SDUSD Stories: Rising star SCPA student Sky Frank

Posted: Wednesday, July 26th 2017


Earlier this year, San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts theatre student Sky Frank made local headlines for winning Best Actor at the 2017 Ben Vereen Awards. Since then, Sky’s star has only continued to rise: On June 26th, he was recognized as one of the nation’s top young actors at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards on Broadway, taking home the “Rising Star” award.

Sky was one of 20 local students - 10 actresses and 10 actors - who were nominated for San Diego's Ben Vereen Awards, sponsored by SDCCU and held in collaboration with Broadway/San Diego. Candidates for Best Musical, Best Actor, and Best Actress were selected from onsite adjudications of high school musicals at their home venues during the 2016/2017 school year. Sky wasn’t the only San Diego Unified star at the Ben Vereen Awards - Patrick Garcia of Scripps Ranch High School was also a big winner, taking home the Best Local Theatre Teacher award. 

From that group, two students - one actor and one actress - were selected to travel to New York City for the National High School Musical Theatre Awards. Sky, as the Best Actor winner, was one of those select few. 

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards, or The Jimmy Awards, celebrate outstanding achievement in voice, dance and acting in schools across the United States, and are held in Broadway’s Minskoff Theater. The Jimmys, or “the Tonys, for teenagers,” as the New York Times describes it, takes over the Minskoff and transforms the set of “The Lion King” into a showcase for 74 of the nation’s most talented theatrical hopefuls. 

The Jimmys now involve over 1,300 high schools nationwide and 50,000 students at the local level. From this sizable group, just getting invited to attend is an incredible achievement; actually winning an award on this national stage is something almost unimaginable for most theatre students. “Being recognized like this is something that people usually only have dreams of doing,” Sky told us. Sky was the honored recipient of the Rising Star award, presented by The John Gore Organization.

What’s next for Sky? We asked him about the Ben Vereen Awards, the Jimmys and Broadway experience, and his future plans.

SDUSD: You had a birthday, and went to the Ben Vereen Awards right after that, then on to New York for the Jimmy’s… sounds like quite an adventure! What’s it been like these past several weeks?

Sky: These past several weeks have been a literal dream-come-true. Starting off by entering the San Diego Ben Vereen Awards as a male nominee, I was excited and ready to soak up whatever valuable information I could in the time that we were there. We met Ben Vereen for the first time on May 26, my birthday. Gosh that man is just such a powerful, knowledgeable being, so down to earth. He sat down with us and gave us some very useful advice that I’ll keep in mind the rest of my life. Ben spoke about a few ideals and mantras to keep in mind, one of them being "if you are here, this is where the universe wants you to be, and if you are here then the universe is in line.” How cool is that?? I felt very connected with everything he was saying. A lot of things stuck with me.

SDUSD: Can you describe what you were feeling at the Ben Vereen awards when you were onstage with everyone, waiting for them to announce the awards?

Sky: So we were onstage, holding hands with all the new, amazingly talented friends we'd made. I was rapidly repeating my name in my head "Sky Frank, Sky Frank, Sky Frank" our bodies were trembling with anticipation. One thing was going through all of our minds. Aside from the competition, we knew that the week that we had spent together, we created friendships and bonds, no matter who won, we would never forget the times we have spent with each other. We know those memories will better us throughout our lives. Then, out of nowhere Ben called MY name. Sky Frank! My body was shot with adrenaline and my mind went blank. All of a sudden the competition is over and everybody can remove themselves from their heightened stage personas. Everyone was clapping and screaming, and confetti was raining down and all of us, and I hadn’t even thought about the adventures that were to come for New York.

SDUSD: Tell us any fun memories you have of the New York trip, aside from the actual competition and awards. Had you been back to New York before?

Sky: So aside from the actual competition, rehearsal, and prep that went into The Jimmy Awards, we had the chance to experience New York City –some of us even for the first time. This was my second time in NY, having been with my Nana Pam (my grandma) for my fifteenth birthday. New York is awesome, (aside from the humidity) and I love the food, love the vibe, and I love the energy on the streets.

SDUSD: What does it mean to you, being recognized on a national stage and receiving the Rising Star award?

Sky: Being recognized like this is something that people usually only have dreams of doing. This program is so meaningful, not just because of the stage time or recognition you receive for being a part of it. I believe programs like this are essential because of the knowledge that is being passed on to the future leaders of this industry. By doing this, we are creating a path for young minds to lead. The people standing on that stage are the minds that will create the future of Musical Theatre. Being on that Broadway stage was an absolute honor and I can hardly wait to get back there. It was an incredible pleasure and such an amazing time working with choreographers Kiesha Lalama and Leo Lencicki, as well as Director Van Kaplan, who I believe were all responsible for awarding me with the Rising Star Award presented by the John Gore Organization. I learned so much from these people and I could never thank them enough for the incredible experience with the Jimmys.

SDUSD: How did you get started in theatre? Who/what were your biggest inspirations as a young child?

Sky: How did I get started in theatre? Well, I’ve always been a very theatric and confident kind of kid and was always looking for attention. I have vague memories that are backed up by my mother’s word of me being in a production of Peter Pan as a very small child at my local Jewish Community Center. However, my passion for acting was truly ignited in the 7th grade when I moved schools to SCPA. Thinking I was going to be in the Jazz Band, I eventually moved to the conclusion that Musical Theatre would be the best fit for me. My inspiration through high school was our MT teacher Bill Doyle. Having no prior singing or acting coaching, I’d say Bill was responsible for teaching me almost everything I know. For some reason, all I wanted to do was make him proud, I just wanted to hear him say it. I love that man and he's like my second father. Retiring this year, Bill ended his legacy at SCPA with a warm goodbye from all his students, faculty, and friends from all over. Love ya, Bill. 

SDUSD: Did you get to take part in any performing arts events or performances at school before SCPA?

Sky: Before SCPA I went to a regular middle school for one year where there were no fun performance opportunities, or at least any that anybody was remotely aware about. So after a year of that nonsense, my mom had the right idea by sending me to an arts school. Thank you, mom!

SDUSD: What’s next? Any thoughts or plans for after high school?

Sky: My thoughts for after high school are to go to college for Theatre or Musical Theatre, learn as much as I can, better my craft, and be a sponge, soak up whatever information I can, meet likeminded people, form relationships. In the long run, my plan is to do Theatre, then move to Film and Television, and then at any point in my life, I feel I'm free to create and release my own original music which is something I’ve also always felt very passionate about. However that'll come around in due time, I'll be sure to let you know! 

I want to give a huge thank you to Rick Hernandez, The Ben Vereen Awards, The Jimmy Awards, The Broadway League, Broadway San Diego, Christann Heideman, my parents Romy and Warren Frank, Pam Nathan, Andy Nathan, Penny Nathan, Uncle Charles, my sister Nikka, Bill Doyle, Roxane Carrasco, the crew at the Balboa Theatre and at the Minskoff Theatre, and to all my amazingly supportive friends, you know who you are. And if you’re reading this you should totally go check out my Instagram @skythesexyguy, my dad’s businesses SDR Imports and Desert Sands Vintage RV Park, as well as my mother’s massage treatments at aromytherapy.com

Thank you – “We are here!”

 

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