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Briarcliff Schools: No Regrets at Theater Awards

BRIARCLIFF MANOR, N.Y. – Briarcliff High School went home with no wins and no regrets Monday night at the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards .

Briarcliff High School received a total of eight nominations for the March production of “Sugar.” More than a thousand students from nearly 40 high schools from Rockland, Westchester and Bergen counties packed Peekskill’s Paramount Center of the Arts Monday night. Briarcliff’s production received eight nominations in May and Director Ian Driver said following the award ceremony that he was proud of everyone who worked on the show.

“The evening was great. We didn’t win anything but it was still great for everyone involved,” Driver said Monday night. “The awards were very competitive with schools that were much bigger than us. I think it’s good for my students to realize that there are a lot of people out there doing great work. I also think we can be very, very proud with our production and what we’ve achieved.”

Driver also wanted to mention how impressed he was with the school’s seniors, especially star John Alecci.

“He’s been nominated for three years running and I think that’s something that’s very impressive,” Driver said. “It’s impressive because it’s something that is extremely difficult to achieve but he’s done it.”

Alecci said he had no regrets or sorrow Monday night and even though he felt under the weather, he enjoyed doing one last song in front of more than a thousand people at the awards show.

“It was great to slap on the high heels one last time,” Alecci said with a laugh. “Sugar” is based on the 1959 film “Some Like It Hot” where two men dress as women in a traveling band to hide from gangsters. “The whole thing was great. Whether you win or lose, it was a great thing and it was a great time.”

The Metropolitan High School Theater Awards began in 1998 “to shine a spotlight on the exceptional musical theater productions, talented actors and actresses and devoted creative teams who take to the stage every spring in our local high schools,” according to the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre, the company that hands out the awards.

2012 Metropolitan High School Theater Awards Winners:

Outstanding Overall Production : Archbishop Stepinac H.S. – “The Phantom of the Opera”

Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role : Ossining H.S. – “Aida” - Mykaela Copeland  (Aida)

Outstanding Actor in a Leading Role : TIE: Archbishop Stepinac H.S. – “Phantom of the Opera” - Albert Stanaj (Phantom) & Fair Lawn H.S. – “Nine” – Sean Dabney (Guido Contini)

Outstanding Actress in a Supporting Role : St. Joseph Reg. H.S. – “Cabaret” – Kelly Duffy (Fraulein Schneider)

Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role : Archbishop Stepinac H.S. –“Phantom of the Opera” - Chris Guzman (Raoul)

Outstanding Chorus : Ossining H.S. – “Aida”

Outstanding Production Number : Bergen County Academies – “The King and I” – “The Small House of Uncle Thomas”

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group: Harrison H.S. – “42nd Street” – (Featured Dancers – Amanda Almeida, Yvonne Duah, Nicole Ferrara, Tori Feeney, Jackie Ledesma, Andi Rella, Tori Lovallo, Olivia Pagano, Halle Mastroberardino, Nicolette Mitil, Adrianna Nocco, Mikie Sakanaka, Roma Scarano)

Outstanding Duet: Clarkstown South H.S. – “Into the Woods” – “Hello Little Girl” Gina Tenore/Mitchell Schneider (Little Red Ridinghood/Wolf)

Outstanding Vocal Performance: Harrison H.S. – “42nd Street” – Cayla Pettinato (Peggy Sawyer)

Outstanding Acting Performance: Saddle River Day School – “Gypsy” – Skylar Gottlieb (Rose)

Outstanding Dance Performance: Lakeland H.S. – “Oklahoma!” – Anthony DeMarte (Will Parker)

Outstanding Comic Performance: Ramsey H.S. – “Curtains” - Alex Zammitti – “Curtains” (Christopher Belling)

Outstanding Orchestra (primarily student orchestras only): Bergen County Academies – “The King and I”

Outstanding Instrumentalist: Pearl River H.S. – “Damn Yankees” – David Avery (Bass)

Outstanding Musical Direction: Clarkstown South H.S. – “Into the Woods” - Kip Bonsignore


Outstanding Stage Crew: Rye Neck H.S. – “Beauty and the Beast”

Outstanding Lobby Display: Northern Highlands H.S. – “The Wedding Singer” – Diane Brown, Anne Wilson, Melissa

Outstanding Graphic Design: Spring Valley H.S. – “Footloose” – May Neils, Edneraldine Simon

Outstanding Costuming Achievement: Bergen County Academies – “The King and I” – Terry Thiry, Victoria Pero, Janet Adamo

Technical Merit Award (Teacher Nominated): Ossining H.S. – “Aida” – Jessica Fleischman (Stage Manager/Lighting Designer) & Rockland Country Day School – “Urinetown” – Adam Kapilow (Lighting Designer)

(The list is an unofficial, incomplete listing of the award winners announced Monday. The complete listings are scheduled to be available on the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards website. )

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