UNION COUNTY, NJ – As one of the nation’s premier professional theaters and recipient of the 2016 Regional Theater Tony Award, Paper Mill Playhouse – edited by Mark S. Hoebee, Artistic Director of Production, and Michael Stotts, Director general – has a good – has gained a reputation for launching both performers and shows on Broadway. Since their inception in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards for Excellence in High School Musical Theater have ignited the careers of many notable performers, all of whom attended high school in New Jersey. The 2021 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards event, presented by the Investors Foundation, took place on Monday, June 7 at 7 p.m., with performances from New Jersey schools. The Rising Star Awards were featured on Paper Mill’s YouTube and Facebook pages, where they can still be viewed.

Top honors in the Outstanding Solo Performance of an Actor and Outstanding Solo Performance of an Actress categories were awarded to Michael Bryant Kessie of Delaware Valley Regional High School for his selection of performances, “Joe” from the musical “Working” and Yemie Woo of Pascack Hills High School for her selection of performances, “Fabulous Baby” from the musical “Sister Act”. Summit High School won the Outstanding Large Ensemble Performance award for the “Seize the Day” production issue of “Newsies,” and Ridge High School won the Outstanding Small Ensemble Performance award for the “Macavity” dance number from the musical “Cats.”

The recipients of the inaugural Rising Star Outstanding Educator Awards of $ 1,000 for their school’s drama programs are John Giresi of Fair Lawn High School, Cindy Dwyer of Mater Dei High School and Anne Poyner of Summit High School. Madison High School was selected as the recipient of the Rising Star Inclusion and Access Award of $ 1,000 for its work supporting students with disabilities in its production.

Students who receive final nominations and honorable mentions in the solo performance categories receive a scholarship to the Conservatory of Competitive Summer Musical Theater at Paper Mill Playhouse, a professional training program that, along with advanced singing lessons, d ‘actor and dance, offers contestants the opportunity to perform in the season finale presentation, “New Voices of 2021: Stand by Me,” which will be filmed and premiered on Paper Mill’s social media in September. .

In addition to the Summit High School large ensemble victory, the Union County winners are: Khadija Sankoh of Union High School won the Douglas Michael Krueger scholarship and Emma MacPherson, costume team leader, Summit High School, and Ben Zakharenko, sound designer, Westfield High School, won the Rising Star Student Achievement Awards.