The Tony Awards played second fiddle to the second Theatre Night Awards held on Friday, May 21st at Montclair State University. More than 500 students, teachers, and family members were in attendance to see 25 awards presented to high school non-musical plays for outstanding achievement in all areas of theatre production. The atmosphere in Memorial Auditorium was charged with excitement as students and teachers received recognition for their dedication and commitment to producing comedies and dramas from Shakespeare to Simon, even including a few original works.
The event was emceed by stage and screen star Frankie Faison, known most recently for his work on HBO’s popular series The Wire. Thirty-four schools from all over New Jersey participated in the event by submitting DVDs of 2009-10 productions that were evaluated by committees of Montclair State theatre majors, alumni and faculty.
The program opened with a video montage featuring highlights of stage productions from all 34 participating schools. Nominated high school students performed live "memorable moments" from 12 modern and classical works throughout the evening. >
The audience also enjoyed musical entertainment by Montclair State students and dance performances choreographed by Montclair State University Theatre and Dance Department alumna Tiffany Wilson and her dance company. High school students interested in stage management and technical theatre served as backstage assistants to Theatre Night Awards producer alumna Colleen Finnegan, production manager alumnus Michael Aquino, and lighting designer alumna Jill Witte.
Award presenters, including award-winning actors Elaine Bromka, Nikkole Salter, and Robin Lee Gallo, shared their perspectives on working in the theatre with the high school nominees, their families, and teachers.
Winners included productions, actors, designers, and directors from all over the state including area high schools Montclair High School, Clifton High School, and Passaic Valley High School. Among the Winners:
Outstanding Production of a Classic: Glen Rock High School, Macbeth
Outstanding Production of a Comedy: St. Joseph's Regional High School, Lend Me a Tenor
Outstanding Production of a Drama: Passaic Valley High School, Death of a Salesman
Outstanding Production of a Middle School Play: Lawton C. Johnson Summit Middle School, The Yellow Boat
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