Arts & Entertainment

Summit H.S. Wins Six Rising Star Awards; Buckley Earns Lead Actor Nod

Summit performing on the Paper Mill stage.
Keenan Buckley at the podium.
Kelly Mott-Sacks accepts her award.
Summit's Student Award winners.
Steve Rapp accepts the award for Best Orchestra.

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.

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.  Princeton Day School won Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical for their production of "Urinetown."  A total of 29 awards were presented along with five scholarships and other cash prizes.
Summit High School won six awards, including:
Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role
Keenan Buckley as “Julian Marsh”
"42nd Street" 

Student Achievement Award
Ellie Winter
Student Director
"42nd Street"
Student Achievement Award
Ryan McDonald
Stage Management
Student Achievement Award
Costume Crew
"42nd Street"
Outstanding Orchestra
"42nd Street"
Outstanding Choreography / Musical Staging
Kelly Mott-Sacks
"42nd Street"
“There is great energy and level of excitement in high school musical theater right now,” commented Mark S. Hoebee, Paper 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 Paper Mill Playhouse's Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won prestigious industry awards while working in theater and film.” 

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."


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