SUMMIT, NJ - Summit High School's dynamic production of "42nd Street" garnered six Rising Star Awards, including a Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role win for Keenan Buckley, as the Paper Mill Play House handed out the honors at their 19th annual ceremony.
The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards - presented by the Investors Foundation - are modeled after the Tony Awards and Paper Mill'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 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.
As Lead Actor winner, Buckley will represent the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards at the National High School Musical Theater Awards in New York City. 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 sixth annual National High School Musical Theater Awards will be held on June 30, at the Minskoff Theatre on Broadway. Activities will commence on June 25, with rehearsals, master classes, private coaching and interviews with theater professionals leading up to the live awards showcase where the Jimmy™ Award for Best Performance by an Actor and Best Performance by an Actress will be presented. The Jimmy™ Award is named for Broadway impresario James M. Nederlander. The program will conclude July 1.
Students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories receive a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse 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 the stage at Paper Mill Playhouse in the season finale concert, "New Voices of 2014: Oh, What a Night!” A tribute to the magical shows and unforgettable moments that made us fall in love with the American musical” on August 1st and 2nd.
The 2014 Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are also supported by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Major support for Paper Mill Playhouse Education Outreach is provided by MetLife Foundation.
"We are pleased to mark our eighth year supporting Paper Mill Playhouse's important Rising Star Awards program," said Investors Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings, who also serves on the board of Investors Foundation. "We continue to applaud the Playhouse's efforts to nurture and acknowledge the outstanding talents of young people and educators throughout the state."