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Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre


As one of the nation’s leading professional theaters and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows to Broadway. Since their inception in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theatre have ignited the careers of many notable performers, all of whom attended high school in New Jersey.  

Among the early nominees and winners are Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables) photo, Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (Gypsy) and Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Tony nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin), Shanice Williams, star of NBC’s The Wiz Live! and Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (The Book of Mormon).
The 2018 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation ceremony will take place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Monday, June 4, at 7:30pm, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond. The ceremony will be broadcast live on television and online through Paper Mill Playhouse video partner, Hometowne Television, of Summit, New Jersey.
Among the top nominated high schools, Union High School has 12 nominations, Columbia High School has 9 nominations, Delaware Valley Regional High School and West Morris Central High School  each have 8  nominations, Moorestown High School has 7 nominations, Eastern Regional High School, Ridge High School and Toms River High School North each have 6 nominations, Morristown High School has 5 nominations and Fair Lawn High School, Gloucester County Institute of Technology, Wallkill Valley Regional High School and Westfield High School each have 4 nominations. These totals do not account for Student Achievement Award nominations.
“We are very excited to celebrate excellence in high school musical theater with the students of New Jersey,” commented Mark S. HoebeePaper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director. “For many New Jersey schools, the prestigious honor of a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nomination is the culmination of their hard work in a high school musical. Many of our Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won esteemed industry awards while working in theater and film.” 
Past Rising Star nominees and recipients recently appeared on Broadway in She Loves Me (Laura Benanti), Noises Off (Rob McClure), American Psycho (Morgan Weed) Aladdin (Josh Dela Cruz, Jonathan Schwartz, Kathryn Allison), Les Misérables (Nikki M. James), Disney’s The Lion King (Jelani Remy), Beautiful: The Carole King Musical (Julia Knitel), Jersey Boys (Russell Fisher), The Phantom of the Opera (Julia Udine), London’s West End production of The Book of Mormon (Jared Gertner); the Public Theater's Grounded (Anne Hathaway). Shanice Williams, star of NBC’s The Wiz Live was nominated for a Rising Star Award in 2014.
Paper Mill Director of Education Lisa Cooney explains, "What's happening in high school musical productions here in New Jersey and around the country is remarkable. Programs like the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards raise the bar and create opportunities for student performers and theater technicians to be recognized for their achievements, while giving them access to thousands of dollars in scholarships and professional training. We consistently hear from top-tier colleges and casting directors that a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theater artist.”
The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are modeled after the Tony Awards, and Paper Mill Playhouse's program serves the entire state of New Jersey, with nearly 100 entered productions from public, private and parochial high schools. Paper Mill Playhouse conceived and created the awards in 1996 to give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a statewide level. The musicals are adjudicated by Paper Mill Playhouse throughout the spring by a group of 70 evaluators, with each school receiving four independent evaluations.  Schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Musical and Leading Actor/Actress nominees perform at the event, and award recipients are presented with an engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co.
"Recognizing someone's talent, hard work, and dedication can be a validation that propels them forward in pursuing their dreams. The Rising Star Awards can be that impetus for the student performers and theater technicians it honors each year," said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings. "Investors Bank is grateful for the opportunity to acknowledge, not just the students, but the theater programs in which they participate in high schools throughout New Jersey. Congratulations to everyone, and never stop working toward achieving your dreams."
Paper Mill Playhouse also awards $5,000 in scholarships at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation.  Five $1,000 cash scholarships are given to outstanding individual students who plan to continue studying theater performance or technical theater in college. Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to award a prize of $500 to a school receiving the 2018 Educational Impact Award, which acknowledges a school that successfully connects the musical to the district's curriculum, using the production as a teaching tool for the greater student body and local community.  Through the Rising Star “Theatre for Everyone” Inclusion and Access Award and a partnership with The Cultural Access Network of New Jersey, a project of the New Jersey Theatre Alliance and the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, Paper Mill Playhouse will present a cash award of $1,000 to a school to recognize excellence in the promotion and practice of creative inclusion of students and adults with disabilities as performers, designers, musicians and production staff. Additionally, this award seeks to recognize and reward a school that takes steps to ensure their performances are accessible to audiences with disabilities.
Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories receive a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse's competitive Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, a professional training program, which, along with advanced classes in singing, acting and dance, offers the nominees an opportunity to perform in the season finale concert, "New Voices of 2018: From Sea to Shining Sea” on July 27 and July 28 at Montclair State University.
Rising Star Awards - Presented by the Investors Foundation is generously supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation.
Rising Star scholarships are made possible by Ruth Bedford in memory of Jane Burgio, Walt Santner in honor of Janet Sovey, and the Douglas Michael Krueger Scholarship Fund Trust. The Theatre for Everyone Inclusion and Access Award is supported by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.
Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is grateful for generous contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals.
2018 Rising Star Awards Nominations and Honorable Mentions

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE
Moorestown HSK, ISS ME, KATE
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Union HS, PETER PAN
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN

Honorable Mentions
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Westfield HS, FOLLIES
 
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Final Nominations
Bridgewater-Raritan HS, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, Jenny Brady as “Cora Hoover Hopper”
Montclair Kimberley Academy, INTO THE WOODS, Ellie Kallay as “The Baker's Wife”
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Mira Mookerjee as “Lilli Vanessi/Katharine”
Old Bridge HS, SISTER ACT, Amaya White as “Deloris Van Cartier”
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Sara Miller as “Princess Winnifred”
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Nicole Verga as “Janet Van De Graaff”
West Orange HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Gabrielle Florendo as “Nina Rosario”

Honorable Mentions
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Sherwin Fabe as “Nina Rosario”
Don Bosco Prep HS, ALL SHOOK UP, Kristina Conzo as “Natalie Heller/Ed”
Hackensack HS, CABARET, Subiyah Mboya as “The Emcee”

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Final Nominations
Academy of the Holy Angels, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Luke Berninger as “Carl Hanratty”
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Jovanni Aparicio as “Usnavi”
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, THE PAJAMA GAME, Spencer Petro as “Sid Sorokin”
Madison HS, FOOTLOOSE, Jaron Cole as “Ren McCormack”
Nutley HS, PIPPIN, Eric Sebek as “Pippin”
St. Joseph Regional HS, CURTAINS, Vincent Simpson as “Lt. Frank Cioffi”
West Windsor-Plainsboro HS North, LES MISÉRABLES: SCHOOL EDITION, Ben Sasportas as “Jean Valjean”

Honorable Mentions
Christian Brothers Academy, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Michael Guarino as “Tevye”
Jackson Memorial HS, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Matt Ebersole as “The Beast”
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Victor Colasurdo as “Gomez Addams”

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Final Nominations
Chatham HS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Lilly McGrath as “Hodel”
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, ,Claire Wolfson as “Betty Rizzo”
Hopewell Valley Central HS THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Caroline Herbert as “The Chaperone”
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Skylar Raye Noyes “Lois Lane/Bianca”
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES, Kate Croonquist as “Erma”
Mount Olive HS, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Lauren Onufryk as “Brenda Strong”
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Yna Tresvalles as “Wednesday Addams”

Honorable Mentions
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Naomi Fisch as “Amber Von Tussle”
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Madie Reilly as “Velma Von Tussle”
St. Joseph Regional HS, CURTAINS, Kassi McMillanas “Georgia Hendricks”

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

Final Nominations
Bridgewater-Raritan HS, ANYONE CAN WHISTLE, Nick Scafuto as “J. Bowden Hapgood”
Columbia H, SHAIRSPRAY, Hunter Kovacs as “Corny Collins”
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, THE PAJAMA GAME, Joey Bennett as “Vernon Hines”
Morris Hills HS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Ryan Spada as “Perchik”
Nutley HS, PIPPIN, Wesley Gardner as “Charlemagne”
Vernon Township HS, YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN, Matthew Losco as “Igor“
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Chris Hara as “Aldolpho”

Honorable Mentions
Colonia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Dervens Celestin as “Seaweed J. Stubbs”
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Dean Blizzard as “Bill Calhoun/Lucentio”
St. Joseph Regional HS, CURTAINS, James Zitelli as “Aaron Fox”

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role

Final Nominations
Don Bosco Prep HS, ALL SHOOK UP, Trevor DeLello as “Dean Hyde”
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Primo Davis as “Franz Klinemann“
Secaucus HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Nicholas Matos as “Sonny”
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Sarah Mullin as “Alice Beineke”
Union HS, PETER PAN, Marc-Andrew Duvelson as “Smee”
Union HS, PETER PAN, Alyssa Carbonell as “Tiger Lily”
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Abigail Connolly as “Hattie Walker”

Honorable Mentions
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Ben Blais as “Wilbur Turnblad”
Pascack Valley HS, HOW TO SUCCEED, Kari Hauck as “Bud Frump”
West Orange HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Jordan Scott Young as “Daniela”

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Ensemble Member

Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Joshua Nilsen as “Eugene Florczyk”
Millburn HS, RENT: SCHOOL EDITION, Halle Lipton as “Seasons of Love Soloist”
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Elena Iliadis as “Pauline”
Summit HS, LEGALLY BLONDE, JJ Stewart as “Winthrop, Castillo”
West Orange HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Madelyn Machado as “Carla”
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Nicole Player as “Young Heidi”

Honorable Mentions
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE, Nicki Kissi as “Ex-Girlfriend”
Ridge HS, ANNIE, Evelyn Zeng as “Molly”
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Grace Alai as “Evleen”

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Ensemble Group

Final Nominations
Bernards HS, THE MUSIC MAN, “The Barbershop Quartet”
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, “The Burger Palace Boys”
Monmouth Regional HS, GEORGE M!, “The Four Cohans”
Ridge HS, ANNIE, ,“The Orphans”
Summit HS LEGALLY BLONDE, “The Delta Nu Girls/Greek Chorus”
Union HS, PETER PAN, “The Indians”
Union HS, PETER PAN, “The Lost Boys”

Honorable Mentions
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, “The Gangsters“
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN,  “The Ladies in Waiting”
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, “The Showgirls”

Outstanding Performance by a Chorus

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE
Don Bosco Prep HS, ALL SHOOK UP
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, THE PAJAMA GAME
Princeton Day School, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Union HS, PETER PAN

Honorable Mentions
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN
West Orange HS, IN THE HEIGHTS

Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE
Ridge HS, ANNIE
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
Union HS, PETER PAN
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN
West Windsor-Plainsboro HS North, LES MISÉRABLES: SCHOOL EDITION

Honorable Mentions
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE
Mount Olive HS, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN
Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Tricia Benn, Bethany Pettigrew
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Clinton B. Ambs
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Erica Scanlon Harr, Greg Harr
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Carolyn Little
Union HS, PETER PAN, James Mosser
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Jeff Hogan

Honorable Mentions
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Dr. Gregg Molotsky
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE, John Giresi
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Christine Molnar
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Daniel Devlin

Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Jamie Bunce, Peter F. Bauer
Delaware Valley Regional HS, ,GREAS EDoug Radziewicz
Don Bosco Prep HS, ALL SHOOK UP, Ed Ginter, John Zupan
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE, Charles Santoro
Union HS, PETER PAN, James Mosser, Laura Muller
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Mark Stingle, Margaret Schaefer
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, John Brzozowski

Honorable Mentions
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Sergey Tkachenko, Greg Connlain
Ridge HS, ANNIE, Barbara Retzko, Jennifer Curran
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, George Powers

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography and Staging

Final Nominations
Academy of the Holy Angels, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Arianne Ryan
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Tricia Benn, Bethany Pettigrew
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Heather Fleischman
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, THE PAJAMA GAME, Erica Paolucci
Hackensack HS, CABARET, Michele Stein
Union HS, PETER PAN, Jennifer Williams
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Dana Harrington

Honorable Mentions
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Robert McGuckin, Danielle Portera McCaig
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Kimberley Zmudsky
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Denise Kullhan

Outstanding Scenic Achievement

Final Nominations
Eastern Regional HSROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Chris Childs, Cyrena Kokolis, Aaron Forsman,
Gregg Molotsky
Harrison HS, SEUSSICAL, Colin Shields, Pedro Pereira, Matthew Broyszewski, Vee Broyszewski
Jackson Memorial HS, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Jamie Allaire
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES, Michael Hession, John Hession
Ridge HS, ANNIE, Jason M. Stewart
Union HS, PETER PAN, Kent Homchick
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Rodney Carrol

Honorable Mentions
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Josh Paul
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE, John Giresi, Nairi Arslan
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Jeff Hogan, John Hughes

Outstanding Lighting Achievement

Final Nominations
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Gregg Molotsky
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE, Andrew Scharwath
Jackson Memorial HS, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, James A. Lyle
Ridge HS, ANNIE, Dallas Harvey
Union HS, PETER PAN, Coby Chasman-Beck
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Jeff Hogan, Timothy Meola
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Sharp Edge Lighting Design

Honorable Mentions
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Robert McGuckin, Daniel Suriel
Midland Park HS, URINETOWN, Jay Patel
Princeton Day School, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, Steve Howe

Outstanding Costuming Achievement

Final Nominations
Columbia HS, HAIRSPRAY, Barbara Canace, Carol Rutledge, Suzanna Roghanchi
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Michelle Heyers
Gill St. Bernard's School, INTO THE WOODS, Paul H. Canada
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE, Katie Keith
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES, Katie Adams
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Christine Molnar
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Susan Thompson

Honorable Mentions
Jackson Memorial HS, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Playtime Costumes, Bobbie Allaire
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Joanne Sprague
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Crystal Swancey

Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement

Final Nominations
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Michelle Heyers
Gill St. Bernard's School, INTO THE WOODS, Lee Amoroso, Valeri Collins, Venus Nedd
Hackensack HS, CABARET, Sonya Kypreos, Marybeth Berndt
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES, Yasmina Abi-Aad
Toms River HS North, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Keleyn Wraga
West Morris Central HS, THE PIRATE QUEEN, Megan Spina

Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Julie Edwards
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Shanice Homeward, et al
Wallkill Valley Regional HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Christine Molnar

Student Achievement Awards
(20 finalists, 10 recipients will be announced)

Final Nominations
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS, Daniel Suriel, Lighting Designer/Board Operator
Christian Brothers Academy, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF, Public Relations Department
Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, INTO THE WOODS, Anthony Crutcher, Jr., Stage Manager
Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, INTO THE WOODS, Kaila Lewis, Lighting Designer
Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, INTO THE WOODS, Jennika Villard, Costume Designer
Delaware Valley Regional HS, GREASE, Ellis Stanton, Light Board Operator
Madison HS, FOOTLOOSE, Tyler McKinnon, Stage Manager
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES, Matt Mruz, Grace Prachthauser, Sound/Film Designer
Mount Olive HS, CATCH ME IF YOU CAN, Andrew Laudor, Lighting Designer
Nutley HS, PIPPIN, Patricia Patalinjug, Graphic Designer
Princeton Day School, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, Hope Ammidon, Assistant Director
Princeton Day School, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, Aaron Baseman, Production Art/Advertising Director
Princeton Day School, BAT BOY THE MUSICAL, Rakesh Potluri, Assistant Lighting Designer/Master Electrician
Rahway HS, A CHORUS LINE, Jason Myers, Makenzie Martin, Dance Captains
Summit HS, LEGALLY BLONDE, Sterling Hiltebrand, Technical Director
Summit HS, LEGALLY BLONDE, Costume Crew 
Summit HS, LEGALLY BLONDE, Sarah Beatty, Student Director
Voorhees HS, FOOTLOOSE, Matthew Nowell, Technical Director/Sound Designer
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Devyn Tibbals, Stage Manager
Westfield HS, FOLLIES, Morgan L. Eng, Graphic Designer/Pit Orchestra

The Educational Impact Award

Final Nominations
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS
Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, INTO THE WOODS
Fair Lawn HS, ONCE
Perth Amboy HS, ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
Ridge HS, ANNIE
St. Joseph Regional HS, CURTAINS
Summit HS, LEGALLY BLONDE

Rising Star “Theater for Everyone” Inclusion and Access Award

Final Nominations
Carteret HS, IN THE HEIGHTS
Chatham HS, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Eastern Regional HS, ROCK OF AGES: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Lodi HS, IN THE HEIGHTS
Madison HS, FOOTLOOSE
Moorestown HS, KISS ME, KATE
Morristown HS, ANYTHING GOES
Ridge HS, ANNIE
Sayreville War Memorial HS, SHREK

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization under the direction of Mark S. Hoebee (Producing Artistic Director) and Todd Schmidt (Managing Director) and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award, is one of the country's leading regional theaters.  Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.    



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