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.”
Amidst its $20 million dollar expansion and improvement plan, the Count Basie Theatre has announced the merging of its Board of Trustees and Directors and the hiring of a new Vice President of Development to join the newly appointed executive leadership team.
As a recognized 501(c)(3) organization, the Count Basie Theatre once operated under the guidance of two governing boards — one overseeing theater operations, and the other the non-profit’s fundraising efforts. With a single Executive Committee under the leadership of Chairman Tom Widener and Count Basie Theatre president and CEO Adam Philipson, the work to merge the boards into one, diverse and powerful force behind the theatre’s ambitious plans for the future have come to fruition.
“This is an auspicious, exciting moment for us at the Count Basie Theatre, said Board Chairman Tom Widener. “Merging the boards creates cohesion, clarity and focus at an important time in our history.”
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.
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.
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.