Central Florida LGBTQ performing arts scholarship honors performer who died from cancer

$20K in scholarships to be awarded in honor of Sam Singhaus, known as Miss Sammy

ORLANDO, Fla. – LGBTQ+ youth and their allies in Central Florida now have the opportunity to apply for a scholarship honoring legendary performer Sam Singhaus, who died from brain cancer in 2020.

Singhaus was known to fans as the iconic Miss Sammy. His close friend Neil Hamilton started the Singhaus Scholarship for the Performing Arts to honor the Broadway actor, his brother, Steve, and sister-in-law, Marcy.

“After they passed, it seemed very, very fitting to do something that would carry their spirit. They were extremely generous and creative and fostered a lot of creativity in young artists over the years,” Hamilton said.

Hamilton added Singhaus was active in the Orlando Fringe Festival, as well as numerous organizations throughout the community.

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“There’s a lot of turbulence and a lot of negativity that’s swirling around throughout the country and throughout this state,” Hamilton said. “We really want to show private support that is pushing through the school system to elevate these kids. So if you have a passion, a strong talent you are honing for your future, we want to remove whatever hurdles we possibly can.”

Hamilton said this year, they will award $20,000 in scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth and allies ages 16-24. Scholarships are available for costume design, music, dance, make-up, design and tech, and acting. Hamilton said the money does not have to be used for formal education.

“So, again, having the scholarship fund be something that can be applied to whatever it is that helps further you along your path. For that individual, it was they needed help getting an apartment of their own so they could continue going to school,” Hamilton said. “We just want to basically tell these kids that they’re wonderful who they are, they’re wonderful for their talents. We see their talents. We see their passion, and that’s what matters and we’re here to lend a hand to get them where they want to go.”

The deadline to apply is June 16. Hamilton said applicants are encouraged to submit videos and portfolios, but it’s not required.

“We’re not really positioning this as a talent competition. This is an assistance program to help young artists get to the next stage of their career,” Hamilton said.

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He also said the top two recipients will be offered mentoring and representation by local agencies, including Mode Talent. That will include headshots and coaching for auditions.

Hamilton told News 6 the LGBTQ+ Center is a financial sponsor of the scholarship and last year more than 100 individual donations helped fund the scholarships.

“I really hope that Sam would be proud,” he said. “Sam was powerful. He was just love and acceptance. He was tolerance. He understood how to advocate for change and how to push for equality, but also to show grace and tolerance and love when that was needed above all things. He had so much courage just to do and to pursue the things that he loved. And if we can just push a little bit of that spirit into the future, that’s what we want to do. That’s our goal.”

To donate or apply for the scholarship, visit Singhaus Scholarship online here.

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Julie Broughton's career in Central Florida has spanned more than 14 years, starting with News 6 as a meteorologist and now anchoring newscasts.