Columbia High School’s ‘Beauty & the Beast’ Nominated for 10 Paper Mill Rising Star Awards

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Columbia High School’s production of Beauty & the Beast has been nominated for 10 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Stars Awards.

Only three other schools received more nominations this year: Summit High School with 18, Union High School with 12 and Westfield High School with 11 nominations.

Last year, CHS received 14 nominations for its production of Ragtime; it won three awards.

Beauty & the Beast was named as a finalist for Outstanding Overall Musical and also for Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role. Schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Musical and Leading Actor/Actress nominees perform at the event, and award recipients are presented with an engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co.

CHS was nominated as a finalist for: Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, Outstanding Performance by a Chorus, Outstanding Performance for a Featured Ensemble Group (“Silly Girls”), Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director for Tricia Benn and Bethany Pettigrew, Outstanding Achievement in Musical Direction for Jamie Bunce-Arraial and Peter F. Bauer, Outstanding Achievement in Choreography and Staging (Benn and Pettigrew), Outstanding Lighting Achievement for Tara Marie Abbondante, and Outstanding Hair & Make-Up Achievement (Kim Shriver, Suzanne Roghanchi, Skye Tyson).

The show received Honorable Mentions for Scenic Achievement and Costuming (Kathy Nye, Carol Rutledge, Suzanne Roganchi, Barbara Canace).

Individual student finalists include: Grant King as “Lumiere” for Actor in a Supporting Role. Hunter Kovacs (“Cogsworth”) and Matthew Lintern (“Lefou) each received an Honorable Mention for Performance in a Featured Role.

CHS also was nominated for the Educational Impact Award, the winner of which receives a $500 prize. This award 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.

Founded in 1996, the Rising Star awards give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a statewide level. Presented by the Investors Foundation, the ceremony will take place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, June 7, at 7:30pm, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond. The ceremony will be broadcast live on television and online through Hometowne Television, of Summit, New Jersey.

As one of the nation’s leading regional theaters and producing partners for Broadway, Paper Mill Playhouse has a reputation for launching many stars and shows onto the Great White Way, including Anne Hathaway, Laura Benanti and Nikki M. James. The theater will be the recipient of this year’s Regional Theatre Tony Award.

“We are very excited to celebrate excellence in high school musical theater with the students of New Jersey,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director. “For many New Jersey 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 our Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won esteemed industry awards while working in theater and film.”

Paper Mill Director of Education Lisa Cooney said, “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 scholarships and professional training. We consistently hear from top-tier colleges and casting directors that a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theater artist.”


See a full list of nominees here and attached as a PDF.

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