Arts & Culture Maplewood Schools / Kids South Orange Towns

CHS’ Ragtime Wins Three Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards

CHS cast and crew of Ragtime with Brian Stokes Mitchell
CHS cast and crew of Ragtime with Brian Stokes Mitchell

The Columbia High School production of Ragtime won three coveted Rising Star awards from the Paper Mill Playhouse last night — including one of the top awards: Outstanding Direction.

Tricia Benn and Bethany Pettigrew nabbed that outstanding direction award on behalf of CHS.

Ethan Gill won the Student Achievement Award for his work as Assistant Technical Director of Ragtime. The Paper Mill Playhouse Technical Theatre Scholarship Scholarship for the Rising Star Awards went to Aileen Sartori of Columbia High School.

Columbia was among the top nominated high schools with 14 nominations. Union High School led with 16 nominations, followed by CHS and Westfield High School with 14 nominations each, Summit High School with 11 nominations, Hillsborough High School with 9 nominations and Eastern Regional High School (Voorhees) with 7 nominations.

The awards were broadcast live online and available on HomeTowne Television. The live broadcast was made possible with support from Ricalton’s Village Tavern, 19 Valley Street in South Orange, Marilyn & Hugo Pfaltz, Davies & Associates and Paul & Lisa Allen.

A rebroadcast of the ceremony will run on HomeTowne Television on Friday, June 5, at 1:00pm, Saturday, June 6, at 7:30pm, and Monday, June 8, at 8:00pm. (Check local listings.) The ceremony will be available on HomeTowne Television’s website, on-demand feature at www.hometownetv.org in the coming weeks.

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 Misérables), 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 2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony took place at Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday,  June 2, at 7:30pm, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond.

Union High School won the coveted title of Outstanding Overall Production and left Paper Mill Playhouse with a total of nine Rising Star Awards.

Other schools who took home 2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards include:

  • Bergen County Academies (three awards),
  • Cedar Grove High School,
  • Cicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts (two awards),
  • Colonia High School (two awards),
  • Freehold High School,
  • Gill St. Bernard’s School,
  • Memorial High School/West New York,
  • Midland Park Junior/Senior High School,
  • Pascack Valley High School, Perth Amboy High School,
  • Princeton Day School,
  • St. Joseph Regional High School,
  • Summit High School (three awards),
  • Wallkill Valley Regional High School and
  • Westfield High School (two awards).

“We are very excited to celebrate this 20-year milestone with the students of New Jersey,” commented Mark S. HoebeePaper 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 our Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won esteemed industry awards while working in theater and film.”

Past Rising Star nominees and recipients recently appeared on Broadway in Honeymoon in Vegas (Rob McClure), Aladdin (Josh Dela Cruz, Jonathan Schwartz, Kathryn Allison), The Radio City Musical Hall Spring Spectacular (Laura Benanti), Les Misérables (Tony winner Nikki James), Disney’s The Lion King (Jelani Remy), Jersey Boys (Russell Fisher), Phantom of the Opera (Julia Udine), London’s West End production of The Book of Mormon (Jared Gertner); the Public Theatre’s Grounded (Anne Hathaway) and 2009 Rising Star winner Julia Knitel recently returned to Broadway in Beautiful: The Carol King Musical to understudy for the role of Carol King.

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 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.”

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. Paper Mill Playhouse conceived and created the awards in 1996 to give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a statewide 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.  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.

“Investors Foundation is proud to present the 20th Annual Rising Star Awards,” said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings, who also serves on the Foundation’s Board of Directors. “New Jersey’s high school musical theatre students are incredibly talented, and we are grateful to be a part of an event that allows their accomplishments to be recognized.”

Paper Mill Playhouse also awarded $5,000 in scholarships at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation.  Five $1,000 cash scholarships were given to outstanding individual students who plan to continue studying theater performance or technical theater in college. Paper Mill Playhouse was pleased to award a prize of $500 to Colonia High School who received the 2015 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 and 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 Freehold 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.

Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories receive a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse‘s 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 stage at Paper Mill Playhouse in the season finale concert, “New Voices of 2015: Hooray for Hollywood!” on July 31 and August 1.

The 2015 Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are also supported by The Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, The Merck Company Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

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 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.

20th Annual Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation

 2015 Recipientsas presented at the 20th Annual Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards on Tuesday, June 2nd, 2015
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Overall ProductionUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Actress in a Leading RoleAdina Triolo as “Princess Winnifred”Princeton Day SchoolONCE UPON A MATTRESS
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Actor in a Leading RoleNick Berninger as “Chris”St. Joseph Regional High SchoolMISS SAIGON
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Actress in a Supporting RolePaulina Hill as “Lady of the Lake”Midland Park Junior/Senior High SchoolSPAMALOT
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Actor in a Supporting RoleSean McManus as “Tobias Ragg”Summit High SchoolSWEENEY TODD: SCHOOL EDITION
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Performance in a Featured RoleKristian AdapUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Featured Ensemble GroupThe Sophisticated GentlemanUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding ChorusWestfield High SchoolURINETOWN
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding DirectionTricia Benn, Bethany PettigrewColumbia High SchoolRAGTIME: SCHOOL EDITION
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding DirectionJames MosserUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Choreography / Musical StagingJennifer Williams, James MosserUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Music DirectionJames Mosser, Laura MullerUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding OrchestraUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Scenic AchievementRodney Carroll, Mike NapovierWallkill Valley Regional High SchoolTHE ADDAMS FAMILY
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Lighting AchievementCoby Chasman-BeckUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Costuming AchievementPaul H. CanadaGill St. Bernard’s SchoolONCE UPON A MATTRESS
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardOutstanding Hair and Make-up AchievementRebecca Arnold, Emmy Zobitz, Rachel OlsenSummit High SchoolSWEENEY TODD: SCHOOL EDITION
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardEducational Impact AwardColonia High SchoolCARRIE: THE MUSICAL
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award“Theatre for Everyone”Inclusion & Access AwardFreehold High SchoolTHE ADDAMS FAMILY
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardEmily DoneganStage ManagementBergen County AcademiesKISS ME, KATE
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardBrianna HoodyStudent Music DirectorBergen County AcademiesKISS ME, KATE
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardMonica DeLoraStage ManagementCedar Grove High SchoolURINETOWN
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardMamasa WaggehStage ManagementCicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine ArtsTHE FROGS
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardEthan GillAssistant Technical DirectorColumbia High School

RAGTIME: SCHOOL EDITION

2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardJose Sosa and Marlen SanchezDrop/Prop DesignMemorial High SchoolLITTLE SHOP OF HORRORS
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardAlyssa Zoll and Tyler HalliganAssistant Choreographer/Dance CaptainPascack Valley High SchoolANYTHING GOES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardPeter GangiSound DesignSummit High SchoolSWEENEY TODD: SCHOOL EDITION
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardJasmine DurhamAssistant DirectorUnion High SchoolSOPHISTICATED LADIES
2015 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star AwardStudent Achievement AwardStephen BubniakStage ManagementWestfield High SchoolURINETOWN
The Investors Foundation Rising Star Awards ScholarshipJessica LevinBergen County Academies
Janet Sovey Scholarship for the Rising Star AwardsKelly HeddenColonia High School
The Jane Grey Burgio Memorial Scholarship for the Rising Star AwardsAmanda LeonPerth Amboy High School
The Douglas M. Krueger Scholarship Fund for the Rising Star AwardsDamian OtchereCicely L. Tyson School of Performing and Fine Arts
Paper Mill Playhouse Technical Theatre Scholarship Scholarship for the Rising Star AwardsAileen SartoriColumbia High School

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