Emerging Artist Awards

2020 Recipients

Emily Berman (BFA ’12, theatre)

Emily Berman smiling.Emily Berman is a New York-based actor, musician, and voiceover artist.  She originated roles in world premiere productions of Sense and Sensibility (Chicago Shakespeare Theater, The Old Globe), Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley (Northlight Theatre), and Days Like Today (Writers Theatre). Other regional credits include Lost in Yonkers (Riverside Theater), Bridges of Madison County (Marriott Theatre), and The Diary of Anne Frank (Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, where she completed her Emerging Professional Residency immediately after graduating from Michigan). She has appeared on television on Chicago Fire and Chicago PD, and her voice has been featured in national campaigns for brands such as Trunk Club, Starbucks, Big Lots and more.  In 2019, Emily was nominated for a Joseph Jefferson award for her work in TimeLine Theatre Company’s A Shayna Maidel, and she released an album called Train and Taxi with her band, The Winchesters.

Amy Petrongelli (DMA ’16 MM ’11, voice)

Amy Petrongelli smilingSoprano Amy Petrongelli revels in performing music of all different periods and styles. Lauded in the New York Times for her “admirable fluidity,” her diverse solo performance career encompasses music from Haydn’s Creation in Carnegie Hall to Berio’s Sequenza III at the Radio Nacional Córdoba in Argentina.

An advocate for contemporary music, Amy has premiered new works for organizations such as the Houston Grand Opera, New American Voices, and AEPEX Contemporary Performance; recent collaborations and premiers include works by composers such as Christopher Cerrone, Laura Kaminsky, and Julianna Hall. Amy is also a founding member of the Khemia Ensemble, a chamber ensemble focused on championing contemporary music through multimedia performances. To further help promote music and artists of the 21st century, Amy co-founded Music in Bloom in 2018, an annual 3-day summer chamber music festival.

Amy’s commitment to musical collaboration has led her to fellowships at summer programs such as the Tanglewood Music Center, Eighth Blackbird Creative Lab, and Fall Island Vocal Arts Seminar. She has also been a featured performer for organizations such as Five Boroughs Music Festival, the Casement Fund Recital Series, the Contemporary Undercurrent of Song Project, and the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

A passionate educator, Amy has taught at Eastern Michigan University, University of Akron, and Pennsylvania State University.  She is currently an Assistant Professor of Voice at Baylor University in Waco, TX.

Tara Sheena (BFA ’11, dance)

Tara Sheena smiling

Tara Sheena is a dancer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY. As a performer, she has collaborated on recent projects with choreographers Catherine Galasso, Ivy Baldwin. Gillian Walsh, Leyya Mona Tawil*, Nadia Tykulsker*, Ursula Eagly, Lindsey Dietz Marchant*, stormy budwig, and Marion Spencer. Other highlights include the U.S. premiere of The Miracle of Heliane (Bard Summerscape 2019); the forthcoming feature film, Shirley, starring Elizabeth Moss and choreographed by Faye Driscoll; NYC restagings of major works by Merce Cunningham (NY City Center, 2013) and Steve Paxton (MoMA, 2012); and world/U.S. premieres by choreographers Molly Poerstel (Gibney Dance, 2016), Isabel Lewis (Dia Beacon, 2016), and Eddie Peake (Performa 13, 2013). Recently, she was featured in the pages of Dance Magazine (May 2020). Her original writings have been commissioned by Gibney, DanceNYC, the Knockdown Center, and Critical Correspondence, among others. She was born in Detroit and graduated from the University of Michigan with a BFA in Dance and BA in English in 2011.

*notes a fellow graduate of the University of Michigan Department of Dance 

Leah Ives
Austin Wulliman
Angela Lewis


Lucy Dhegrae
Stephen Siercks
Dee Tomasetta


Darren Criss
Shannon McGinnis
Ali Woerner & Thayer Jonutz


Matthew Ernst
Ricki Mason
Stephen Sposito


Xan Burley & Alex Springer
Celia Keenan-Bolger
Dominique Morisseau


Rodney A. Brown
Rachel Hoffman
James Wolk


Nadine Balbeisi
Zachary Booth
Kelly Hirina


Juliana Athayde
Nicholas Blaemire
Sean Panikkar


Julie Blume
Xiang Gao
Rachel Laritz


Esther Chae
Jeremy Kittell
Michael Spencer Phillips


Sam Davis
Ben Klein
Matthew Rose


Michael Fabiano
Christopher Jamros
Leyya Tawil


Jesse Blumberg
Miriam Shor
Julie Tice


Hunter Foster
Daniel Bernard Roumain


Damon Gupton