UHSPAC nominated for 16 Rising Star awards

The Papermilll
The Papermilll

UNION COUNTY, NJ — For over twenty years, the Paper Mill Playhouse has been honoring excellence in high school theater throughout the state of New Jersey.

The Union High School Performing Arts Company has remained at the top of the list as one of the best musical theater training programs for high school students in the state; this year being no exception, with 16 nominations for their production of Duke Ellington’s “Sophisticated Ladies.”

Five years ago, they were bestowed the honor of winning Outstanding Overall Production for 2010’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.”

“It is exciting for the students to be recognized by Paper Mill,” said Director James Mosser. “The company of this show has embodied this material, and I couldn’t be prouder of them. The Paper Mill is a leader in the theatrical community, our students attend many of their programs and also enjoys seeing all of the new and upcoming Broadway shows in their backyard, so coming from them it means a lot.”

Final Nominations Include:
Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – Bernice Onanuga
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – James Frazier
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role – Jonathan Duvelson
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role – Javon King
Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role – Kristian Adap
Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble Group- The Sophisticated Gentlemen
Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra
Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director – James Mosser
Outstanding Achievement in Musical Director- James Mosser and Laura Muller
Outstanding Achievement in Choreography/Musical Staging- Jennifer Williams and James Mosser
Outstanding Scenic Achievement- Eric Marchetta
Outstanding Lighting Achievement- Coby Chasman-Beck
Outstanding Costuming Achievement- Karen Criss
Student Achievement Award – Assistant Director- Jasmine Durham
Student Achievement Award – Deck Chief- Dylan Worst

Honorable Mention:
Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement

The awards ceremony will be held at the Paper Mill Playhouse on Tuesday, June 2, where the students of the UHSPAC will be performing a number from the show. Lead actor nominees, Bernice Onanuga, James Frazier and Jonathan Duvelson, will also perform in a medley during the ceremony.

“Our students have been on an amazing journey,” said Choreographer Jennifer Williams. “Ninety percent of them walked into this process never having stepped into a dance studio in their life, and now they are being recognized with 16 nominations for this larger than life dance musical. It’s an honor being their teacher. Every one of our students from the cast, to the crew, to our incredible big band poured their hearts and souls into this show, and their hard work paid off. No matter what happens, they will always have this experience to take with them.”