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Justin Smusz going all out to win the heart of Kylie Leming during a MWAH! appearance at Walcott Intermediate School in Walcott, Iowa on May 8, 2017 (photo by Stephanie Willcox)

Story by Ray Moffitt

MWAH! troupe member Justin Smusz is headed to New York City later this month (June 2017) to compete for the country’s top male high school music theater award.

On June 5 he was named best actor by Broadway in Chicago as part of its sixth annual Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards – one of 24 student acting nominees – for his portrayal of Chad in the musical ‘All Shook Up’ this past spring at Benet Academy in Lisle, Illinois. The Benet production also won the best direction award.

Justin, whose home is in Bolingbrook and who graduated this month from Benet, has been accepted at Indiana University.

Also in a leading role of the ‘All Shook Up’ production was Taylor Oechsel, a long-time MWAH! troupe member from Naperville who is beginning her senior year at Benet.

In New York Justin will participate in a variety of coaching rehearsals as part of the national competition for the ‘Jimmy Awards,’ named for the late theater manager James M. Nederlander.