UNION, NJ – At Tuesday nights Paper Mill Playhouse’s 21st Annual Rising Star Awards, Union High School Choreographer Jennifer Williams took home the award for ‘Outstanding Achievement in Choreography’ for the school’s Spring production of “Mary Poppins”.

“I want to dedicate this to my students,” said Williams during her acceptance speech.  “To my dancers and to those who come to me with no dance experience.  You all inspire me every single day.”

The evening showcased ten ensemble performances, including performances by each of the seven nominees for Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical, for which UHSPAC performed “The Sweeps”.   Jonathan Duvelson, as Bert, and Ashley Figueiredo, as Mary Poppins, lead the ensemble in a rousing performance.  Duvelson also performed during a showcase medley with all of the nominees for Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Lead Role.

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During the awards show, Duvelson, who will be attending Montclair State University in the fall, was awarded a $1,000 Douglas Michael Krueger Scholarship Rising Star Award.

Union High School Performing Arts Company was nominated for 12 Rising Star Awards:

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Ensemble Group – “The Sweeps”

Outstanding Costuming Achievement – James Mosser, Jennifer Williams, Leslie Laurino

Outstanding Scenic Achievement – Diane Esquivel, James Mosser

Outstanding Lighting Achievement – Cosby Chasman-Beck

Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction – James Mosser, Laura Muller

Outstanding Performance by a Chorus – Mary Poppins

Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role – Two nominees:  Lisette Serrano as “Miss Andrew” and Crystal Wright as “Mrs. Corry”

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography – Jennifer Williams

Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director – James Mosser

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Jonathan Duvelson

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical – UHSPAC for Mary Poppins