actor Nick Siccone, and musicians in the pit orchestrata for this spring's student musical, "The Secret Garden," are nominated for two prestigious Paper Mill Playhouse “Rising Star” awards, with winners to be announced in June.
Established in 1996, the Paper Mill Playhouse student awards, encourage and reward accomplishments in the production of high school musical theater. Recognition of outstanding achievement by students and educators will be made in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, technical production and overall production excellence
Ridge senior Nick Siccone is one of seven nominees in the “Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role” category. Siccone acted and sang the part of Archibald Craven in the Ridge drama club's based on the novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Ridge instructor Megan Kern directed the production.
Siccone has been a consistent performer with the drama club. Some of his other roles were in and in a previous version of "The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood," when he portrayed the Sheriff of Nottingham.
The pit orchestra, which provides the music for each performance, is one of seven schools nominated in the “Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra” category. Student members of the orchestra are Eileen Cho, Cathy Chen, Cynthia Xie, Scott Altman, Charlene Haddad, Jonah Lee and Alex Smith on violin, Tiffany Chen and Belle Lin on viola, Emeril Huang and Alex Chase on cello, Devin McGuire and Victoria Weniger on bass, Alex Rice, Eddie Park, Julia Grossmann and Song Park on woodwinds, Victor Eng, and Jake Massa on brass, Josh Kluger on percussion and Amanda Li and Kevin Liu on keyboard, according to Don Grossmann, band spokesman. The Pit Orchestra was led by Ridge music instructor Jennifer Curran, he said.
Winners will be announced at a June 5 Rising Star Awards Gala Ceremony held at the Paper Mill Playhouse in Millburn.
Now in its 17th year, the Rising Star Awards is a statewide competition of New Jersey high school musicals modeled after Broadway's Tony Awards, according to the Paper Mill Playhouse website. With the Paper Mill's assistance, the competition has been replicated in several regions nationwide.
The Rising Star Award Corps of Evaluators, comprised of theater professionals, performing artists and designers, and theater arts educators, fans out across New Jersey between January and April to see shows at all 100 entered schools and then makes nomination recommendations in various performance and production categories. In June, the Tony Awards-style Rising Star Awards Gala Ceremony is presented on the Paper Mill stage, where nominees perform and selected recipients are presented with an engraved crystal award from sponsor Tiffany & Co.
Paper Mill Playhouse also awards four $1,000 cash scholarships to outstanding individual students participating in entered Rising Star Award productions who plan to continue studying theater in college.
Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories win a full scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse's competitive Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory. The professional training program offers advanced classes in singing, acting and dance, and an opportunity to perform on the Paper Mill stage in our annual New Voices Concert.