Paper Mill Playhouse Announces 2010 Rising Star Award Winners

Since their inception in 1996 the Paper Mill Playhouse (Mark S. Hoebee-Artistic Director, Mark W. Jones-Executive Director) 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® nominee Anne Hathaway, and Tony® award winner Laura Benanti.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards - presented by the Investors Savings Bank Foundation - serves the entire state of New Jersey with 100 entered productions from public, private and parochial high schools. Paper Mill Playhouse 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. The 2010 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony took place on June 8th at the Millburn theater where the award recipients were presented with a crystal award from Rising Star Awards partner Tiffany & Co. "We are proud once again to be a part of the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards, which is in its 15th year of recognizing exceptional performances by high school students and educators," said Investors Savings Bank President and CEO Kevin Cummings, who also serves on the board of the Investors Savings Bank Foundation. "Thanks to the education and outreach efforts of the Paper Mill Playhouse, programs like this one are providing talented young people with outstanding opportunities."

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards are one of several such programs sponsored by regional theaters around the country and the winning performers in the Lead Actress and Actor categories will represent the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards at the National High School Musical Theatre Awards competition at New York University, which culminates in a Gala Ceremony at Broadway's Marquis Theatre on June 28th. The National High School Musical Theatre Awards are known as The Jimmy Awards and are named for legendary Broadway producer James Nederlander. The Jimmy Awards are presented by the Nederlander Organization and Pittsburgh CLO. The winning Actor and Actress of the 2010 Jimmy Award will each receive scholarship assistance to attend New York University's Tisch School of the Arts. In 2009 the Outstanding Arts Educator Award was given to Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nominated director, Paula Ohaus, from New Jersey's Hoboken High School.

Paper Mill Director of Education, Lisa Cooney adds, "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 theatre technicians to be recognized for their achievements, while giving them access to thousands of dollars in scholarship money. Many of Paper Mill Playhouse's Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and we consistently hear from top tier colleges and casting directors that the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award is a significant accolade for an aspiring theatre artist."

Among the top nominated high schools Union HS leads with 14 nominations followed by Pt. Pleasant Borough HS with 10, Fair Lawn HS - 9, Absegami HS - 8, Summit HS - 8, Gill St. Bernard HS - 7, Northern Valley Regional HS at Demarest - 6, Cranford HS - 4, Morristown-Beard HS - 4, Rahway HS - 4, Shore Regional HS - 4, Don Bosco Prep HS - 3, Eastern Regional HS - 3, and West Milford Township HS - 3.

Paper Mill Playhouse also awards over $60,000 in scholarships at their Rising Star Awards. Four $1,000 cash scholarships are given to outstanding individual students who plan to continue studying theatre in college, and a technical theatre scholarship of $1,000 is sponsored annually by Scaramouche Costumes, LLC. Paper Mill Playhouse is pleased to announce that a prize of $500 will be given to two schools receiving the 2010 Educational Impact Award which acknowledges a district that successfully connects the school musical to the district's curriculum, using the production as a teaching tool for the greater student body and local community. Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories automatically receive a full 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 the stage at Paper Mill Playhouse in its August season finale concert, "New Voices 2010: Pure Imagination".

In addition to lead funding by the Investors Savings Bank Foundation, the 2010 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards are also generously supported by The Ambrose & Ida Fredrickson Foundation, The Bloomingdale's Fund of the Macy's Foundation, John Burgio and Ruth Bedford in memory of Jane Burgio, Scaramouche Costumes LLC, and The Douglas Michael Krueger Arts Foundation. Additional major funding for Paper Mill Playhouse Education Outreach is provided by The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation and MetLife Foundation.

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, and by funds from 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 theatres. 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, and by funds from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additional major support is provided by generous contributions from numerous corporations, foundations, and individuals. Paper Mill Playhouse is a member of Theatre Communications Group, the National Alliance for Musical Theatre, the Council of Stock Theatres, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance.

2010 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Award Winners in our Coverage Area

Outstanding Supporting Actor: Michael Gorman as "Franz Liebkind", Summit High School, THE PRODUCERS

Outstanding Ensemble Member: Adrian Arrieta as "Lead Tenor / Scott", Summit High School, THE PRODUCERS

Student Achievement Award: The Costume Crew, Summit High School, THE PRODUCERS

Student Achievement Award: Ben Zukoff, Student Technical Director, Summit High School, THE PRODUCERS

Student Achievement Award: Cheryl Wu, Graphic Designer, Westfield High School, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD

Student Achievement Award: Tzvetelina Garneva, Stage Manager, Westfield High School, THE MYSTERY OF EDWIN DROOD

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