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Jon Rua Honored With SDCF Breakout Award

The award recognized the stage and screen choreographer for his ‘rising star’ moment.

NEW YORK CITY: Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation, the not-for-profit foundation of Stage Directors and Choreographers Society, awarded the Breakout Award to Jon Rua in recognition of his choreography for the stage. The award was presented to Rua on Jan. 24 during a virtual event, hosted by Anne Kauffman, that also featured presentations of the previously announced Gordon Davidson Award (to Emily Mann) and Zelda Fichandler Award (to Mark Valdez). 

Jon Rua.

The Breakout Award is given to a director or choreographer for a production or selection of work that signals a shift in a career and the beginning of critical recognition—a “rising star” moment. 

Rua’s career crosses the stage and screen. He was the co-creative director and choreographer of the sold-out 2019 New Year’s Eve Phish concert at Madison Square Garden. Other choreography credits include the music video for Coheed & Cambria’s “Old Flames,” West Side Story at Milwaukee Rep, and the Muny’s Aida and Jesus Christ Superstar. He was co-choreographer for individual production numbers in Broadway’s The Cher Show and SpongeBob Squarepants and assistant choregrapher for The SpongeBob Musical: Live On Stage on Nickelodeon and the film Isn’t It Romantic

Teenage Soul, a dance narrative written, choreographed, and performed by Rua, has been commissioned by Milwaukee Rep and has begun its developmental process. His short film Unknown will be released in 2022. He is also the choreographer for upcoming 2022 productions of The Hombres at Two River Theater and Godspell at PCLO.

As an actor, Jon has originated roles including Charles Lee in Hamilton, Patchy the Pirate in SpongeBob Squarepants, and Jesus Pena in Hands on a Hardbody. Other acting credits include In the Heights on Broadway, the Muny’s Annie; Somewhere at the Old Globe (for which he was nominated for a Craig Noel Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play); Kung Fu at the Signature Theatre; and The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity at Second Stage Theater.

The finalists for the Breakout Award were Billy Bustamante and Alex Sanchez. The Breakout Award committee included Darren Lee, Maria Torres, and Christopher Windom.

Founded in 1965, Stage Directors and Choreographers Foundation aims to celebrate, develop, and support professional stage directors and choreographers throughout every phase of their careers.

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