WESTFIELD, NJ — Two Westfield High School students are finalists for student achievement awards for their work on “Anyone Can Whistle,” the school’s 2014 spring musical: Alexa Derman for Hair and Make-up Design and Samantha Gruskin for Stage Management. Also for that show, John Brzozowski earned an honorable mention for outstanding achievement in musical direction.

Since their inception in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse 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® winner Anne Hathaway (“Les Miserables”), Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (“Gypsy”) and Nikki M. James (“The Book of Mormon”), Tony nominee, Rob McClure (“Chaplin”) and UK Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (“The Book of Mormon” - West End).

“There is great energy and level of excitement in high school musical theater right now,” said Mark S. Hoebee, Paper Mill Playhouse’s Producing Artistic Director. “For many New Jersey high schools, the prestigious honor of a Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star nomination is the culmination of their hard work in a high school musical. Many of Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star nominees and winners are now working professionally and have won prestigious industry awards while working in theater and film.” 

The 2014 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards ceremony will take place at Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn on Tuesday, June 3, at 7:30 p.m. For more information, click here.