Gene Kelly Awards

Distinguished Alumni Award

Established in 2012, this award was created to recognize past Gene Kelly Awards participants who have gone on to successful careers in both the performing arts and other industries.


Courtney Lopez began her performance career in Pittsburgh CLO’s The King and I at the age of six before she went on to perform with the CLO Mini Stars for ten years.  She earned her Actor’s Equity card during Pittsburgh CLO’s 2000 Summer Season and continued to perform with the organization until 2006. Ms. Lopez has been seen in such Broadway hits as John Waters’ Cry Baby, Disney’s The Little Mermaid and A Chorus Line, and the national tour of Thoroughly Modern Millie.  She has been a guest soloist for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (headed by legendary conductor Marvin Hamlisch), served as a correspondent for HBO’s Top Rank Boxing, and starred alongside her husband Mario Lopez in Saved By The Baby (VH1) and Mario and Courtney's Wedding Fiesta (TLC). Most recently, she was the host of NUVOtv’s dance-meets-dating show Love and Salsa. Presently, Ms. Lopez is the co-host of the radio show On with Mario Lopez.  She currently resides in Los Angeles with Mario, their two children Gia Francesca and Dominic and their two dogs Julio Cesar Chavez Lopez and Juanita Manuela Marquez Lopez.


Andrew Giffin is a professional lighting designer known across the globe for his creative application of grandMA controls in entertainment. Andrew’s work has been seen on Justin Bieber's "Believe" tour, on The Roast of David Hasselhoff (Comedy Central), the NAACP Image Awards (FOX), SportsCenter (ESPN), Prince's Lotusflow3r release, and Fox Sports' Poker Dome Challenge, which earned an Emmy® Award for best technical team.

Dustin Giffin is President of Giffin Interior & Fixture, a family business started by his father that he recently took over. Dustin gives up countless hours of his time serving as the Technical Director at the high school that he graduated from and mentors students in the theater program, including several who have gone on to study technical theater in college and work in the field.

Sarrah Strimel's Broadway credits include An American in Paris, The Producers, Young Frankenstein, Rock of Ages, Catch Me If You Can, and Big Fish. Sarrah has also been seen in the hit TV Series Smash and The Late Show with David Letterman, and was featured in the October 2013 issue of Dance Magazine.


Tim Federle - Musical Theater veteran and author
Abass Kamara - Director of Government Relations for the Pittsburgh Penguins


Michael McGurk - Broadway Veteran
Yarone Zober - Chief of Staff for the Mayor of Pittsburgh