Annika Johansson Selected Best Supporting Actress

Annika Johannson accepts the  Best Supporting Actress award at the Pantages Theatre, right after she performed a number on the Hollywood stage.

Palisades High School junior Annika Johansson was selected Best Supporting Actress at the Jerry Herman High School Musical Theater Award Show at the Pantages in Hollywood on May 5.

Each year, The Jerry Herman Awards invites four of the participating high schools to perform production numbers during the awards ceremony. This year’s show featured performances from The Brentwood School (Chicago), Village Christian School (Disney’s Beauty and the Beast), Palisades Charter High School (Mean Girls) and Providence High School (Les Misérables: School Edition).

Johansson, who was Regina George in PaliHi’s Mean Girls, performed “Where Do You Belong” during the ceremony.

“Walking on the stage was such a surreal experience for me,” she said, and noted that they announced the winner for her category right after the cast’s on-stage performance. “I ran as fast as I could and got there just in time [to accept the award].”

Johansson was competing against students from Village Christian School (Juliette Waltz), AMPA @Hamilton HS (Lisa Peretti), Louisville HS (Emilia Brown), Culver City HS (Natalie Cayetano) and Ambassador Christian School (Sophia Stern).

The National High School Musical Theatre Awards program was established in 2009 to support public and private schools in the country. categories recognized performance and technical such as scenic, lighting and costume design, orchestra, ensemble/chorus, staging/choreography, musical direction, technical crew, best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, “No Small Parts” and best production.

To qualify for this award, volunteer adjudicators are sent to watch high school performances. In the spring, a team at the Pantages determines the nominees using the adjudicators’ notes and a digital recording of the production.

Johannson was also one of the leads this year in PaliHi’s 9 to 5, playing a sweet character. “Before Mean Girls I had only played nicer characters like Sophia in Mamma Mia, which I performed at Pali,” she said. “I was drawn to Regina because she has depth and a character arc, unlike other roles I’ve played previously.

“I remember auditioning for Mean Girls and trying to come off as mean so that I would be considered for the role.” She said that playing Regina wasn’t difficult because, “I had practiced so much and researched her character in different ways, whether it was the movie or musical version.”

Johannson’s love of musicals started when she first went to see a Theatre Palisades Youth production. “The first national tour that I saw was Hamilton when I was 11 or 12 years old, and I remember falling in love with it,” she said.

“Like most people in 2016, I had the score of Hamilton completely memorized and I could still recite it today,” Johannson said and added her favorite musical is probably Les Miserables or Wicked. “I love the vocal scores for both shows and I would love to play Cosette or Elphaba one day.”

When she was younger, she took hip-hop classes at Fancy Feet. “I wouldn’t consider my dancing skills stronger than my acting and singing, but it’s maybe my favorite part of performing.” She is in the PaliHi Choir and also the Pali acapella group, Acapai, but “I love to challenge myself with characters that dance.”

She studies vocals with Heather Lyle, the owner of BlueCat Vocal studios, “she’s wonderful,” Johannson said.

“Theater has allowed me to find a community that supports me and accepts everyone, and I am so grateful to have the support system I have where I’m surrounded by dedicated and talented people,” Johannson said. “The cast of Mean Girls has become a family, and being able to perform with them was the best thing I could’ve experienced, especially as a junior in high school.”

She is a member of the PaliHi Ambassadors, which conducts school tours for prospective students and parents, and participates in community events, such as the Holiday Ho!Ho!Ho! and the Palisades 4th of July Parade.

Johannson, who has grown up in Pacific Palisades, also participates in Sages and Seekers and The Siblings Project, which is a community service program where students meet with elementary school kids and act as an “older sibling” for them.

“I’m also in Link Crew, which is the welcoming program to incoming freshmen, where we help get them acclimated to life in high school,” said Johannson who also serves as one of the presidents of March for Our Lives, a PaliHi gun violence prevention club.

Palisades residents may have probably already met this talented young actress and not realized it. “I’m a hostess at Café Vida Saturday and Sunday mornings,” Johannson said. “I love the Palisades community, so I really enjoy being a hostess, even though it gets stressful sometimes. “

She can’t stay and chat with customers after work because “I tend to have a performance or a rehearsal right after work, so I’m constantly running from work to a rehearsal or a show.”

Near the end of the summer, Johannson will be in Sweden visiting family in friends, but until then it’s work, babysitting, taking dance classes and preparing for her senior year and college applications.

Nancy Fracchiolla, Palisades High School drama teacher and director of Mean Girls, gives Annika Johannson a hug, after she won the award for best supporting actress.

(Editor’s note: CTN will try to update you on any of Johannson’s upcoming performances, so that you can see for yourself, why she was selected as Best Supporting Actress in L.A. City and County.)


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2 Responses to Annika Johansson Selected Best Supporting Actress

  1. M says:

    WONDERFUL! An outstanding “teen”. A fine example for other teens to follow. Maybe not in theatre, but certainly in “how to conduct ones self”. To respect and be courteous to others. One would hope that every teen would take-away a sense of pride and respect for themselves and others as they enter the real world.

  2. Joan Blanchard says:

    FYI, she auditioned for the next production next Fall of The Addam’s Family and got the role of Morticia! No need to post this, just thought you might find it interesting.

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