Theatre Night Awards

Theatre Night Awards recognizes excellence in the production of high school and middle school straight plays throughout New Jersey.

Our Mission

Our goal is to promote and advance the commitment to high-quality straight play production in New Jersey’s secondary schools. The awards honor the accomplishments of individual achievement of both students and educators in the areas of performance, direction, design and technical theatre, as well as outstanding productions in the following genres: Drama, Comedy, Classical and New Work.

We endeavor to raise the bar in the area of straight play production in New Jersey schools. Theatre Night Awards has positively affected the level of directing, acting, design and production work in straight plays. Educators are choosing from a wider and more sophisticated range of plays for production and are experimenting with updated methods and styles of staging plays.

By rewarding challenging choices in the production of new plays and classics, we have observed that more school theatre programs are producing Greek and Shakespeare plays, challenging works by such modern writers as Bertolt Brecht, Brian Friel, Arthur Miller, George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart, as well as new plays and original works.

Our History

Theatre Night Awards has been an increasingly significant and well-attended event each year since its inception in 2009. Theatre and Dance Department professor Susan Kerner and Mahwah High School teacher JoAnne Fox conceived the event to provide a balance for the popularity of the high school musical and its celebration at well-established awards ceremonies in New Jersey and the region.

The event is a positive educationally based community building experience.  Students are able to share their work with other students and to be recognized outside their own high schools.  This outside recognition has direct benefits for students and teachers in districts throughout the state.  In a time when theatre arts programs are in peril this outside recognition helps maintain and even build quality high school theatre programs.

Outcomes

There is a significant ripple effect that results from Theatre Night Awards. In addition to many individuals receiving well-deserved recognition for their commitment to excellence in play production, state legislators and district administrators take notice of the achievements of the talented students and educators in their communities and further appreciate the importance of supporting arts programming.

By sharing their work with peers throughout the state, students and teachers have the opportunity to observe and learn from the high standards, extraordinary creativity and risk-taking artistic choices made by outstanding theatre educators and their students.

Teachers participate in a valuable educational network that has developed as a result of MSU’s professional development programs. Teachers and students are introduced to the excellent opportunities in the BA, BFA, and MA programs in the Theatre and Dance Department at Montclair State University. When theatre students arrive as freshmen or as graduate students at MSU, they encounter professors who are already familiar with their considerable achievements as theatre artists in their secondary school communities.

Theatre Night Awards Submission Guidelines
  • Straight plays only—no musicals.
  • Only the first 75 high schools registered will be accepted.
  • Judging will be based on the submitted videotaped performance of your Spring or Fall production submitted to MSU via YouTube or DVD submission. Please see details below.
  • Nominations will be announced on our website April 15.
  • Schools nominated for an award will be able to purchase tickets on a “first come, first served” basis for Theatre Night Awards.

Registration

The registration fee is $75. This includes ONE complimentary ticket to Theatre Night Awards for the director/teacher who submitted their production.

Though submitting multiple productions is allowed, each production must have a separate application and registration fee in order to be judged.

Please fill out ALL forms listed below in their entirety to the best of your abilities. Please submit the online registration form and fee by January 15 to avoid a $15 late fee.  Registration forms submitted after January 15 will be charged a $15 late fee and will only be accepted if the 75 production maximum has not been reached.

All forms do NOT have to be sent to us at the same time on the same day. Failure to submit forms could result in your production not being judged in certain categories and/or will result in a late fee charge unless prior arrangements are made with Robin Irwin or Christina Cruz.

  • Please note that we do understand that many things can happen during the registration process, whether it be issues with your video, videographer, administration, payment, etc. In order for our reviewing process to go as smoothly as possible, please make sure to be in communication with us. That’s what we’re here for!

Personal checks, purchase orders/school checks, and credit cards are accepted. Please make all checks payable to Montclair State University. If using a credit card, please submit your credit card information along with the application using the form below.

Please send credit card forms to:

Theatre Night Awards
Attn: Christina Cruz
Montclair State University
Theatre and Dance Department – Life Hall 050
Montclair, NJ 07043

YouTube Link Submission

In order to make the submission process even easier, YouTube submissions and Google Drive submissions will be accepted in addition to DVD submissions.

  • Please upload your performance to YouTube as an UNLISTED video to ensure the privacy of your performance. This can be done as your video is uploading or after it has uploaded. When made unlisted, only those who have the specific URL can access the video. The YouTube URLs will only be shared with the judging panel. Please do not make the videos public for copyright purposes. Please do not make the videos private because only the YouTube account holder responsible for the upload is able to see private videos.
  • We highly suggest uploading your performance to YouTube from the original video file on your computer.
  • If you have selected to submit your production via DVD, please send to the address above no later than January 15 to avoid the late fee of $15.

The Evaluation Process

Over 70 middle schools and high schools participated in the Theatre Night Awards. They submitted YouTube or Google Drive links of their plays for evaluation by panels of Montclair State University graduate students, undergraduate theatre majors and professors as well as industry professionals. The nominees and recipients of the Theatre Night Awards are selected through a rigorous, multi-stage adjudication process.

UNDERSTANDING OUR RUBRIC

Each award category is rated individually on a point system. Those points are then added together to make the final score. Here’s breakdown of the categories:

DESIGN CATEGORIES: 20 points

Costume Design

Properties Design

Lighting Design

Set Design

Sound design

ACTING CATEGORY: 40 points

Best Leading/Supporting Actor/Actress in Comedy/Drama/Classical

Best Ensemble of a Comedy/Drama/Classical

DIRECTING CATEGORY: 40 points

Stage Direction

TOTAL: 100 points

Scoring Rubric:

Superior: 90-100 Excellent: 80-89  Good: 70-79 Satisfactory: 60-69  

Needs Improvement: 59 or less

The final score will determine the Overall Awards in your production’s division (Comedy, Drama, Classical) and will ultimately decide the Outstanding Overall Production Award

The following several categories are not relevant to every production and will be nominated independently. The judges will take them into consideration when formulating the final Directing score.

New Media/Special Effects

Choreography/Movement

Stage Combat

Live/Original Music

Educational Impact and Community Outreach

The Peter Filichia Award for Pushing the Envelope in Academic Theatre

Outstanding Work of Innovation and Invention

Outstanding Middle School Production

Excellence in Dramaturgy

The Jo Anne Fox Award

Download the 2019 Theatre Night Awards Rating Sheet

All nominations will be posted by April 15, 2019. All rating sheets will be emailed to participants after the ceremony on Monday, May 20, 2019.

The Event

Award nominations are posted in April, and teachers and students participate in preparing for the event by creating short videos, rehearsing selected moments for live presentation and purchasing tickets. Over six hundred students, teachers and family members attended the 9th annual Theatre Night Awards in Memorial Auditorium on the Montclair State University campus.

Over the years the event has become increasingly student-driven as well as influenced by the opportunities afforded by video technology. The event begins with a professionally produced video montage of exciting moments from all participating productions. Scattered throughout the evening short videos submitted by the teachers express the students’ meaningful personal and artistic growth through participation in their school productions. A highlight of the evening are collages of 90-second scenes chosen from productions identified as outstanding in several categories and rehearsed with Professor Susan Kerner on the day of the event.

Past presenters of the Theatre Night Awards have included stars of stage, screen and television. Award-winning author and theatre critic Peter Filichia served as the emcee of the 2014 Theatre Night Awards.  Montclair State alums and working actors presented awards to students and educators along with Broadway stars who presented awards to outstanding actors on video.

The Jo Anne Fox Award

Mahwah High School theatre teacher JoAnne Fox, co-founder of Theatre Night Awards, passed away suddenly shortly after the 1st Theatre Night Awards in 2009 following a rehearsal at her school. The Jo Anne Fox Award has been given in her memory for the past four years to a theatre teacher who is an inspiration to his/her students, whose passion for theatre is infectious, and who creates a community, a loving extended family in his/her school in the process of producing high quality productions. The trophy received by all award winners was dubbed the Foxy in 2014 in honor of the late Jo Anne Fox.

If you are a principal and would like to nominate your teacher for this prestigious award, please submit the form below by May 1, 2019. Jo Anne Fox Nomination Form

Have you been nominated for an Award?

If so, you are invited to:

MSU’s Department of Theatre and Dance Presents:

The 11th Annual Theatre Night Awards

Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

Memorial Auditorium

Please use the link below to purchase your tickets for the 11th Annual Theatre Night Awards. All tickets are general admission. Seating is reserved on a first come, first serve basis the night of the event. www.brownpapertickets.com

Keyword TNA2019

2019 Nominees

We’d like to personally thank you for the time, talent, and patience that have clearly gone into making theatre come alive and inspiring your communities.

2019 Nominees will be posted April 15

Director's Complimentary Ticket

Each director receives one complimentary ticket per submission to Theatre Night Awards.

RSVP Now
Student Helpers

All high school students wishing to help during Theatre Night Awards are encouraged to do so! We need around 20 students or so to help us make this night a success. We will need assistance in the following areas:

  • Backstage
  • Concessions
  • Box Office
  • Ticket takers
  • Ushers
  • Set up/break down
  • Assisting winners to the stage

Students who wish to help will not need a ticket to the show but will not be able to watch the whole show for obvious reasons. Student assistants will need to be in the lobby of Memorial Auditorium by 5:30pm on May 14th and will need to report to Christina Cruz for assignments.

Please use the link below to submit the names of your students interested in assisting during Theatre Night Awards.

Student Volunteers

90 Second Scene

If your play is nominated in the following categories: Outstanding Achievement for a Comedy; Drama; Innovative/Inventive; or Classical Play we would be delighted if you would consider submitting a clean 90 second cut from that production.

Please email the name of the play and name of all students in the scene to Robin Irwin (email listed below).

All scenes will be timed at dress rehearsal the day of Theatre Night Awards and will be edited accordingly. Please time your scene prior to dress rehearsal to ensure that no cuts will need to be made the day of.

No more than THREE kids in the scene. A monologue is fine. Light costuming is welcome but know that your students are entirely responsible for their care and maintenance of said costume.

Rehearsal for the scenes is at 3 p.m, May 20. This rehearsal the day of Theatre Night Awards is MANDATORY. Your students WILL NOT perform if they do not attend this rehearsal. If you will be late to rehearsal because of distance or school obligations, you MUST let us know beforehand. Please email Robin Irwin at robinmarissairwin155@gmail.com if you have any concerns.

We must receive the cut scene by May 1. We will likely cut off the number of scenes at 12 this year.

90 Scene Online Registration Form

Video Testimonials

You can also opt for your kids to do a student testimonial video.

If you submit both a 90 Second Scene AND a Student Video, only one of them will be chosen.

Student Testimonial Videos can be pretty much anything you want them to be, but also no more than two minutes. If you leave this to the kids to produce, that’s fine, please just take a look at it before you send it to me so you know it is coherent, appropriate and represents your kids and program in a positive light.  It’s not clips of your show!  It should be about how this play and doing theatre impacts their lives.

To submit your video testimonial, please visit: Video Testimonial Submissions

2017-2018 Winners

FOXY WINNERS – Design and Technical Categories


Outstanding Achievement in Costume Design

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Summit High School

Outstanding Achievement in Properties

You Can’t Take It With You

Pearl River High School

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Design

Who Will Carry the Word?

BCIT Medford

Pride & Prejudice

JP Stevens High School

Outstanding Achievement in Scenic Design

Ghosts

Monmouth Regional High School

Outstanding Achievement in New Media/Special Effects

Girls Like That

Princeton Day School

Outstanding Achievement in Sound Design

Antigone

Rahway High School

Outstanding Achievement in Choreography or Movement

The Curious Incident of The Dog at Night

West Morris High School

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Combat

Peter and The Starcatcher

Mountain Lakes High School

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Crew

Suite Surrender

Governor Livingston High School

Outstanding Achievement in Live or Original Music

Mother Courage

Thomas Jefferson Arts Academy

Peter and the Starcatcher

Union Catholic High

Excellence in Educational Impact and Community Outreach

Stan Cahill

Princeton Day School

Girls Like That

Outstanding Achievement in Stage Direction

Stephen Kaplan

Bergen County Academies

Elektra

The Peter Filichia Award for Pushing the Envelope in Academic Theatre

Beth Bauer

Memorial High School

Who We Are

Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Comedy

James Zitelli

St. Joseph Regional High School

Rumors

Julian Mazzola

Westfield High School

The Man Who Came to Dinner

Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress in a Comedy

Annika Helgeson

Ridge High School

Peter and the Starcatcher

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Comedy
Liam Gerard

Montclair Kimberley Academy

Lost in Yonkers

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Comedy

Emma Marsters

Peter and the Starcatcher

Ridge High School

Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Drama

Lars Olsen

West Morris HS

The Curious Incident of The Dog at Night

Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress in a Drama

Juliet Van Dusen-Gross

Columbia High School

Alabama Story

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Drama

Connor Conlin

Bloomfield High School

The Laramie Project: 10 Years Later

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama

Madeline Carlton

Picnic

Hopewell Valley Regional High School

Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor in a Classical Play

Mitchell Sink

Summit High School

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Outstanding Performance by a Leading Actress in a Classical Play

Erin Manion

Summit High School

Love’s Labour’s Lost

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Classical Play

Iain Jaeger

Morristown Beard

Sense and Sensibility

Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Classical Play

Isabella Porraro

Morristown Beard High School

Sense and Sensibility

Outstanding Achievement by an Acting Ensemble of a Comedy

Peter and the Starcatcher

Ridge High School

Outstanding Achievement by an Acting Ensemble of a Drama

Picnic

Hopewell Valley Regional High School

Outstanding Achievement by an Acting Ensemble of a Classical Play

Elektra

Bergen County Academies

The New Heights

The Madwoman of Chaillot

Morris County VoTech

Outstanding Production of Middle School Play

The Government Inspector

Lawton C. Johnson SMS

Outstanding Work of Innovation and Invention

Who We Are

Memorial High School

Outstanding Production of Comedy

Rumors

St. Joseph Regional High School

Outstanding Production of a Drama

Dracula

Watchung High School

Outstanding Production of a Classical Play

Antigone

Rahway High School

Outstanding Overall Production of a High School Play

The Curious Incident of The Dog at Night

West Morris High School

Excellence in Dramaturgy

Tom & Merielle Lupfer

The Jo Anne Fox Award

Daniel Devlin

2016-2017 Winners

Did something special happen on the Montclair State University Campus on Monday, May 15th, 2017? It sure did! The best and brightest of New Jersey’s theatre educators, designers and young artists gathered in Memorial Auditorium to celebrate the phenomenal work of the 2016-2017 performing season. It is our distinct pleasure to encourage and recognize the passion, drive, and dedication of so many talented teachers, designers, and students!

Congratulations on another great season! We look forward to seeing what profound and fabulously creative theatre you generate in 2017-2018!

Tell stories! Create Art! And by all means; Stay Foxy!

Award Show School Recipient
Outstanding Achievement in Costume
Design
Stardust Morris County
VoTech School
Outstanding Achievement in Properties One Flew Over
the Cuckoo’s Nest
Moorestown High
School
Outstanding Achievement in Light
Design
Too Much
Light…Go Blind
BCTI Medford
Outstanding Achievement in Scenic
Design
You Can’t Take It
with You
Chatham High School
Outstanding Achievement in New
Medial/Special Effects
The Giver Lawton C. Johnson
Middle School
Outstanding Achievement in Sound
Design
Peter and the
Starcatcher
North Brunswick High
School
Outstanding Achievement in
Choreography or Movement
A Midsummer
Night’s Dream
Mountain Lakes High
School
Outstanding Achievement in Stage
Combat
Game of Tiaras Cranford High School
Outstanding Achievement in Stage
Crew
Noises Off Cranford High School
Outstanding Achievement in Live or
Original Music
Our Town Rahway High School
Excellence in Educational Impact and
Community Outreach
Charlotte’s Web Cedar Grove High
School
Outstanding Achievement in Stage
Direction
The Skin of Our
Teeth
Ocean County
Performing Arts
Academy
Douglas
Bollinger
The Peter Filichia Award for Pushing the
Envelope in Academic Theatre
Macbeth Princeton Day School Stan Cahill
Outstanding Performance by a
Lead
Actor in a Comedy
You Can’t Take It
with You
Summit High School Matt Wilson
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actress in a Comedy
The Skin of Our
Teeth
Ocean County
Performing Arts
Academy
Sarah Osman
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting Actor in
a Comedy
Peter and the
Starcatcher
Mater Dei Prep Sean Mollicki
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting Actress in a Comedy
You Can’t Take It
with You
Summit High School Anne Borzner
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actor in a Drama
August: Osage
County
Passaic Valley High
School
Alex Sanchez
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actor in a Drama
Ordinary People St. Joseph High School Chris Marzulla
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actress in a Drama
Irene’s Vow West Morris Central
High School
Kathryn Platt
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting
Actor in a Drama
Dracula Arthur L. Johnson
High School
Anthony
Whitman
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting Actress in a Drama
33 Variations Saddle River Day
School
Kat Katriel
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actor In a Classical Play
Hamlet JP Stevens High
School
Rutvik
Ashtikar
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actress in a Classical Play
Ondine County Prep High
School
Alexia
Velazquez
Outstanding Performance by a Lead
Actress in a Classical Play
Macbeth Morristown

Beard
School
Sydney
Morris
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting Actor in a Classical
Play
Cymbeline Bergen County
Academies
Darien Fiorino
Outstanding Performance by a
Supporting Actress in a Classical Play
Romeo and Juliet Westfield High School Abigail
Connolly
Outstanding Achievement by an Acting
Ensemble of a Comedy
Noises Off Hopewell Valley High
School
Outstanding Achievement by an Acting
Ensemble of a Drama
Metamorphoses Pascack Valley High
School
Outstanding Achievement by an Acting
Ensemble of a Classical Play
Eurydice Northern Highlands
High School
Outstanding
Production of a Middle
School Play
The Miracle
Worker
Orange Avenue
School
The New Heights Award Rumors Montclair Kimberley
Academy
Outstanding Work of Innovation and
Invention
El Otro Lado Memorial High School Performing Arts
Academy
Outstanding
Production of a Comedy
Peter and the
Starcatcher
Mater Dei Prep
Outstanding Production of a Drama Irene’s Vow West Morris Central
High School
Outstanding Production of a Classical
Play
Cymbeline Bergen County
Academies
Outstanding Overall Production
of a
High School Play
You Can’t Take It
with You
Summit High School
Outstanding Achievement in
Scholarship and Directional Insight
El Otro Lado Memorial High School Performing Arts
Academy
The Jo Anne Fox Award Brandon Doemling

TNA2017-Winners (PDF)