Local Students Nominated For Paper Mill Rising Star Awards

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MILLBURN — 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® nominee Anne Hathaway, and Tony® award winner Laura Benanti.

The awards are modeled after the Tony® Awards and Paper Mill Playhouse’s program serves the entire state of New Jersey with 100 entered productions from public, private and parochial high schools.


Among the top nominated high schools, Union leads with 14 nominations followed by Pt. Pleasant Borough with 10, Fair Lawn – 9, Absegami – 8, Summit – 8, Gill St. Bernard – 7, Northern Valley Regional at Demarest – 6, Cranford – 4, Morristown-Beard – 4, Rahway – 4, Shore Regional – 4, Don Bosco Prep – 3, Eastern Regional – 3, and West Milford Township – 3.

Summit’s production of “The Producers” and Union’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” are among the nominees for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical.

Nominees for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role include Alyssa Muniz of Union for portrayal of the Narrator in “Joseph” and Catalina Gaglioti of Westfield for her role as Rosa Budd / Miss Deirdre Peregrine in “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”

Kirk Geritano of JP Stevens High School, Peter Corley of Summit and Mathew Corbin of Union were nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role. Geritano played Jekyll / Hyde in “Jekyll & Hyde,” Corley played Leo Bloom in “The Producers” and Corbin played the title character in “Joseph.”

Erica Morreale and Maeve Brady, both of Cranford, were nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Morreale played Little Red Riding Hood and Brady was Jack’s Mother in the school’s production of “Into the Woods.”

Michael Gorman of Summit was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role for his portrayal of Franz Liebkind in “The Producers.”

Michael Figueriredo of Union and Adam Ziering of Westfield were nominated for Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role. Figueriredo was Reuben in his school’s production of “Joseph,” while Ziering was Durdles / Mr. Nick Cricker in “Edwin Drood.”

Summit’s Adrian Arrieta was nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Member for his role as Lead Tenor/Scott in “The Producers.”

Joseph’s Brothers from Union High School’s production of “Joseph” were nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Featured Ensemble Group

Rahway, Summit and Union were each nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Chorus, while Rahway and Union were also nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra.

The 2010 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony is set for June 8 at the Millburn theater, when the nominees perform and the award recipients are presented with a crystal award from Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards partner Tiffany & Co.

“We are proud once again to be a part of the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, which is in its 15th year of recognizing exceptional performances by high school students and educators,” said Investors Savings Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings, who also serves on the board of the Investors Savings Bank Foundation.  “Thanks to the education and outreach efforts of the Paper Mill Playhouse, programs like this one are providing talented young people with outstanding opportunities.”

The winning Actor and Actress of the 2010 Jimmy Award will each receive a full scholarship to attend New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, and a cash prize of $10,000.  In addition, each year an Outstanding Arts Educator award is presented and the winning teacher’s theatre program is awarded $5,000.  In 2009 the Outstanding Arts Educator Award was given to Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nominated director, Paula Ohaus, from New Jersey’s Hoboken High School.

Paper Mill Director of Education, Lisa Cooney adds, “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 theatre technicians to be recognized for their achievements, while giving them access to thousands of dollars in scholarship money.  Many of Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and we consistently hear from top tier colleges and casting directors that the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theatre artist.”

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