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RED BANK: BASIES GO TO RFH, RBC, RBR

phoenix-4670730Phoenix Productions exec director Tom Martini — pictured fifth from left, during the 2015 ribbon-cutting of the troupe’s new Chestnut Street headquarters — was honored with the 2017 Lifetime Achievement Award during the 12th annual Basie Awards on Wednesday night. (photo by Rich Kowalski) 

Students and faculty from five high schools in the greater Red Bank area were honored for excellence in high school theater productions — and the co-founder of a favorite borough-based performing arts company received a Lifetime Achievement recognition — when the 12th annual Basie Awards ceremony took place at the Count Basie Theatre on the evening of May 24.

The big winner among local schools was Red Bank Catholic High School, whose nine nominations for the spring production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical Cinderella resulted in three Basie wins: for Shawn Mack (Outstanding Musical Direction), Samantha Siriani (Outstanding Supporting Actress), and Kelly Gemellaro (Outstanding Choreography, shared with Jacqui Fisher for the Middletown High School South staging of The Producers).

The High School South production of that “Springtime for Hitler” laugh-fest also brought home a Basie for Outstanding Chorus ensemble. The Tower Players of Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School picked up a pair of Basie Awards for their spring musical production of Disney’s Tarzan, with Jake Rallo cited as Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical, and Joe Esposito recognized for Outstanding Lighting Design (an award shared with the Long Branch High School production of In the Heights).

In the musical category, Peggy Baumgartner and Cindy Dwyer of Middletown’s Mater Dei Prep shared a Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in the John Waters adaptation Cry-Baby (tied with a team from Matawan Regional for that school’s staging of another screen-to-stage property, Honeymoon in Vegas). And, in the dramatic category, the Costume Design award went to Jacquie Revier of Red Bank Regional High School for her work on the Arthur Miller classic The Crucible.

Tom Martini, the co-founder/ executive director (and frequent conductor of onstage 50/50 raffles) of Phoenix Productions was honored as this year’s recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award given to “individuals who have dedicated their lives to making art happen and art that matters in our community.” Relocated a couple of seasons back to an expansive new home facility on Chestnut Street, the Basie’s resident hometown theatrical troupe returns to the famous stage in July with a new revival of an old favorite, West Side Story.

The Basie Awards committee and event sponsors also issue several scholarships each year, with 2017 recipients including Sean Molicki of Mater Dei Prep (Moser Taboada Scholarship), and Kiera Kulaga of Middletown High School South (Monmouth County Freeholders Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education).

A complete list of category winners follows.

Musical Productions:

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical

Long Branch High School – In the Heights – Andrew D’Agostino

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical

Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School – Tarzan – Joe Esposito

Long Branch High School – In the Heights – Damian Gigantiello & Robert Rutt

Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical

Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas – Linda Walling & Julie McKurth

Mater Dei Prep – Cry-Baby –Peggy Baumgartner & Cindy Dwyer

Outstanding Musical Direction

Red Bank Catholic High School – Cinderella – Shawn Mack

Outstanding Choreography

Red Bank Catholic High School – Cinderella – Kelly Gemellaro

Middletown High School South – The Producers – Jacqui Fischer

Outstanding All Student Orchestra

Marlboro High School – Crazy For You – Patrick M. Dalton

Outstanding Student/Adult Orchestra

Ocean Township High School – Anything Goes – Kyle Titmas

Outstanding Chorus

Middletown High School South – The Producers

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group

Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas – Show Girls

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Performer

Jon Araujo – Long Branch High School – In the Heights

Eddie Hernandez – Long Branch High School – In the Heights

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical

Samantha Siriani – Red Bank Catholic High School – Cinderella

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical

Jake Rallo – Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School – Tarzan

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical

Melissa Calicchio – Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas

Alexandra Cusumano – Howell High School – Legally Blonde

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical

Quinn Surdez – Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas

Outstanding Direction in a Musical

Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas – Linda Walling

Outstanding Production – Musical

Matawan Regional High School – Honeymoon in Vegas – Linda Walling

 

 

Dramatic Productions:

Outstanding Set Design in a Drama

Howell High School – The Diviners – Stephen Kazakoff & Colleen Greberis

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama

Marlboro High School – Our Town – Jim Lyle & Anthony Greco

Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Drama

Red Bank Regional High School – The Crucible – Jacquie Revier

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama

Brooke Schindelheim – Marlboro High School – Our Town

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama

Robert Landi – Marlboro High School – Our Town

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama

Corinne Lynch – Marlboro High School – Our Town

Emma Lewis – Marlboro High School – Our Town

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama

Bradley Patchett – Howell High School – The Diviners

Outstanding Direction in a Drama

Marlboro High School – Our Town – Anthony Greco

Outstanding Production – Drama

Marlboro High School – Our Town– Anthony Greco

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