Winners were announced [Wednesday] evening at the 13th annual BASIE AWARDS, honoring excellence in high school theater in Monmouth County.
Phoenix 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 Red Bank Regional production of Arthur Miller’s ‘The Crucible’ has garnered seven nominations in the Basie Awards for excellence in local high school theater, as the 12th annual ceremony rolls out the red carpet tonight.
In a pop-culture landscape that’s littered with the sharp metal edges of way too many awards and honors, you could make the case that this is the only trophyfest that matters — the kind that recognizes, nurtures and inspires the next generation of acting, singing, dancing and technical talent.
When the 12th annual Basie Awards ceremony takes the famous stage of the Count Basie Theatre tonight, May 24, students and faculty from nearly 20 public, private and parochial high schools in Monmouth County — seven of them located here within the Greater Red Bank Green — will be vying for a chance to deliver their acceptance speech, in a field that, in the words of Basie education director Yvonne Lamb Scudiery, continues “to set the bar higher and higher, resulting in outstanding professional quality work…and certainly making the job or our evaluation team a very difficult yet gratifying one.”
Students and faculty from five Red Bank area schools dominated the balloting in the 11th annual Basie Awards, presented Wednesday night to honor excellence in Monmouth County high school theatrical productions.
Musicals and dramatic presentations from Red Bank Catholic, Red Bank Regional, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional, Mater Dei Prep and Middletown High School South combined to take or tie for top honors in 17 of 27 categories.
The Middletown South production of Green Day’s “American Idiot” (above) score big in musical nominations — while RBR’s Patrick Monaghan (at right below, with Davis Bush) earned a dramatic acting nomination for “Amadeus.” (Photo above by Ayo Oladeji)
It’s Red Bank’s own homegrown answer to the Tonys, the Obies, and any other major accolade for live stage performance. What else but the BASIES, the awards that honor tomorrow’s talents today — or rather this Wednesday, May 18, when the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank once again celebrates excellence in dramatic and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools, with the presentation of the 11th annual Basie Awards.
On March 17, Red Bank Regional High School senior Patrick Monaghan of Little Silver came in second in the very competitive New Jersey Regional Poetry Out Loud State Championship. This was the second visit to the competition’s stage for the celebrated RBR thespian, who has won the Regional competition for the past two years.
For his performance at the College of New Jersey, Patrick performed William Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29: When, in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes as well as two other selections: Or by Thomas Sayers Ellis and Ode to the Midwest by Kevin Young.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
When the red carpet is rolled out for the 11th annual Basie Awards on May 18, the Count Basie Theatre will do more than issue its customary honors for excellence in area high school theater and performing arts. The ceremony will also be the setting for the awarding of four arts impact scholarships — the Moser-Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth Medical Center – Barnabas Health Arts Impact Scholarship, the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education and the new Siciliano Landscape Company Arts Impact Scholarship.
The Monmouth County Freeholders’ scholarship will be awarded to a student attending a New Jersey-based college in the fall — and Basie board members are urging all interested students to prepare their applications now.
Long-time Red Bank Regional High School faculty member Joe Russo was honored at the 2015 Basie Awards with the Basie Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts Education. The school’s first and only drama teacher and theater director retires this year, following a distinguished 32-year career with RBR’s Visual and Performing Arts Academy. Pictured are: RBR art teacher Claudia O’Connor, senior Justin Giegerich, senior Noah Beller, Joe Russo, junior Patrick Monaghan, senior Eliana Swartz, Katherine Kennedy, and RBR tech teacher Carl Grillo. Monaghan and Kennedy also won Basie Awards for Best Actor and Actress in a drama, during the May 20 ceremony in Red Bank.
On Thursday, May 28, at 7 pm, and Saturday, May 30, at 2 pm, the dance majors from the Visual and Performing Arts Academy (VPA) at Red Bank Regional High School will present their “Spring Dance Extravaganza” inside the RBR theatre.
In the words of RBR teacher Cara Scacco explains, the show will highlight “a variety of dancing genres, including jazz, contemporary, hip hop, modern and lyrical — an expressive form of ballet.”
In all, forty RBR dance majors will perform 26 numbers; all of them choreographed by the students, with the exception of five pieces which were created by guest choreographers and performing artists that include Barbara Vari, Gabrielle Barnett and Dylan Smith, as well as RBR dance major alumni Elycia Richmond and Sarah Goodhue.
Broadway has its well-established Tonys; Off Broadway its Obies — and every other branch of show business its various Grammys, Emmys, and Academys. And when the 10th annual Basie Awards roll out the red carpet in front of the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank Wednesday night they’ll be doing what they’ve done so well: honoring tomorrow’s talents in the performing arts, both on stage and behind the scenes.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
The Count Basie Theatre has announced the awarding of three arts impact scholarships, to be presented during the 10th annual Basie Awards ceremony. The theatre’s yearly celebration and recognition of excellence and achievement in high school theatre will take the famous stage on the evening of Wednesday, May 20.
Last year’s Basies marked the debut of the Moser Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, made possible by the Moser Taboada law firm in Shrewsbury. This year, two additional scholarships will be awarded: the Monmouth Medical Center/ Barnabas Health Arts Impact Scholarship, and the Monmouth County Freeholders’ Basie Scholarship for Continuing Education.
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.
Broadway has its Tonys; Off Broadway its Obies — and every other branch of show business its various Grammys, Emmys, Academys and more. But when the red carpet rolls out and the figurative flashbulbs pop outside the Count Basie Theatre on May 21, the only awards that matter will be The Basies, the ninth annual edition of which commandeers the Count’s stage for a public-welcome program that begins at 7 pm.
Established by the education arm of the Count Basie Theatre Foundation, the awards honor and recognize excellence in drama and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools. The producers of Wednesday night’s event promise “the biggest Basies ever” — one that will shine a spotlight on the next generation of stage talents, even as it presents a lifetime achievement award to a couple of major figures on the region’s theater scene.
Press release from Count Basie Theatre
The Count Basie Theatre has announced the establishment of the Moser Taboada Arts Impact Scholarship, generously established and funded by the Moser Taboada Law Firm of Shrewsbury.
The $2500 scholarship is open to all Monmouth County high school seniors whose lives, academic and career choices have been impacted by the arts. The nomination deadline is March 1, and scholarships will be announced and awarded on May 21 at the theatre’s annual Basie Awards ceremony. The Basie Awards honor excellence in Monmouth County high school dramatic and musical theatre.
To all those who believe that there are simply Too Many Award Shows well, we certainly won’t argue the point.
That said, when the red carpet rolls and the paparazzi bulbs pop this Wednesday evening on Monmouth Street in Red Bank, it may just herald the only trophyfest that matters possibly even a ground-floor investment in the next generation of acting, singing, dancing talent on the greater Green.
The Basie Awards extravaganza that goes up Wednesday night at the Count Basie Theatre will mark the seventh annual edition of the program that recognizes excellence in drama and musical productions among Monmouth County high schools. It’s an event that’s boasted such guest hosts and presenters as E Street busker Max Weinberg and Tony nominee Lou Liberatore, as well as SNL veterans Joe Piscopo and Siobhan Fallon Hogan. But it’s really all about the kids, of course and when the Basie envelopes are fumbled open on the landmark stage, a collection of young performers from 19 local high schools (including five in the Red Bank area) will be among those hoping that this can be the first milestone item in a glittering trophy case.