Each year, the MTW Footlighters award scholarships to local high school students. Since the program’s inception over $120,000 in scholarships have been awarded to deserving students. Many of our awarded students have attended premiere musical theatre programs across the country. The scholarship is open to high school students in the local area.
The following is a list of some of our scholarships.
Jan Ritschel Scholarship – In memory of one of Southern California’s preeminent voice teachers and musical directors.
Ken and Dottie Reiner Scholarship – In honor of two of our most devoted benefactors and the founders of MTW’s Reiner Staged Reading Series.
John Bisom Scholarship – In memory of a frequent MTW performer who was one of the kindest, most loving souls in Southern California musical theatre.
Don Knabe Scholarship – In honor of a great arts supporter during his time serving the community on the LA County Board of Supervisors.
Garman Family Scholarship – In honor of the parents of MTW’s Executive Director, Paul Garman.
Dr. Frances Grover Scholarship – In memory of this exceptional woman and legendary philanthropist of the Arts in Long Beach.
Don Temple Family Scholarship – In memory of the self-made man who was a true philanthropist in our community.
Dramatic Allied Arts Guild Scholarship – To promote and advance the study of the dramatic fine arts and allied arts in the city of Long Beach.
James H. Ackerman Scholarship – In memory of a local lawyer who was a great supporter of the arts through the Evalyn M. Bauer Foundation.
Mu-ZAK Scholarship – Given by Leslie Tinnaro in loving memory of her son Zak for his creative artistry on and off the stage.
We are proud to announce our 2021 Scholarship Winners.
Jan Ritschel Scholarship – Drew Dela Llana
Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts – 11th grade
A current junior and rising senior at the Huntington Beach Academy of the Performing Arts (APA), Drew is grateful for this opportunity and excited for her future in theatre after high school. The past year at APA she’s appeared as Sophie in Robin Hood and the minstrel in Something Rotten!.
Don Knabe Scholarship – Fintan Swift
Los Angeles County High School for the Arts – 12th grade
Fintan Swift is a recent graduate of LACHSA’s theatre and musical theatre departments. Previous musicals include West Side Story (Riff), Jesus Christ Superstar (Jesus), Spring Awakening (Hanschen), Once On This Island (Papa Ge). Fintan is taking a gap year before applying for BFA in theatre for the fall of 2022.
Ken and Dottie Reiner Scholarship – Dylan Bernstein
Woodrow Wilson High School – 12th grade
Dylan Bernstein, a 2021 Wilson High School Valedictorian, has been featured as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof, Jafar in Aladdin, Papa Ge in Once on this Island, among other roles. As someone who grew up watching MTW performances, he is so excited for the opportunity the Footlighters have provided!
Dramatic Allied Arts Guild Scholarship – Kaylee Brubaker
Woodrow Wilson High School – 12th grade
Kaylee Brubaker, a Class of 2021 Wilson High School graduate, will be attending California State University, Long Beach in the Fall and continue her love for performing in the Disney parks and through school/community theatre. She is so grateful to the MTW Footlighters for supporting her in this endeavor.
Garman Family Scholarship – Cindy Blanco Flores
Buena Park High School – 12th grade
A current senior and will be attending the University of Long Beach. Cindy is grateful for this amazing opportunity and she is excited to see what college has for her in music! Her Junior year, Cindy appeared as sister Sophia in the Sound Of Music
Don Temple Family Scholarship – Aidan McGuiness
St. Anthony High School – 12th grade
Aidan McGuiness is thrilled to have been presented with this amazing opportunity. He plans to continue in the performing arts throughout college and beyond. Some of his favorite credits include: Into The Woods (Jack), Peter And The Starcatcher (Peter), and Godspell (Nick). He would like to thank his family and friends for their support, as well as the Footlighters Foundation for giving students a chance to shine on stage.
James H. Ackerman Scholarship– Olivia Aniceto
Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts – 12th grade
Olivia is a Senior at the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts. BEAUTY AND THE BEAST (Belle), SOMETHING ROTTEN(Portia), OKLAHOMA (Laurey), SWEENEY TODD (Johanna), SIDESHOW (Violet), GYPSY (Dainty June), MARY POPPINS(Jane), ONCE ON THIS ISLAND(TiMoune). She thanks her Mom, Dad and Sister, for their support.
Dr. Frances Grover Scholarship – Samuel George
Trinitas Arts Conservatory – 12th grade
Samuel George lives in Anaheim, California, where he attends Servite High School. Within his high school, he partakes in the school’s theatre program, Trinitas Arts Conservatory. Since his Freshman year, he’s performed as lead in numerous productions such as Into the Woods, Oklahoma!, and The Fantasticks.
John Bisom Scholarship – Saylyrr Toilolo
Renaissance High School for the Arts – 12th grade
Saylyrr Toilolo is currently a senior at Renaissance High School for the Arts. She has been in shows such as You’re a Good Man Charlie Brown, Our Town, The Wiz, The Lion King, and A Dream Play. A writer, singer, and actress, she is excited for what the future holds.
Mu-ZAK Scholarship – Sean Kato
Marina High School – 11th grade
Sean Kato is a Junior studying Musical Theatre at the Huntington Beach Academy for the Performing Arts. Some recent credits include Anthony in Sweeney Todd and Robin Hood in Robin Hood and the White Arrow. He is thankful for all of the love, support, and effort from his teachers and family throughout the years!
Footlighters Scholarship – Olivia Ostlund
St. Margarets Episcopal High School – 11th grade
Olivia Ostlund is pursuing her dreams, honing her craft with regular classes for musical theatre. She recently starred as The Woman on The Ledge in Songs For A New World, and has been the finalist in many vocal competitions. Olivia is honored to be part of the Footlighters Scholarship!
Footlighters Scholarship – Brittany Fisheli
Fullerton Union High School – 12th grade
A 2021 Fullerton Union High School Triple Threat Student, has been featured as Miss Honey in Matilda The Musical, Women in Love/Sick, Lucy in The Girl In The White Pinafore, Euges in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Fritzie in Cabaret and so many others. Brittany is so excited to perform alongside the other Footlighter Scholarship winners and in front of an audience!
MTW Scholarship History
Since the Musical Theatre West Footlighters scholarships were established in 2005, we have awarded over $120,000 to 118 deserving local high school students from throughout Los Angeles and Orange Counties. In addition to the Footlighters scholarships, several named scholarships have been established to honor MTW donors by their families and friends, allowing us to double the number of scholarships we can give each year.