Westfield High School Wins 8 Paper Mill Rising Star Awards; All Winners Announced!


The 2012 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony took place today, June 5th at the Millburn theater. Schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Musical and Leading Actor/Actress nominees performed at the event and award recipients were presented with an engraved crystal award from Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards partner, Tiffany & Co. A total of 31 awards were presented along with five scholarships and other cash prizes.

Westfield High School took home eight awards, more than any other school in the state. However, Gill St. Bernard’s School took home the coveted Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical. HillsboroughHigh School and MoorestownHigh School each took home two awards. Other schools who received Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards include: Absegami High School, Bergen County Academies, Butler High School, Cicely L. Tyson School of the Performing Arts, Don Bosco Prep High School, Morristown-Beard School, Mount Olive High School, Princeton Day School, Saddle River Day School, Sayerville War Memorial High School, Saint Joseph’s Regional High School, Summit High School, Union High School and Westwood Regional Jr./Sr. High School. See below for a full list of award winners!

Since their inception in 1996 the Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Producing Artistic Director, Todd Schmidt-Managing Director) 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 former nominees and winners are Academy Award nominee Anne Hathaway, Tony Award winner Laura Benanti, and 2011 Tony Award winner, Nikki M. James.

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. PGaper 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 is sponsored annually by Scaramouche Costumes, LLC. The Investors Bank Foundation Rising Star Awards Scholarship was presented to Garrett Eucker of Bergen County Academies.

The Tiffany & Co. Rising Star Awards Scholarship was presented to Alexandra Urquiola of Bergen County Academies. The Jane Burgio Memorial Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Morgan Kirner of AbsegamiHigh School. The Douglas M. Krueger Scholarship Fund for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Alex Bird of Mountain Lakes High School. The Scarmouche Technical Theatre Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards was presented to Nicole Marie Mageros of Ocean County Performing Arts Academy.

Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to announce that a prize of $500 will be given to Butler High School and St. Joseph’s Regional High School for receiving the 2012 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 Moorestown 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 theatres around the country. The 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 Theatre Awards competition at New York University, which culminates in a Gala Ceremony in New York City. This year New Jersey will be represented by Morgan Kirner of Absegami High School and Michael Ferlita of Sayerville War Memorial High School. 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 fourth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards will be held on Monday, June 25, 2012, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. Activities will commence on Wednesday, June 20, with rehearsals, master classes, private coaching and interviews with theater professionals leading up to the live awards show where the Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented. The program will conclude on Tuesday, June 26, 2012.

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