Photo Flash: Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2009 Rising Star Award Winners

Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Artistic Director, Mark W. Jones-Executive Director) The Rising Star Awards are modeled after the Tony® Awards and Paper Mill's program serves the entire state of New Jersey with 100 entered productions from high schools. The 2009 Rising Star Award ceremony was held at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, June 16th in which the nominees performed and the award recipients were presented with a crystal award from Rising Star Award partner Tiffany's & Co. Investors Savings Bank Foundation is the title sponsor of the 2009 Rising Star Awards.

Since their inception in 1996 the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater has ignited the careers of many notable performers, all of whom attended high school in New Jersey. Among early nominees and winners are Tony® Award winner Laura Benanti who starred on Broadway opposite Patti LuPone in Gypsy, and Academy Award® nominee Anne Hathaway.

Among the nominated high schools, Rahway High School led the evening with four Rising Star Awards including the award for Outstanding Overall Production. Bergen County Academies and Summit High School and Union High School each won two Rising Star Awards. Bayonne High School, Bloomfield High School, Butler High School, Cranford High School, Don Bosco Preparatory High School, Fair Lawn High School, Hillsborough High School, Howell High School, Shore Regional High School, St. Joseph Regional High School and The Pingry School each won one Rising Star Award.

Paper Mill awards over $130,000 in scholarships the Rising Star Awards. Four $1,000 cash scholarships are awarded to outstanding individual students participating in entered Rising Star Award productions who plan to continue studying theater in college. A technical theater scholarship is sponsored annually by Scaramouche Costumes, LLC. Paper Mill has also partnered with Westminster College of the Arts of Rider University in Princeton, New Jersey to offer two scholarships worth $56,000 and $72,000 respectively, to a selected students participating in an entered Rising Star Award production who are planning to study musical theater at the college. Additionally, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories automatically receive a full scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse's competitive Summer Musical Theater Conservatory.
The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards will be one of 16 regional awards programs that will participate in the first ever "National High School Musical Theater Awards" planned by Pittsburgh CLO and the Nederlander Organization. The awards are called "The Jimmy's" and are named in honor of legendary Broadway producer, James Nederlander. The 2009 Rising Star Awards winners in the Lead Actress and Lead Actor categories will advance to the Nationals which will be held at New York University in Manhattan over four days in June, and will culminate with a gala awards ceremony on June 29, 2009 at NYU's Skirball Center.

Paper Mill Director of Education, Lisa Cooney says, "What's happening in high schools musical productions here in New Jersey and around the country is remarkable. Programs like the Rising Star Awards have raised 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 scholarship money. Many of Paper Mill'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 Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theater artist."
The 2009 Rising Star Awards presented by Investors Savings Bank Foundation are also generously supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, The Ambrose & Ida Fredrickson Foundation, The Bloomingdale's Fund of the Macy's Foundation, and John Burgio & Ruth Bedford in memory of Jane Burgio. Additional major funding for Paper Mill Playhouse Education Outreach is provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, MetLife Foundation and Shirley Aidekman-Kaye.

Paper Mill Playhouse programs are made possible, in part, by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for 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/Department of State, A Partner Agency of the National Endowment for the Arts, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is provided by generous contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

2009 Rising Star Award Recipients:


•Outstanding Graphic Design

Paul Gaschler

Union High School

42nd STREET

•Outstanding Lobby Display

Carol Hassert and Sherri Williamson

Summit High School

THE MUSIC MAN

•Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement

Sylvia C. Abdelsalam

Butler High School

CATS
•Outstanding Costuming Achievement

Rahway High School

THE Will Rogers FOLLIES

•Outstanding Lighting Achievement

Matthew Gordon

Bergen County Academies

INTO THE WOODS

•Outstanding Scenic Achievement

Jane Asch

The Pingry School

LES MISERABLES

•Outstanding Choreography

Chelsea Cicci

Bloomfield High School

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

•Outstanding Musical Direction

Ed Ginter

Don Bosco Preparatory High School

LES MISERABLES

•Outstanding Direction

Alison Dooley

Rahway High School

THE Will Rogers FOLLIES

•Outstanding Orchestra

Hillsborough High School

WEST SIDE STORY

•Outstanding Chorus

Rahway High School

THE Will Rogers FOLLIES

•Outstanding Ensemble Group

"The Barbershop Quartet"

Summit High School

THE MUSIC MAN

•Outstanding Ensemble Member

Kelly Cosentino as "Donna"

Shore Regional High School

OVER HERE!

•Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role

Jason Cohen as "Judge Pitkin W. Bridgework"

Howell High School

ON THE TOWN

•Outstanding Supporting Actor

Matthew Corbin as "Billy Lawlor"

Union High School

42nd STREET

•Outstanding Supporting Actress

Erica Morreale as "Bonnie"

Cranford High School

ANYTHING GOES

•Outstanding Leading Actor

Anthony Bruno as "The Baker"

Bergen County Academies

INTO THE WOODS

•Outstanding Leading Actress

Julia Knitel as "Millie Dillmount"

Fair Lawn High School

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE

•Educational Impact Award (TIE)

St. Joseph Regional High School

-AND-

Bayonne High School

•Outstanding Overall Production

Rahway High School

THE Will Rogers FOLLIES

2009 Student Achievement Award Recipients

•Musical Director

Natasha Gonzalez

Academy of the Holy Angels

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE

•Choreographer

Cassie Faulborn and Jessica O'Hagan

Academy of the Holy Angels

THOROUGHLY MODERN MILLIE

•Props Mistress

Jessica Diamond

Bergen County Academies

INTO THE WOODS

•Website Designer/Historian

Michael Ciszewski

Bergen County Academies

INTO THE WOODS

•Stage Technical Leader

Sebastian Moon and Rachel Jacquin

Cranford High School

ANYTHING GOES

•Set Designer

Ashley Petix

Robbinsville High School

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT

•Head Electrician

Michael Velez

Summit High School

THE MUSIC MAN

•Costume Designer

Jeanette Pidi

Dumont High School

A FUNNY THING HAPPENED ON THE WAY TO THE FORUM

Photos courtesy of Paper Mill Playhouse

Photo Flash: Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2009 Rising Star Award Winners
Mark S. Hoebee, Artistic Director, Paper Mill Playhouse, Julia Knitel (Fairlawn High School) for her role as Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie, Anthony Bruno (Bergen County Academies) for his role as The Baker in Into The Woods and Patrick Parker, Associate Artistic Director, Paper Mill Playhouse

Photo Flash: Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2009 Rising Star Award Winners
2009 Rising Star Awards, Photo by Jerry Dalia, Winners of Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, The cast, crew and creative team of Rahway High School for Will Rogers Follies


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