WEST ORANGE, NJ - West Orange High School Thespian Troupe 1530 continued their winning ways at the New Jersey Thespian Festival at Kean University, taking home eleven awards.

The Festival, held March 15-16, hosted 640 students from schools across New Jersey competing for state prizes and scholarships. Several theatre workshops were held as well. Former West Orange High School troupe members and state thespians Jesse Lab and Miquel Urbino, emceed much of the two-day event,.

Troupe 1530 earned a perfect double score for their performance of "What's Up Duloc" in the musical theater category as well as one of six short film entries in the Short Film Category. 

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Junior Michael Leonardis earned the Accomplished Medal for his short film Just Friends, featuring performances by Michael Leonardis, Victoria Estoque, Henry Gardner and Liann McCauley. Senior Chris Wold composed and recorded the original soundtrack, which was performed by Estoque and Gardner. The film will soon be broadcast on local channels Comcast 36 and Verizon 45.

Senior Chris Wold won the coveted Judges Select award for Dramatic Monologue in addition to medals in Comedy Monologue, Contrasting Monologue, and Improv Pairs with Henry Gardner.

Along with his medal for Improv Pairs, Gardner medaled for Musical Duo with Victoria Estoque, Group Musical Theater with cast members Chante Seide, Kennedy Fort Foskey, Michajoy Edgehill and David Beckford, for a performance of the song ‘What’s Up Duloc” from the spring musical Shrek, and the Judges Select award for his performance in Group Musical Theater as Farquaad.

Kate Berwind and Michael Leonardis earned Honorable Mention in the Trashy Costume competition for creating a Pinocchio costume from trash bags and an unique assortment of materials. Leonardis also won the Selfie Scavenger hunt, a Facebook social media contest promoting the weekend of events.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our high school Thespians for their accomplishments at this year’s NJ Thespian Festival,” said West Orange High School drama teacher Bruce Clough. “Everyone in town should come to see these performers in Shrek in April. It brought the house down at the festival and the full production will be spectacular.”