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Princeton Day School Takes Home Seven Rising Star Awards; Paper Mill Announces 2014 Winners!

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Princeton Day School Takes Home Seven Rising Star Awards; Paper Mill Announces 2014 Winners!

As one of the nation's leading regional theaters and producing partners for Broadway, Paper Mill Playhouse has a well-earned reputation for launching both performers and shows for Broadway. 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 MISERABLES"), Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (GYPSY) and Nikki M. James (THE BOOK OF MORMON), Tony nominee, Rob McClure (CHAPLIN), and UK Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (THE BOOK OF MORMON - West End).

The 2014 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony took place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, June 3rd at 7:30pm with an audience of over 1,200. Princeton Day School came out on top, winning Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical for their production of Urinetown. A total of 29 awards were presented along with five scholarships and other cash prizes.

Princeton Day School took home seven Rising Star Awards, more awards than any other school in the state. Summit High School won six awards, and Bergen County Academies, Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts, and Union High School took home three awards each. Other schools who received Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards include: Eastern Regional High School, Gill St. Bernard's School, High Tech High School, Hillsborough High School, James Caldwell High School, Midland Park Junior/Senior High School, Mount Olive High School, Mountain Lakes High School, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, and Westfield High School.

"There is great energy and level of excitement in high school musical theater right now," commented Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse's Producing Artistic Director. "For many New Jersey high 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 Paper Mill Playhouse's Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won prestigious industry awards while working in theater and film."

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards - presented by the Investors Foundation - are modeled after the Tony Awards and Paper Mill'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 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.

Paper Mill Playhouse also awarded $5,000 in scholarships at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation. Four $1,000 cash scholarships were given to outstanding individual students who plan to continue studying theatre in college, and a technical theatre scholarship of $1,000 was awarded to a student planning to study tech theatre. The Investors Foundation Rising Star Awards Scholarship was presented to Natalie Kane of Mountain Lakes High School. The Janet Sovey Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Patrick Korkuch of Bergen County Academies. The Jane Grey Burgio Memorial Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Cassandra Ogbozor of Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts. The Douglas M. Krueger Scholarship Fund for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Nicole Garamella of James Caldwell High School. The Paper Mill Playhouse Technical Theatre Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Emma Iacometta of Bergen County Academies.

Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to announce that a prize of $500 was presented to both Hillsborough High School and Princeton Day School for receiving the 2014 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 & Access Award and a partnership with VSA New Jersey and 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 presented a cash award of $1,000 to Eastern Regional High 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 also seeks to recognize and reward a school that takes steps to ensure their performances are accessible to audiences with disabilities.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards are one of several such programs sponsored by regional theaters around the country. Winning performers in the Lead Actress and Lead Actor categories will represent the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. The National High School Musical Theater Awards (NHSMTA) is a celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater. The program recognizes individual artistry in vocal, dance and acting performance, and honors teachers and their schools' commitment to excellence in performing arts education. The sixth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards will be held on Monday, June 30, 2014, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. Activities will commence on Wednesday, June 25, with rehearsals, master classes, private coaching and interviews with theater professionals leading up to the live awards showcase where the Jimmy Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented. The Jimmy Award is named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander. The program will conclude on Tuesday, July 1, 2014. For more information, visit nhsmta.com.

Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories receive a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse 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 season finale concert, "New Voices of 2014: Oh, What a Night!" A tribute to the magical shows and unforgettable moments that made us fall in love with the American musical" on August 1st and 2nd.

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 scholarship money. We consistently hear from top tier colleges and casting directors that the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theater artist."

Past Rising Star nominees and recipients are currently appearing on Broadway in ALADDIN (Josh Dela Cruz, Jonathan Schwartz, Daisy Hobbs), LES MISERABLES (Tony winner Nikki James), JERSEY BOYS (Russell Fisher), ROCK OF AGES (Matt Ban), THE BOOK OF MORMON (Jared Gertner - West End); and in the National Tours of THE 25TH ANNIVERSARY PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (Adam Bashian, Ben Jacoby, Julia Udine) and Disney's THE LION KING (Jelani Remy).

The 2014 Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are also supported by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Major support for Paper Mill Playhouse Education Outreach is provided by MetLife Foundation.

"We are pleased to mark our eighth year supporting Paper Mill Playhouse's important Rising Star Awards program," said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings, who also serves on the board of Investors Foundation. "We continue to applaud the Playhouse's efforts to nurture and acknowledge the outstanding talents of young people and educators throughout the state."

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/Department of State, A Partner Agency of 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. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.


19th Annual Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation:

Outstanding Overall Production

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role

Emma Magbanua as "Kim"

Union High School

MISS SAIGON: SCHOOL EDITION

Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role

Keenan Buckley as "Julian Marsh"

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role

Jessica Toltzis as "Penelope Pennywise"

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role

Jacob De Stefano as "Frau Blucher"

Midland Park Junior/Senior High School

YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role

Christopher Centinaro as "Bud Frump"

Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School

HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group

The Church Ladies

Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts

THE COLOR PURPLE

Outstanding Chorus

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Outstanding Direction

Alex Perez

High Tech High School

SPRING AWAKENING

Outstanding Choreography / Musical Staging

Kelly Mott-Sacks

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Outstanding Music Direction

Andrew Schmidt

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Outstanding Orchestra

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Outstanding Scenic Achievement

Scott Aronow

Union High School

MISS SAIGON: SCHOOL EDITION

Outstanding Lighting Achievement

Dan Ozminkowski

Union High School

MISS SAIGON: SCHOOL EDITION

Outstanding Costuming Achievement

Paul H. Canada and Beth Holland

Gill St. Bernard's School

GODSPELL

Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement

Lee Amoroso and Venus Nedd

Gill St. Bernard's School

GODSPELL

Educational Impact Award

Hillsborough High School

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF

Educational Impact Award

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

"Theatre for Everyone" Inclusion & Access Award

Eastern Regional High School

THE PIRATES OF PENZANCE

Student Achievement Award

Jabin Choi

Student Music Director

Bergen County Academies

BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL

Student Achievement Award

Tyshaun Williams

Stage Management

Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts

THE COLOR PURPLE

Student Achievement Award

Julie Crithary

Graphic Design

Mount Olive High School

CRAZY FOR YOU

Student Achievement Award

Costume Crew

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Student Achievement Award

Ellie Winter

Student Director

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Student Achievement Award

Ryan McDonald

Stage Management

Summit High School

42ND STREET

Student Achievement Award

Joseph Haggerty

Sound Design

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Student Achievement Award

Michael Tucker

Student Technical Director

Princeton Day School

URINETOWN

Student Achievement Award

Alexa Derman

Hair and Make-up Design

Westfield High School

ANYONE CAN WHISTLE

Student Achievement Award

Samantha Gruskin

Stage Management

Westfield High School

ANYONE CAN WHISTLE

The Investors Foundation Rising Star Awards Scholarship

Natalie Kane

Mountain Lakes High School

Janet Sovey Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards

Patrick Korkuch

Bergen County Academies

The Jane Grey Burgio Memorial Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards

Cassandra Ogbozar

Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts

The Douglas M. Krueger Scholarship Fund for the Rising Star Awards

Nicole Garamella

James Caldwell High School

Paper Mill Playhouse Technical Theatre Scholarship Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards

Emma Iacometta

Bergen County Academies

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