Rising Star Awards 2021

Registration forms are due by 5PM on Friday, Jan 15, 2021. However, if we reach 100 registered schools prior to that date, we may close the registration portal.  Scroll down to see more info and FAQs.

Modeled after Broadway’s Tony Awards, the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards was created in 1996 to encourage and reward exceptional accomplishments in the production of New Jersey high school musicals.  The Rising Star Awards is a statewide high school recognition program and has been replicated in several regions nationwide with Paper Mill Playhouse’s assistance.

Recognition will be made in the following categories Outstanding Solo Performance by an Actor, Outstanding Solo Performance by an Actress, Outstanding Performance by a Small Ensemble, Outstanding Performance by a Large Ensemble.

In addition to performance awards, special awards will also be given in the categories of Student Achievement, Inclusion & Access in the Arts, and Outstanding Educator. The Student Achievement Award recognizes individual student or group contributions to the greater production effort. The Rising Star “Theatre for Everyone” Inclusion & Access Award recognizes 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 also seeks to recognize and reward a school that takes steps to ensure their performances are accessible to audiences with disabilities. The Outstanding Educator Award recognizes those educators who bring the positive impact of theatre into their students’ curriculum and lives.

The Rising Star Awards also provide a variety of Scholarship Opportunities for participating high school seniors.  Paper Mill Playhouse offers four $1,000 cash awards to outstanding individual students participating in entered Rising Star Award productions, and who plan to continue studying theatre or technical theatre in college. A fifth cash scholarship of $1,000 is awarded in memoriam of Rising Star Nominee Douglas Michael Krueger.

Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the Solo Performance categories automatically receive a full scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse’s competitive Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, a professional training program composed of advanced classes in singing, acting and dance.

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Frequently Asked Questions

When is the deadline to register for the 2021 Rising Star Awards?

Registration forms are due by 5:00 pm on Friday, January 15, 2021. However, if we reach 100 registered schools prior to that date, we may close the registration portal.

When must our show be presented in order to enter the Rising Star Awards?

Since it is not required to produce a formal production this season, there is not a specific production window. As long as a school submits the required materials for consideration by April 30th, they may be considered for nomination.

How many schools are accepted into the program?

We accept a maximum of 100 schools.

Is there a registration fee?

Yes, there is a $25 registration fee which will be invoiced once the school’s registration is confirmed. For information on a fee waiver, please email Mariah Black at risingstarawards@papermill.org.

How will we know if our registration was received?

Paper Mill Playhouse will email a confirmation if your school’s application was accepted within 48 hours of submission.

What if we don’t receive a confirmation email?

Please email Mariah Black at risingstarawards@papermill.org

Will Paper Mill Playhouse accept a school purchase order or voucher for the application fee?

Yes, provided the forms arrive at Paper Mill Playhouse within ten business days of your confirmation email.

What categories will be adjudicated?

Outstanding Solo Performance by an Actress

Outstanding Solo Performance by an Actor

Outstanding Performance by a Small Ensemble (2-6)

Outstanding Performance by a Large Ensemble (7+)

Student Achievement Award(s) – recognizes student members of your production team who have given their time and talent in a backstage or non-acting capacity

Inclusion and Access Award – recognizes excellence in the promotion and practice of creative inclusion of students and adults with disabilities as performers, designers, musicians and production staff.

Outstanding Educator(s) – recognizes those educators to bring the positive impact of theatre into their students’ curriculum and lives. Must be submitted separately from category submissions and should come from a colleague or supervisor.

How will submissions be adjudicated?

We’re going digital! Each category will require schools to submit a video that meets certain criteria. While live adjudication is not part of this year’s program, submissions will still be seen and evaluated by several members of Paper Mill Playhouse’s professional staff.

What are the criteria for each category?

Please refer to the Submission Guidelines document.

How do schools submit their videos?

Via a Google Form that will be made available to participating schools once the registration window is closed. More information is available in the Submission Guidelines document.

How does a school receive a final nomination in consideration for an award?

All submissions will be reviewed by members of the Paper Mill Nomination Committee and evaluated using our Standards of Excellence Rubric and Response Form. A sample of these forms will be advanced to schools following registration. The Nomination Committee will utilize these scores and comments to discuss and determine nominees.

When will we know if we’ve been nominated?

A list of Final Nominations is posted on the Paper Mill Playhouse website, www.papermill.org, on Monday, May 14, 2021.

Will we still receive feedback?

Yes! Due to the nature of this year’s program, it will not be as extensive as 4 full performance response forms – as those were created with full productions in mind. Schools will receive a single document with scores and comments for each individual submission.

Are scholarships being awarded this year?

Yes! Paper Mill Playhouse offers four $1,000 cash awards to outstanding individual students participating in entered Rising Star Award productions, and who plan to continue studying theatre or technical theatre in college. A fifth cash scholarship of $1,000 is awarded in memoriam of Rising Star Nominee Douglas Michael Krueger.

Additionally, students receiving final nominations in the Solo Performance categories automatically receive a full 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 on the stage at Paper Mill Playhouse in the annual “New Voices Concert.”

How to Participate

We will accept the first 100 schools that submit registration.

Registration Link

Once registration is confirmed, schools must submit a $25 registration fee. For information on a fee waiver, please contact Mariah Black at risingstarawards@papermill.org.

2021 Participating Schools

TBD!

 

 

 

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 Theater for Everyone Inclusion and Access Award is supported by the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

Paper Mill Playhouse Education & Outreach programs are generously supported by The Goren Family & Harmon Helper.