2015 Rob Guest Endowment Award Winner Announced

Daniel Assetta and Delta Goodrem © Robert CattoDaniel Assetta has been announced the winner of the 2015 Rob Guest Endowment Award, following a glamorous Grand Final Concert at the Sydney Lyric Theatre on Monday 9 November.

Competing against five other outstanding finalists with his performance of Goodbye and Memphis Lives in Me, Daniel took out the prestigious award and the $20,000 prize – after being chosen by an expert panel of judges, which included Kelley Abbey, Peter Casey and Gale Edwards. The other finalists were Blake Appelqvist, Hilary Cole, Georgina Hopson, Robert McDougall and Ashleigh Rubenach.

The Melbourne East End Theatre District Artist Development Award – an initiative of Mike Walsh and the Marriner family for promising young music theatre talent, went to Robert McDougall – who will receive a $5,000 cash prize. The remaining four finalists will each receive a $1,500 cash prize. 

The Playbill Future Prospect Award was presented to Rubin Matters – who will receive a $1,500 cash prize. Sponsored by Playbill, this prize is awarded to a semi-finalist who didn’t make the finals, and the judges want to encourage to return to the competition next year.

This year saw the return of two categories recognising further excellence in other fields of musical theatre. The Rob Guest Endowment Technical Award in Honour of Sue Nattrass – awarded to Drew Cipollone, and the Rob Guest Endowment Musician Award –  won by Jack Earl. Funded by the Capitol Theatre and the Sydney Lyric Theatre, both winners took home a $10,000 cash prize intended to help fund the tuition and experience needed to help them become leaders in their field.

Now in its 7th year, the Rob Guest Endowment Grand Final Concert featured performances by Rob Mills, Caroline O’Connor, Jemma Rix, Mark Vincent, the 2014 winner Joshua Robson, as well as cast members from CATS and Matilda the Musical. The Event was hosted by David Campbell and Lucy Durack.

The Rob Guest Endowment executive committee, Kellie Dickerson, Stephen Found and Bernadette Hayes, were blown away by the calibre of talent on stage. Rob Guest Endowment Patron, John Frost AM, says the Rob Guest Endowment Awards are an incredible legacy. “Rob Guest was an inspiration to all, and a great teacher and mentor to those he worked with.” said Frost.

The late Rob Guest had a career that spanned over 40 years, making him a much loved Musical Theatre star and a household name to audiences throughout Australia, New Zealand and overseas.  Perhaps best known for his role as the Phantom of the Opera, he appeared and starred in over 40 productions including Les Miserables, Jesus Christ Superstar, Grease, Jolson, The Sound of Music and WICKED. 

Less well known to audiences was his role as mentor and adviser to many young performers he worked with over the years, helping them through rough spots and guiding them in their career development.  Following his sudden and unexpected death in 2008 while performing the role of the Wizard of Oz in WICKED, the Rob Guest Endowment was set up as a tribute to this outstanding performer to continue his work in nurturing and progressing young developing talent in the Musical Theatre industry.

For more information, visit: www.robguestendowment.com.au for details.

Image: Daniel Assetta with Delta Goodrem – photo by Robert Catto ©