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2014 Minty Awards, Honoring 50 Years of Staten Island Musical Theatre, Set for June 1

2014 Minty Awards, Honoring 50 Years of Staten Island Musical Theatre, Set for June 1

The Minty Awards, which began four years ago as a way to honor the Catholic high school theater departments, is preparing for its biggest ceremony yet and will be honoring a major milestone in Staten Island education: half a century of high school musical theatre.

Fifty years ago, in May 1964, St. Peter's Boys produced the first musical on Staten Island, OKLAHOMA, directed by the legendary impresario, Carl William Lesch. "This is going to be a truly extraordinary night of theatre and celebration," said Michael J. Pinto, Sea '06, who serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for the Minty Awards, and co-host of the ceremony. "We have several members of that 1964 cast who are coming to introduce the current cast of St. Peter's musical production. It's going to be very special for everyone, especially the students being able to see the pioneers of high school theater on Staten Island."

The 2014 Minty Awards will be held on Sunday, June 1 at 7pm at The St. George Theatre. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased by visiting www.mintys.org or calling 718-702-0472.

Joining The Minty Organization for the Performing Arts in bringing The 2014 Minty Awards to Staten Island is Ben-Jo General Trucking, Minto Entertainment Inc, and Wagner College. Both Minto Entertainment and Wagner College have served as co-sponsors for the previous 3 years, as well.

Last year's ceremony was attended by over 900 people and saw Msgr. Farrell High School's cast of THE DROWSY CHAPERONE capture The St. Genesius Award for Outstanding Musical.

This year, the schools that will be participating are Moore Catholic HS (BYE, BYE, BIRDIE), Msgr. Farrell HS (HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS WITHOUT REALLY TRYING) Notre Dame Academy (FOOTLOOSE), St. John Villa Academy (ANYTHING GOES), St. Joseph Hill Academy (GUYS AND DOLLS), St. Joseph by-the Sea HS (KISS ME, KATE), and St. Peter's Boys HS (JEKYLL AND HYDE).

The schools and students will be competing in 13 categories (Among them Outstanding Choreography, Outstanding Featured Dancer, Outstanding Leading Actor) including the evening's coveted award, The St. Genesius Award for Outstanding Musical. The school that wins the Best Musical Award also receives a monetary prize to go toward the betterment of the school's Fine Arts Department. Over the past three years, nearly $20,000 has been donated back to the Catholic High Schools that have won this award. Once again, all the schools nominated for The St. Genesius Award will be receiving a monetary prize.

A student from each school will also receive The Theatre Player of the Year Award. Each school was asked to select one student who exemplified the spirit of that school's theater department. Superintendent of Schools for the Archdiocese of New York, Dr. Timothy McNiff, will present the school's recipient with a special award the night of the ceremony.

Each school's cast will also be performing in a specially commissioned opening number medley, as well as a 7-minute performance from their show.

As mentioned earlier, also being honored at the ceremony will be the 1964 cast of St. Peter's OKLAHOMA, which celebrated its 50th anniversary of being the first musical produced on Staten Island. The group, along with its late director Carl William Lesch, was honored in January at the Inaugural Minty Organization Gala.

Joining Pinto as co-host for this year's ceremony will be Jessica Caracciolo, SJVA '10. "The talent in our schools gets better and better each year, and I cannot wait for it to all come together at the night of the Minty's. In the past four years, these students from all different schools have come together to support each other, and to see them as a family, and not just competing against each other, is truly special."

Due to scheduling conflicts, a Minty Awards for the Public High Schools had to be cancelled. However, the public school programs have been invited to perform at the June 1 ceremony, making it the first Minty Awards where Catholic and Public school programs will share the same stage.

"While it is so unfortunate we were not able to produce a Minty Awards for the public high schools, as originally planned, we look forward to them joining us and building one large theater community in our schools," stated Rebecca Sciannameo, Vice Chair for Educational Programming of The Minty Organization. "We're looking to add a slate of new programs beginning in the fall, such as Master Classes and Audition Workshops, that will help our students prepare for not only college but a career in theatre. We want to make sure all young actors can take advantage of our programs to make them better at their craft."

Assisting in handing out the envelopes will be some of last year's winners, as well as graduates from all the participating schools who were active members of the theater programs during high school, including some who have gone on to a career on Broadway. Also scheduled to be on hand to present the St. Genesius Award is Tony Award winner, Michele Pawk, a professor of theatre at Wagner College.

The remaining Board members include Joseph Caramanno, Diana Ciavarella, Robert Santimauro, and Christina Moore, Miss Cosmopolitan 2014, and choreographer for the ceremony.

Individuals who wish to contribute to The Minty Awards are asked to visit www.mintys.org.

The Mission of The Minty Awards: "We hope to start a tradition which honors the sacrifice and dedication of High School students in dramatic arts programs. The Minty Awards aims to promote these programs, performers, and all who support them. We believe that these students and their schools provide excellent examples of self-discipline, teamwork, and faith, and we should celebrate their efforts and achievements."

Pictured: The cast of Msgr. Farrell's THE DROWSY CHAPERONE celebrates after winning the 2013 St. Genesius Award.

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