, The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. And director Tate Taylor (The Help) handpicked Mikel to portray Gertrude Saunders opposite the late, great Chadwick Boseman in the James Brown biopic, Get On Up.
Mikel received rave reviews in both her Off-Broadway and Broadway debuts as the all-knowing muse/madam, Hetaira, in the Douglas Carter Beane/Lewis Flinn musical, Lysistrata Jones.
Liz had the prestigious honor of being personally invited by Activist/ Playwright, Eve Ensler to participate in the star-studded 10th anniversary of The Vagina Monologues. In addition to performing her selected monologue, she was also chosen by Ensler to stand in for Oprah Winfrey in her absence. Mikel joined Ensler for the World Premiere of her comedy, O.P.C., at the Tony Award winning American Repertory Theater in Cambridge, Mass.
In 2018, the Tony Award winner sought out Liz for yet another premiere. Ensler teamed up with the Abingdon Theatre Company to bring her trio of short plays, Fruit Trilogy, to the Lucille Lortel Theatre. The play, which deals with the exploitation and eventual reclaiming of the female body, came on the 20th anniversary of her groundbreaking work, The Vagina Monologues.
As a vocalist, Liz has opened for Erykah Badu, Branford Marsalis, Issac Hayes, Joan Rivers, Gennifer Flowers, Chrisette Michele, Ledisi and her friend, Blues legend, Lucky Peterson. In 2017, she joined Peterson for a special New Year’s Eve performance at Le Duc des Lombards in Paris, France.
New York’s Jim Caruso added Liz’s powerhouse prowess to his Best Of Cast Party at Town Hall alongside Jane Monheit, Lisa Lampanelli, Linda Lavin and Marilyn Maye.
For the past 6 1/2 years, Liz has hosted The Entertainer’s Showcase at Dallas’ oldest Jazz venue, The Balcony Club. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Liz and pianist, Linny Nance are bringing the music to fans in their home. They broadcast Monday Night Music Therapy LIVE on Facebook every Monday night at 9pm.
Also, during the pandemic, Liz has participated in several high profiled virtual events including That Kindness-A play for Nurses by V, (formerly known as Eve Ensler); The People’s Summit/Transformation 2020; Manhattan Theatre Club’s Ted Snowdon Reading Series and Dallas Theater Center’s, In The Bleak Midwinter-A Christmas Carol For Our Times.
Liz has been lauded and recognized for her artistic achievements by D Magazine, Dallas Theater Critics Forum, Dallas Observer, Dallas Voice Reader’s Choice Award, The Sankofa Award, Leon Rabin Award, The Column Awards (multiple), BroadwayWorld Award, Black Women In Jazz, and was a nominee for Dallas Morning News’ 2012 Texan Of The Year. She was selected by the Dallas Observer as one of the City’s 30 People to Watch in 2013 and was featured on the cover.
Liz is honored to have been selected as a recipient of the 2015 Lunt Fontanne Fellowship by the Ten Chimneys Foundation, and attended a weeklong intensive workshop with Master Teacher, Phylicia Rashad.
Ms. Mikel received the 2018 Award for Excellence in Community Service from the Dallas Historical Society for making significant contributions to Dallas’ quality of life.
In the Spring of 2019, Dallas Theater Center honored Liz with the Bill and Linda Custard Award for her extraordinary, distinguished, and long-time service to DTC.
Liz will play John Handcock in the upcoming tour and Broadway revival of the musical comedy 1776 and is anticipating returning to Broadway when it reopens. 1776 will be directed by Tony Award winner and American Repertory Theater artistic director, Diane Paulus.
Ms. Mikel is a proud member of the Dee and Hal Brierley Resident Acting Company of the Tony Award winning, Dallas Theater Center.
She is a member of both professional actor’s unions, Actors’ Equity Association and Screen Actors Guild.
A dedicated mother and grandmother, Liz thanks her family, both biological and chosen, for their support and love!
Follow Liz online!
Facebook: Ms. Liz Mikel; Instagram: @miz_lyzz; Twitter: @mizlyzz
# # #