MONTCLAIR — Julia Linger of Cranford, a sophomore at The Wardlaw-Hartridge School in Edison, walked down the red carpet and returned home with the award for Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role at the Montclair State University Theatre Night Awards on April 26.
One of 12 nominees for the award in this statewide competition, Linger won for her portrayal of Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker, the Wardlaw-Hartridge fall play in 2012. Linger has been acting since second grade, mostly in school plays but also in a few community theater productions. Although she has received her share of accolades for her voice, this is her first acting award.
“I’m speechless and in awe,” Linger said. “I still can’t believe it. I was competing against really talented actors from performing arts high schools all over the state. When they announced my name, my parents and I just looked at each other and didn’t believe it. It’s amazing.”
Linger, a two-time selection to the All-State Women’s Choir, said she loves plays and musicals equally. She finds plays more challenging because there is no music or ensemble to support the actors.
“Playing Helen Keller was probably my favorite role ever,” Linger said. “You have to rely purely on acting. You don’t have dialogue to help you.”
Linger embraced the role of Helen Keller and tried to live like her character by using blindfolds and earplugs at home. She rehearsed for countless hours with Samantha Lamparello, who also was nominated for the Best Actress award for her role as Annie Sullivan. Linger and Lamparello often rehearsed on their own and sometimes practiced sign language from across the AP Room. They carried that chemistry to the stage and earned nominations for their outstanding performances.
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