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Monday, May 6, 2019

PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE ANNOUNCES 2019 RISING STAR AWARD NOMINATIONS


CEREMONY TO BE BROADCAST LIVE ON JUNE 4, 2019
Presented by the Investors Foundation
(Millburn, NJ) May 6, 2019 – As one of the nation’s leading professional theaters and recipient of the Regional Theatre Tony Award, Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Michael Stotts-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), 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 2019 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation ceremony will take place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, 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 (HTTV), of Summit, New Jersey.
A total of 63 school districts received at least one nomination or honorable mention in 2019 out of the 100 entered schools. Among the top nominated high schools, Summit High School has 15 nominations, Morristown High School has 13 nominations, Madison High School has 12 nominations, Howell High School has 10 nominations, Hopewell Valley Central High School has 9 nominations, Delaware Valley Regional High School and Westfield High School each have 7 nominations, Academy of Holy Angels and Gill St. Bernard’s School each have 6 nominations and Chatham High school received 5 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. Hoebee, Paper 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 in My Fair Lady (Laura Benanti), Beetlejuice (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 (Matthew Scott), 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 Hollywood Bowl’s Into the Woods, 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 a full 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 Chairman 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 theater education in college. Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to award a prize of $500 to a school receiving the 2019 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 2019: Learn Your Lessons Well” on August 2 and August 3 on the main stage at Paper Mill Playhouse.
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. The Mickey McNany Theater Education Scholarship is provided by Paper Mill Playhouse. Paper Mill Playhouse Education & Outreach are generously sponsored by The Goren Family & Harmony Helper.
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.
2019 Rising Star Awards Nominations and Honorable Mentions
OUTSTANDING OVERALL PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL
Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR
Summit HS, PIPPIN

Honorable Mentions
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
Gill St. Bernard's School, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
Final Nominations
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, SEUSSICAL, Mikayla Gilham as “Gertrude McFuzz”
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Maeve Merzena as “Roxie Hart”
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Caroline Herbert as “Velma Kelly”
Immaculate Heart Academy, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, Jenna Clover as “Belle”
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR , Kassi McMillan as “Alice Murphy”
Toms River HS, North, PIPPIN, Yna Tresvalles as “Leading Player”
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY, Nicole Player as “Charity Hope Valentine”
Honorable Mentions
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Abigail Daniels as “Alice Murphy”
Morristown H, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Brenna Thornton as “Morticia Addams”
Summit HS, PIPPIN,Briana Gilyard as “Leading Player”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A LEADING ROLE
Final Nominations
Eastern Regional HS, THE MUSIC MAN, Caleb Schneider as “Harold Hill”
Franklin HS, WEST SIDE STORY, Richard Francese as “Tony”
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Jaron Cole as “Jimmy Ray Dobbs”
Memorial HS, THE WHO'S TOMMY, Jason Concepcion as “Tommy”
Newark Academy, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD, Zach Kessel as “Clive Paget/John Jasper”
Nutley HS, NEWSIES, Eric Sebek as “Jack Kelly”
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Mitchell Sink as “Pippin”

Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Ronan Green as “Quasimodo”
Colts Neck HS, BIG FISH, Thomas Kaiser as “Will Bloom”
Jonathan Dayton HS, URINETOWN, Will Silva as “Bobby Strong”
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR, Patrick Buckley as “Jimmy Ray Dobbs”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Final Nominations
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Rianna LeHane as “Lady Larken”
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Vicky Fleisch as “The Drowsy Chaperone”
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Alex Mroczko as “Margo Crawford”
Millburn HS, GUYS AND DOLLS, Halle Lipton as “Miss Adelaide”
Pingry School, RENT, Dorothea Miller as “Maureen”
Somerville HS, PIPPIN, Sophie Belkin as “Catherine”
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Annie Milsten as “Fastrada”

Honorable Mentions
Mater Dei HS, TUCK EVERLASTING, Sarah Dolan as “Mae Tuck”
Moorestown HS, 9 TO 5, Ann Comegno as “Roz Keith”
West Milford Township HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Mia Grizzuti as “Wednesday Addams”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ACTOR IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
Final Nominations
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Luke Berninger as “Sir Harry”
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Will Pearce as “Officer Lockstock”
Haddon Township HS, LES MISÉRABLES: SCHOOL EDITION, Joey Tabasco as “Marius”
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Joseph Grisanzio as “Adolpho”
Nutley HS,, NEWSIES, Luke Surretsky as “Crutchie”
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Harry Saroff as “Charlemagne”
Whippany Park HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Antonio Porciello as “Amos Hart”

Honorable Mentions
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Hunter Trstensky as “Caldwell B. Cladwell”
Memorial HS, THE WHO'S TOMMY, Geovanni Perez as “Captain Walker”
Morris Hills HS, A FUNNY THING…FORUM, Robert McKnight as “Hysterium”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE IN A FEATURED ROLE
Final Nominations
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Marissa Dellapi as “Jester”
Gill St. Bernard's School,MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, Allyson Stevens as “Katie”
Haddon Township HS, LES MISÉRABLES: SCHOOL EDITION, Caroline Quattro as “Madame Thenardier”
High Tech HS, EVITA, Sara Bartoszek as “Peron's Mistress”
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Briana Brabham as “Trix the Aviatrix”
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Caroline Abut as “Berthe”

Honorable Mentions
Academy for Performing Arts at UCVTS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Melody Stubbs as “Alice Beineke” Colts Neck HS, BIG FISH, Michah Schachet-Briskin as “Amos Calloway”
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Julia Bozza as “Alice Beineke”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ENSEMBLE MEMBER
Final Nominations
Bridgewater-Raritan HS, CINDERELLA, Nick Cook as “Herald”
Fair Lawn HS, WORKING, Abigail Montesino as “Grace Clements”
Gloucester County Institute of Technology, SEUSSICAL, Angelina Canavan as “Boy”
Hackensack HS, HELLO, DOLLY!, Tyler Wild as “Ermengarde”
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Anna McCarthy as “Mama Murphy”
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR, Alana Malanga as “Mama Murphy”
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY, Sean Marner as “Big Daddy Brubeck”
Honorable Mentions
Columbia HS, MARY POPPINS , Phoebe Dybner as “Bird Woman (understudy)”
Columbia HS, MARY POPPINS , Franca Rosenblatt as “Bird Woman”
Princeton Day School, LITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS, Bruno Cucchi as “The Customer/Skip Snip”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A FEATURED ENSEMBLE GROUP
Final Nominations
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, “The Merry Murderesses”
Immaculate Heart Academy, DISNEY'S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST, “The Silly Girls”
Lakeland Regional HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, “The Merry Murderesses”
North Brunswick HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, “The Merry Murderesses”
Northern Valley Regional @Old Tappan, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, “The Merry Murderesses”
Union HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, “The Merry Murderesses”
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY; “Dance Hall Girls”
Honorable Mentions
Millburn HS, GUYS AND DOLLS, “Hot Box Girls”
River Dell HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION , “The Merry Murderesses”
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY A CHORUS
Final Nominations
Academy for Performing Arts at UCVTS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Summit HS, PIPPIN
West Morris Central HS, BRIGHT STAR
Honorable Mentions
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Jonathan Dayton HS, URINETOWN
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR
OUTSTANDING PERFORMANCE BY AN ORCHESTRA
Final Nominations
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR
Morris Hills HS, A FUNNY THING…FORUM
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY
Newark Academy THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, MAMMA MIA!
Summit HS, PIPPIN

Honorable Mentions
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE
Toms River HS, North PIPPIN
West Morris Central HS, BRIGHT STAR
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT BY A TEACHER OR OUTSIDE DIRECTOR
Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Clinton B. Ambs
Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Katie Rochon
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Stephen Kazakoff
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Blake Spence
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Katie Adams
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR , Eric Sciotto
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Anne Poyner

Honorable Mentions
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Katie Collins
Gill St. Bernard's School, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, Paul H. Canada, Todd Ross
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY, Daniel Devlin
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN MUSIC DIRECTION
Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Daniel Wells, Thomas Hayden
Fair Lawn HS, WORKING, Charles Santoro
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Regina McAllen, Anthony Limaldi
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, David Gallagher
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR, Richard Todd Adams, Edward F. Ginter
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Daniel King, Steve Rapp
Union HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION , Laura Muller, Melissa Abbate

Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Ken Bryon, Brian Conti
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Dan Malloy, Russ Batsch
Sayreville War Memorial HS, WEST SIDE STORY, James H. Craft, Dr. Paul Caruso
OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT IN CHOREOGRAPHY AND STAGING
Final Nominations
Franklin HS, WEST SIDE STORY, Irazema Rivera
High Tech HS, EVITA, Trista DeFilippis

Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Chelsea Gower
Northern Valley Regional HS@ Old Tappan, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Alison Owusu
Nutley HS, NEWSIES, Cara Conte
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Kelly Mott-Sacks
Union City HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Ariane Ryan
Honorable Mentions
Academy of the Holy Angels, ONCE UPON A MATTRESS, Ariane Ryan
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Lisa Arrechi
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR, Eric Sciotto
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY, Samantha Hahn-Simpson
OUTSTANDING SCENIC ACHIEVEMENT
Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Joshua Paul
Gill St. Bernard's School, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, Paul H. Canada
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Anthony Freitas
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Michael Hession
Mountain Lakes HS, INTO THE WOODS, Rob Lavagno, Anthony Vazzano
Scotch Plains-Fanwood HS, MAMMA MIA!, Jeffrey Allen, Rob C. Dietze
Westfield HS, SWEET CHARITY, Roy Chambers, Jack Frankola

Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Fourth Wall Scenic
Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Fourth Wall Scenic
Union HS,, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Brian Toscano
West Morris Central HS, BRIGHT STAR, Jeff Hogan
OUTSTANDING LIGHTING ACHIEVEMENT
Final Nominations
Delaware Valley Regional HS, URINETOWN, Clinton Ambs, Skyler Krouse
Fair Lawn HS, WORKING, Curtis Shields
Harrison HS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, Colin Shields
Madison HS, BRIGHT STAR, Jen Fok, Tyler McKinnon
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Michael Hession
Mountain Lakes HS, INTO THE WOODS, Anthony Vazzano
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Leo Hidalgo
Honorable Mentions
Ridge HS, DISNEY'S HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL, Dallas Harvey
St. Joseph Regional HS, BRIGHT STAR,Curtis Reik
West Morris Central HS, BRIGHT STAR, Timothy Meola
OUTSTANDING COSTUMING ACHIEVEMENT
Final Nominations
Columbia HS, MARY POPPINS,Barbara Canace, Carol Rutledge
Gill St. Bernard's School, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS, Paul H. Canada
Harrison HS, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH, Mary Pat Shields

Hopewell Valley Central HS, CHICAGO: HIGH SCHOOL EDITION, Jordan Brennan, Annabelle Mason, Quinn Merzena, Anna Nartinm, Keuka Davus
Howell HS, THE DROWSY CHAPERONE, Jacquie Revier
Morristown HS, THE ADDAMS FAMILY, Katie Adams, Mollie Lyn Berman
Mountain Lakes HS, INTO THE WOODS, Kandy Delgado

Honorable Mentions
Chatham HS, THE HUNCHBACK OF NOTRE DAME, Barbara Fertakos
Eastern Regional HS, THE MUSIC MAN, Michelle Heyers, Mary Jane Bowne
Summit HS, PIPPIN, Katherine Winter

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