Naperville Teen Nominated for Statewide Acting Award

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A local teen has been nominated for a statewide award.

It’s his performance in “Merrily We Roll Along” that earned 18-year-old Johnny Rabe a nomination for best actor by the Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards.

“I was actually on the train coming from rehearsal for my recital and I got an alert on Instagram that said, ‘you’ve been tagged in a post’ so I saw what it was and it was the nomination. And that was great, being able to go into my recital with that knowledge it’s just been exciting,” said Rabe.

As one of 12 nominated in the best actor category, Johnny will compete in front of casting agents and theater professionals for a spot in the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York.

Born and raised in Naperville, the actor grew a passion for the arts at a young age, even making his way to the Broadway stage at age 12 as Ralphie in “A Christmas Story.”

“Being able to be in New York and just see Broadway happening was just incredible,” said Rabe. “And I feel like that really, I really found my place and I know what I want to do, I know what I want to be, and it’s in the world of theater.”

Johnny continued to pursue the stage and even transferred to The Chicago Academy for the Arts in high school.

He’ll graduate in just a week and plans to continue his passion for performing at Stanford University in the fall with a double major in international relations and theater.

“The happiest I ever am is when I’m on stage performing and when I’m able to connect with an audience member or have a performance that I feel is really significant or saying something important for the audience to hear,” he added.

The Illinois High School Musical Theater Awards take place in Chicago on June 4. If Johnny wins he’ll move on to represent Illinois in the National High School Musical Theater Awards on June 25.

Naperville News 17’s Christine Lena reports.