Minty Awards to Honor Kathy Brier, Donna D'Ermilio & Loretta O'Hara and More at January Dinner Gala

The Minty Organization for the Performing Arts, the non-profit which oversees The Minty Awards, has announced honorees for the Second Minty Awards Dinner Gala to be held Thursday, January 15 at 7pm at Nicotra's Ballroom, The Hilton Garden Inn.

Honorees are Emmy nominated actress Kathy Brier, educators Donna D'Ermilio and Loretta O'Hara, and the Staten Island Advance, all who've made a positive impact on the Island's High School Theater Community.

Tickets to the Gala are $85 for adults (open bar included) and $65 for those under 21. Tickets can be purchased by visiting www.mintys.org or calling (347) 688-9527.

Co-sponsoring the Dinner Gala is The Hilton Garden Inn and Where-to-Turn Organization.

Receiving the Inaugural Distinguished Alumni Award will be Moore Catholic alumna, Kathy Brier. Ms. Brier has been a constant presence on the stage and screen for over a decade. In 2002, she created the role of Marcie Walsh on ABC's One Life to Live and received an Emmy nomination in 2004. In 2007, she won Canada's Spirit Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Daytime Drama.

In 2003, she also took on the role of Tracy Turnblad in the Broadway smash-hit Hairspray, leading the NY Daily News to dub her "the hardest working woman in show biz!" Most recently, she was seen as Sophie Tucker in HBO's Prohibition Era dramaBoardwalk Empire.

"Every theatre student dreams of making it to Broadway, and with Kathy Brier, you have just that-a graduate of Moore Catholic's outstanding theatre department, who went on to Wagner College's nationally ranked program, and from their stardom on both the stage and screen," Pinto stated. "In doing all that, she has never forgotten her roots and always looks to help the current theatre students on Staten Island. We are honoring, of course for her talent, but also for her great commitment in seeing today's students succeed and achieve their dreams."

Donna D'Ermilio and Loretta O'Hara, two stalwarts of the St. Joseph Hill Drama Club for over four decades are being honored with The Carl W. Lesch Memorial Award of Educator of the Arts.

Ms. D'Ermilio, a member of the St. Joseph Hill Class of 1971, has been directing shows on the Hill stage for over twenty years. Her professional work with the Hill Drama Club began in 1977 taking on the role of Musical Director, working alongside Sr. Raimonde, the foundress of the Drama Club, with the Jerome Kern musical Very Good, Eddie. She inherited the role of Director in the 1980s, where she has remained since, directing and musical directing such classics as Annie, Carousel, Meet Me in St. Louis, Guys and Dolls, The King & I, and Oklahoma!

"It's so uplifting for audiences to see young people sharing their gifts," said Ms. D'Ermilio. "To see friendships form during these years-Loretta and I have been friends since high school-it's very special. Your time in drama is reflected by the longevity of your friendships."

Ms. O'Hara, an alumna of St. Joseph Hill Class of 1970, is celebrating her 45th year as choreographer for the St. Joseph Hill Drama Club. From her first show, Bells are Ringing, to her most recent, Hello, Dolly!, O'Hara has spent the better part of four decades teaching high school students all across the Island how to dance. She has been choreographer not only for St. Joseph Hill, but also for St. John Villa, St. Peter's Boys, Moore Catholic, and Msgr. Farrell High School. Among the shows she's choreographed, 42nd Street at St. John Villa takes the cake as her favorite, with On Your Toes, Oklahoma!, andCarousel, which she has choreographed seven times, also personal favorites of hers.

"I always tell the boys everyone can dance, but not everyone is a dancer. My job is to get everyone on that stage and make them look good by showcasing their capabilities," O'Hara said.

"We are thrilled with the Honorees that were chosen by the public for this year's Dinner Gala," said Michael J. Pinto, Executive Director. "To have two individuals who have been at the top of their game for as long as Donna and Loretta have pretty much says it all. When you think of the Hill Drama Club, you automatically think of the both of them, and for over four decades, they have instilled in their students what we try to achieve with The Minty's, and we think this honor is long overdue."

Students that worked with D'Ermilio and O'Hara are encouraged to email MintyAwards@gmail.com to submit photos and videos of past production as well as be part of a special Alumni Tribute Performance at The Gala.

The Staten Island Advance is being honored with the Community Enrichment Award. The Staten Island Advance has been informing Staten Islanders of the goings on of their borough since 1886. Throughout its history, The Advance has consistently demonstrated a strong commitment to fine journalism and showcasing the achievements of students and the arts.

"Whether it is a preview of a school musical in its AWE or Education Columns, or a human interest story on one of our student's achievements, The Advance promotes our students and makes them true stars in our community," Pinto remarked. "In a world where most of the news can be depressing and dark, The Advance has always shown a bright light on our students and theatre community, and for that they deserve to be applauded."

Founded in 2010, The Minty Awards has saluted the best and brightest of Staten Island's Catholic High School Theatre Departments, donating over $40,000 back to the schools. This year, The Fifth Minty Awards will take place on Sunday, June 7 at The St. George Theatre.

The remaining Board members of The Minty Organization include Jessica Caracciolo, Joseph Caramanno, Diana Ciavarella, Christina Moore, Robert Santimauro and Rebecca Sciannameo.



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