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Rising Star Award Winners

 PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE ANNOUNCES 2016 RISING STAR AWARD WINNERS

Presented by the Investors Foundation

SUMMIT HIGH SCHOOL WINS PRIZE FOR BEST OVERALL MUSICAL

 
(Millburn, NJ) June 7, 2016 – As one of the nation’s leading regional theaters and producing partners for Broadway, Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows for the Great White Way. The theater will be the recipient of the 2016 Regional Theatre Tony Award this Sunday. 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 2016 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation ceremony took place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, June 7, at 7:30PM, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond. The ceremony was broadcast live on television and online through Paper Mill Playhouse video partner, Hometowne Television, of Summit, New Jersey.
Summit High School took home the prize for Outstanding Overall Production for their production of Mary Poppins. The coveted award for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role went to Claire Fitzpatrick who played the title role in Mary Poppins at Summit High School. The award for Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role went to Trevor Braun who played Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin: The Musical at Fair Lawn High School. Academy of Holy Angels High School in Demarest, NJ took home three awards for their production of Children of Eden including Outstanding Direction, Outstanding Music Direction, and Outstanding Chorus. A complete list of winners is below.


“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 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.


“We are proud to support the 2016 Rising Star Awards,”

said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings.

“All of the nominees put in a tremendous amount of time and hard work into their productions, and it has certainly shown with all the amazing shows put on this year. Best of luck to all the nominees!”


 
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 2016 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 onstage at Paper Mill Playhouse in the season finale concert, "New Voices of 2016: Everything Old is New Again!” on July 29 and July 30.
The 2016 Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are also generously supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation and MetLife 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 VSA New Jersey and 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.
PAPER MILL PLAYHOUSE, a not-for-profit arts organization, 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. 


2016 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Winners
 
Outstanding Overall Production
Summit High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role
Claire Fitzpatrick as “Mary Poppins”  
Summit High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role
Trevor Braun as “Charlie Chaplin”  
Fair Lawn High School
CHAPLIN THE MUSICAL
 
Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement
Celine Lockman, Fiona Kniaz, Alex Salvitti, Angela Colo, and Gina Freshcoln
Clearview Regional High School
THE ADDAMS FAMILY
 
Outstanding Costuming Achievement
Katherine Winter  
Summit High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Outstanding Lighting Achievement
Sharp Edge Lighting Design  
Westfield High School
INTO THE WOODS
 
Outstanding Scenic Achievement
Robert Vendetti  
Passaic County Technical Institute
MAN OF LA MANCHA
 
Outstanding Choreography / Musical Staging
Jennifer Williams
Union High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Outstanding Music Direction
George Croom
Academy of the Holy Angels
CHILDREN OF EDEN
 
Outstanding Direction
Katie McSherry
Academy of the Holy Angels
CHILDREN OF EDEN
 
Outstanding Orchestra
West Morris Central High School
IN THE HEIGHTS  
 
Outstanding Chorus
Academy of the Holy Angels
CHILDREN OF EDEN  
 
Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group
The Silly Girls  
Columbia High School
DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
 
Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role
Eric Judson as “Paul”
West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South
A CHORUS LINE
 
Outstanding Performance by a Featured Ensemble Member
Greg Lobo as “Big Jule”  
Bernards High School
GUYS AND DOLLS
 
Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role
Jazmin Palmer as “Fraulein Schneider”
Pingry School
CABARET
 
Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role
Ross Turkington as “Cookie McGee”  
Montclair Kimberley Academy
NICE WORK IF YOU CAN GET IT
 
Educational Impact Award
St. Joseph Regional High School
URINETOWN
 
 “Theatre for Everyone” Inclusion & Access Award
Morristown High School
ONCE UPON A MATTRESS
 
Student Achievement Award
Darnisha Thomas
Costume Designer
Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts
THE WIZ
 
Student Achievement Award
John Hartmann
Assistant Set Designer
David Brearley High School
AIDA
 
Student Achievement Award
Emma Nafz
Stage Manager
Morris County School of Technology
ONCE ON THIS ISLAND
 
Student Achievement Award
Kara Byrnes
Student Choreographer
Mount Olive High School
BIG FISH
 
Student Achievement Award
Dominic Hendrickson
Student Director
Mount Olive High School
BIG FISH
 
Student Achievement Award
Katherin Recio
Student Director
Summit High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Student Achievement Award
Costume Crew 
Summit High School
MARY POPPINS
 
Student Achievement Award
Devyn Tibbals
Stage Manager
Westfield High School
INTO THE WOODS
 
 
Student Achievement Award
Madeline Kevelson
Student Costume Designer
Westfield High School
INTO THE WOODS
 
Student Achievement Award
Sarah Morton
Assistant Technical Director
Westfield High School
INTO THE WOODS