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.
Union High School won the Outstanding Overall Production Award for “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.” The school’s chorus, director James Mosser, and musical directors James Mosser & Laura Muller were also honored for their efforts.
Summit High School’s production of “The Producers” also garnered prizes for some participants. Michael Gorman won the Outstanding Supporting Actor Award for his portrayal of “Franz Liebkind”; Adrian Arrieta won the Outstanding Ensemble Member Award for his performance as “Lead Tenor / Scott.” The costume crew and Student Technical Director Ben Zukoff won Student Achievement Awards.
Carl Stamer and the set construction & stage crew won a Student Achievement Award for their work on Rahway High School’s production of “The Music Man.” Student Musical Director & Pit Orchestra Conductor Vangelis Dimopoulis won a Student Achievement Award for Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School’s production of “Curtains.”
Graphic Designer Cheryl Wu and Stage Manager Tzvetelina Garneva both won Student Achievement Awards for Westfield High School’s production of “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.”
The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards – presented by the Investors Savings Bank Foundation – serves the entire state of New Jersey with 100 entered productions from public, private and parochial high schools. Paper Mill Playhouse created the awards in 1996 to give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a state 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. The 2010 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony took place on June 8 at the Millburn theater where the award recipients were presented with a crystal award from 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.”
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