RFH, M’TOWN SOUTH WIN BIG AT BASIES

3muskThe Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School staging of THE THREE MUSKETEERS won Outstanding Drama honors at the ninth annual Basie Awards, Wednesday night.

Productions of Evita by Middletown High School South and The Three Musketeers by Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School took top honors at Wednesday evening’s Basie Awards, the ninth annual installment of the Count Basie Theatre’s celebration and recognition of excellence and achievement in high school theatre.

Both Evita and The Three Musketeers nabbed Outstanding Direction and Outstanding Production trophies for their respective categories – Evita for musicals and The Three Musketeers for drama. Combined, the productions took home an astounding ten Basies, including The Three Muskeeters’ Christopher Brodsky for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, Christopher Tuttle for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama and the trophy for Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama.

In addition to earning hardware for overall production and direction, Evita also earned awards for Outstanding Choreography (Jacqui Mazza) and Outstanding Chorus in a Musical.

The Basies also bestowed its Lifetime Achievement Award to Joan and Robert Rechnitz, who founded the renowned Two River Theater Company two decades ago.

“In our ninth year of evaluating talent for the Basie Awards, we were pleased to see so many vibrant, creative and compelling performances across Monmouth County,” said Count Basie Theatre Education director Yvonne Lamb Scudiery. “The participants realize the true value of mounting a production: the lasting memories, the personal growth, the camaraderie and fun! In our opinion, that far surpasses the momentary thrill of winning an award.”

“As a kid who did high school theatre myself, I know how important it is for someone to recognize that what you’re doing is worthwhile,” said Middletown High School South theatrical teacher Alexis Kozak, who won for Best Direction. “The Basies do that. It’s like the high school Tonys of Monmouth County. It makes kids feel great about themselves.”

“I can think of few people who have done more for the arts in Monmouth County other than Dr. and Mrs. Rechnitz,” said Count Basie Theatre CEO, Adam Philipson. “In creating the Two River Theater, we recognize that they share our vision of maintaining Red Bank’s status as New Jersey’s cultural and entertainment epicenter.”

Also recognized this evening was Bailey Warder, winner of the theatre’s first-ever Moser-Toboada Scholarship. Established by the Moser Toboada Law Firm of Shrewsbury, the $2500 scholarship will be awarded yearly to one high school senior whose life, academic, and career choice has been impacted by the arts. Warder, a student at Shore Regional High School, will attend Rutgers University next year to begin studies in biology with the goal of becoming a geneticist.

“Our law firm is an intellectual property law firm that uses copyrights, patents and trademarks to protect the intellectual property of authors, actors, musicians and inventors,” said Moser Taboada firm partner Ray Moser.  “We see creative and innovative ideas that arise from being engaged in creative and artistic activities. This scholarship is our way to give back to the community and encourage creativity and life-long learning.”

A full list of winners in both Musical and Drama categories follows.

Outstanding Set Design in a Drama

Howell High School ~ Tartuffe ~ Tim Carpenter

 

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School ~ The Three Musketeers ~ Matthew Leddin

 

Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Drama

Howell High School ~ Tartuffe ~ Jacquie Revier & Mariah Hale

Middletown High School South ` Brighton Beach Memoirs ~ Jacqui Mazza & Laura Mazza

 

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Caroline Palsi ~ Communications High School ~ Almost, Maine

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama 

Christopher Tuttle ~ Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School ~ The Three Musketeers

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Nicolette Fino ~ Howell High School ~ Tartuffe

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama 

Christopher Brodsky ~ Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School ~ The Three Musketeers

Elias Kotsis ~ Middletown High School South ~ Brighton Beach Memoirs

 

Outstanding Direction in a Drama

Suzanne Sweeney ~ Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School ~ The Three Musketeers

 

Outstanding Production – Drama

Suzanne Sweeney ~ Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School ~ The Three Musketeers

 

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical

Mater Dei Prep ~ The Addams Family ~ Jean Vail & Jim Vail

 

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical

Shore Regional High School ~ Sweet Charity ~ Anthony Calicchio

 

Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical

Middletown High School South ~ Evita ~ Jacqui Mazza & Laura Mazza

 

Outstanding Choreography

Middletown High School South ~ Evita ~ Jacqui Mazza

 

Outstanding Musical Direction

Howell High School ~ The Producers ~ Regina McAllen

 

Outstanding All Student Orchestra

Manalapan High School ~ Leader Of The Pack ~ Jose Maunez

 

Outstanding Student/Adult Orchestra

Red Bank Regional High School ~ 42nd Street ~ Camille Thompson

 

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Performer in a Musical

Sean Pielli ~ Red Bank Catholic High School ~ Grease

 

Outstanding Ensemble Group in a Musical

Susan’s Friends ~ Matawan Regional High School ~ Big, The Musical

 

Outstanding Chorus in a Musical

Middletown High School South ~ Evita

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

Emily Hauge ~ Monmouth Regional High School ~ Pippin

 

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

Sean Molicki ~ Mater Dei Prep ~ 13 

 

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical

Rebecca Sosa ~ Mater Dei Prep ~ The Addams Family 

Whitney Kelly ~ Ranney School ~ The Threepenny Opera  

 

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical

Vincent DeSeno ~ Howell High School ~ The Producers

 

Outstanding Direction in a Musical

Middletown High School South ~ Evita ~ Alexis Kozak

 

Outstanding Production ~ Musical

Middletown High School South ~ Evita ~ Alexis Kozak