SPRINGFIELD, NJ — After winning the first Foxy Award in program history at last year's ceremony, the members of the Jonathan Dayton High School drama program were back again, taking home one award out of six nominations at this year's virtual showcase of New Jersey High School theater.

This year's entry for Jonathan Dayton was "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime," an adaptation of a novel by Mark Haddon. The show premiered in London before coming over to Broadway and then setting out on international tours and beng adapted for the high school stage.

The cast and crew at Dayton were nominated in the following six categories:

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  • Outstanding Achievement in Student Stage Management (Lauren Schultz)
  • Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in Dramatic Stage Adaptation of a Literary Work or Film (Jonah Glass)
  • Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Dramatic Stage Adaptation of a Literary Work or Film (Lillian Friedman)
  • Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Dramatic Stage Adaptation of a Literary Work or Film (Sarah Zarember)
  • Outstanding Achievement by an Acting Ensemble of a Dramatic Stage Adaptation of Literature Work or Film 
  • Outstanding Production of a Dramatic Stage Adaptation of Literary Work or Film

To watch the winning category and hear Lauren's speech, click here.

In her acceptance speech for the award, Schultz thanked her fellow cast members, her family, and director Anthony DeNicolo for putting her in a position to win the award.

"I'd like to thank my family, for always being so supportive," Schultz said. "And for Mr. DeNicolo, for being the most amazing, dedicated, hardworking director that I have ever gotten the pleasure to work with. I'd like to thank the cast for being such an amazing group of people. They're so fun, and they're part of why this show was one of the most amazing, wonderful experiences I've ever had. Thank you so much for this award."

For DeNicolo, the director of the Fall drama and a teacher at Jonathan Dayton, Schultz's work was top-notch, and as he noted, she handled her responsibilities flawlessly.

"Lauren approached this production with so much enthusiasm from the moment I announced the play at last year's Foxy Awards," DeNicolo said. "She spent her summer building one of the more significant, complex props in the play, which was Wellington, the dead dog.

"Additionally, she balanced so many other tasks including keeping blocking notes, working with our costume director. She rigged the blue LED lights that ran up the walls. She created and controlled all the TV display images, and backstage, she managed a group of about 10 students."

As she graduates this year, DeNicolo said that Schultz was awarded a technical theater scholarship to Lehigh University, where she will be attending classes in the Fall.

"Although she'll be missed in Halsey Hall Auditorium, [I'm] certainly proud of her achievement and I know she will contribute greatly to her collegiate community," he added.

DeNicolo also said this year's Foxy win, which built off of last year's selection shows how far the drama program has come, and how much of that works can be credited to the very students starring in it.

"It's very rewarding to see how much this program has grown," DeNicolo said. "And that's a testament to the hard work of all the students at the high school. Cast, crew, set builders. Everything we do, other than Mr. DiGangi overseeing the set building and our hiring of a costume designer is done solely by the students."

Furthermore, he noted that it is the professional attitude of the cast and crew each year that allows him to push the envelope with plays the school had not seen before.

"The students are just proving to me year after year now that I can continue to push that envelope and challenge them in new ways, which is again, is really exciting as a director. And the students look forward to this process every year. They come in, they're prepared, they're professional, they treat each other with kindness [...] that's really what's contributed to this program continuing to grow."