Cast of ‘Rent,’ proud and honored

Cory Thaxton

The Northeast Louisiana Music Awards was just like any other award show you would see on television, but it honored local musical artists.

The Downtown Monroe Alliance hosted the first ever people’s choice music event in this area and their second event ever.

The music awards honored and show- cased the latest talents and contributors to the contemporary music scene in Northeast Louisiana.

The show featured many performances from the area’s hottest artists, including the Josh Love Trio, Big Al Cherry, Jig the Alien and even ULM’s own Julian Jones and Claire Vangelisti.

Awards were presented in several different categories including: Jazz, Blues, Rock, Alternative Rock, Experimental, Classical, Theatrical, Country and Bluegrass.

Inductees into the Northeast Louisiana Hall of Fame were also honored, as well as members of the community nominated for Legacy, Entertainer of the Year, Female and Male Performer of the Year and Duo of the Year.

The ULM cast of “RENT” won best in the theatrical category.

“It was really exciting, and I was very anxious about speaking to the crowd, but we were all very proud,” Marie Looney, a senior music major said.

Looney played Maureen in the production, and she would put their production against any other college production of “Rent.”

“The talent the cast possessed was unreal for a small city like Monroe,” Looney said.

Hannah Bryan, a senior education major who played Mimi in the production, said she did not expect for them to win.

She didn’t have anything prepared to say. “Luckily Marie spoke rst. She thanked

Robin Stephens, our director, and the NELA Music Awards, but we were all three very honored and excited to have been nominated, and even more thrilled to have won,” Bryan said.

The awards were held at e Monroe Civic Center on Thursday night at 7p.m. with a cocktail hour before it started.

Bryan has been in so many productions at ULM and Strauss, but, for her, “Rent” was by far the most emotional and engaging show she has ever done.

“I think I can speak for most of the cast when I say we enjoyed every moment with each other and our wonderful director,” Bryan said.

Each person worked so hard and gave everything they had. It made the show so fabulous to perform.”