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Winners Announced at 18th Annual Basie Awards Ceremony

originally published: 05/25/2023

Winners Announced at 18th Annual Basie Awards Ceremony

A selection from Middletown High School North’s awards-dominating production of Les Miserables, performed onstage at the Count Basie Center for the Arts

(RED BANK, NJ) -- On May 24, 2023, the winners were announced at the annual Basie Awards, honoring excellence and achievement in Monmouth County high school theatre. This year's ceremony, presented by Bank of America, took place live at the historic Count Basie Center for the Arts, attracting a capacity crowd for what has become the biggest night of the year for area high school thespians.

“This year’s Basie Awards ceremony was an electrifying celebration of the performing arts,” said Anthony Greco, Basie Center Arts Education and Outreach Manager and co-producer of this year’s show. “Every year, the Basie Center gathers hundreds of students, actors, teachers, administrators and families to celebrate high school theatre, and seemingly, the energy and excitement manages to get stronger. Congratulations to all of this year’s nominees!”

In addition to celebrating local talent, the ‘Basies’ presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to actor, director and educator Darrell Lawrence Willis, Sr. Willis, a retired Brookdale Community College faculty member, has also served as a member of the Count Basie Center Board of Trustees since 2005. He currently serves as Artistic Director of the Dunbar Repertory Company, which mounts multiple productions every year throughout the Jersey Shore, including Langston Hughes’ The Black Nativity, which returns to the Count Basie Center stage in December.

“I want to thank the Basie Center, the board, and all those involved in presenting me with this award,” Willis said. “I’ve been doing professional theatre for 53 years now, and it warms my heart to receive an award of this magnitude.”

This year’s Basie Awards winners, by category:





 
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DRAMAS & COMEDIES



CAROLE MALIK AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN OF A PLAY: Emma Freeman (Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives)

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN OF A PLAY: Sukhraj Goraya, Ian Hoffman (Christian Brothers Academy, Rumors)

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN OF A PLAY: Grace Sullivan (Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Kate Morin (Collier High School, Tartuffe)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Joshua Ricatti (Colts Neck High School, Don’t Tell Mother)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Jessica Heitmann (Middletown High School North, The Crucible)



 
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OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Sealth Grover (Middletown High School North, The Crucible)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Racheal O’Neill (St. John Vianney High School, Clue)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE (Tie): Jay Fielding (Middletown High School South, Then One Foggy Christmas Eve); Nico Ware (Collier High School, Tartuffe)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Kendall Thorner (Red Bank Regional High School, A Christmas Carol)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Nate Blodgett (Red Bank Regional High School, A Christmas Carol)

OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Julia Weiss (Collier High School, Tartuffe)

OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A COMEDY – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Evan Callas (Rumson-Fair Haven High School, The Canterville Ghost)

OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Bridget Johnston (Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives)

OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A DRAMA – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Tyler Izzo (Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives)

OUTSTANDING COMPANY IN A COMEDY: Christian Brothers Academy, Rumors



 
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OUTSTANDING COMPANY IN A DRAMA: Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A PLAY: Ellen Phillips (Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives)

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A PLAY: Trinity Hall, These Shining Lives



MUSICALS



EVALUATORS SPECIAL AWARD: THE FUTURE OF HIGH SCHOOL THEATRE: Marshall Tappan (as Gavroche in Middletown High School North’s Les Misérables); Ella Mangano (as Annie in Raritan High School’s Annie)

EVALUATORS SPECIAL AWARD: SEWING AND GROWING CREATIVITY:  Paul Buresh (Keansburg High School, Little Shop of Horrors)

CAROLE MALIK AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING COSTUME DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Laura Mazza (Middletown High School South, Chicago)

OUTSTANDING SET DESIGN OF A MUSICAL (Tie): Kerry McBride (Manasquan High School, Mamma Mia); Carla Valentino (Red Bank Catholic High School, Anything Goes)

OUTSTANDING LIGHTING DESIGN OF A MUSICAL: Tom Smith (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING SMALL MUSIC ENSEMBLE: Christian Lopez & Sam Ferro (Christian Brothers Academy, Godspell)

OUTSTANDING MIXED STUDENT + ADULT ORCHESTRA: Andrew Macirowski (Red Bank Catholic High School, Anything Goes)

OUTSTANDING ALL STUDENT ORCHESTRA (Tie): Anthony Limaldi (Howell High School, Matilda); Michael Raguseo (Middletown High School South, Chicago)

AMY GIINTHER FREDERICKS AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING MUSICAL DIRECTION: Peter Isherwood (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED ENSEMBLE GROUP: Merry Murderesses (Middletown High School South, Chicago)

OUTSTANDING CHORUS IN A MUSICAL: Howell High School, Matilda

OUTSTANDING CHOREOGRAPHY: Brittany Cohen (Howell High School, Matilda)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Rebecca Grodek (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING FEATURED PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Bryan Reimertz (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Ava Giglia (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Sealth Grover (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)



 
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OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – FEMALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Mia Suarez (Howell High School, Matilda)

OUTSTANDING LEAD PERFORMANCE IN A MUSICAL – MALE IDENTIFIED ROLE: Samuel Cusson (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING DIRECTION OF A MUSICAL: Amanda Faria (Middletown High School North, Les Misérables)

OUTSTANDING PRODUCTION OF A MUSICAL: Middletown High School North, Les Misérables



Count Basie Center for the Arts is located at 99 Monmouth Street in Red Bank, New Jersey. It is New Jersey’s premier center for the cultural arts, dedicated to fostering powerful, inclusive artistic experiences and creative exchange of ideas. The Basie mission is to inspire, educate and entertain through its distinct and

engaging cultural and artistic offerings embrace and amplify the diversity of the region. As a nonprofit organization, the Basie is committed to enriching the community’s quality of life by generating opportunities for participation in the arts, partnering with schools, collaborating with other mission-based organizations and driving regional economic prosperity.


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