BLOOMFIELD, NJ – Bloomfield High School drama teacher Brandon Doemling was honored with the fourth annual Jo Anne Fox Award at Montclair State University this week. 

The recognition – which is given out at the university’s Theatre Night Awards each year – goes to a New Jersey high school theatre teacher who has a strong passion for the craft, is an inspiration to their students and creates a loving extended family while producing a quality work.

“This particular award is very satisfying because if you look at the description, it considers not only the work, but how you approach it,” Doemling told TAPinto Bloomfield.

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The award was created to remember Jo Anne Fox, the former Mahwah High School theatre teacher who co-founded the Theatre Night Awards. Fox passed away shortly after the first annual award ceremony in 2009.

Doemling was recognized for his leadership during BHS’ production of the 18th Century Italian comedy “The Servant of Two Masters.” In addition, the play received student nominations for Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actor in a Classical Play (Connor Carlin), Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Classical Play (Mark Mabalatan), Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Classical Play (Gemma Eshelman) and Outstanding Work of Innovation and Invention.

“It was well received,” Doemling said. “I felt good introducing the students to the classical form of commedia dell'arte, that can be considered the roots of most comic forms we see today, from The Marx Brothers, to “Abbott & Costello,” to “The Simpsons.””

The teacher is grateful that the ceremony gave him the opportunity to share and discuss his work with others in the industry, something that is rare for theatre teachers.

“There is rarely more than one teacher in each school and our craft is less understood by educational administrators because unlike sports, it is harder to quantify,” Doemling explained. “So when you get to share your production with a pool of theatre pros and college students, a positive response can be encouraging and validating.”

Since 2009, BHS theatre students have been nominated for 42 Theatre Night Awards and have been recognized for Outstanding Stage Crew, Outstanding Actress in a Classical Play and Outstanding Production of a Comedy.

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