4 musicals in Orleans receive many awards, recognition by Stars of Tomorrow

Photos by Tom Rivers: Lyndonville's production of The Wizard of Oz included 108 students in the cast, crew and pit orchestra, including 38 in grades 1 to 6 who were Munchkins. Here the munchkins see Sarah Corser as Glinda, the Good Witch of the North, who greets (Dorothy) Elizabeth Whipple. Lyndonville's production earned many awards from the Stars of Tomorrow.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 May 2023 at 2:58 pm

Four musicals that were performed in March in Orleans County received many awards and recognition by the Stars of Tomorrow program through the Rochester Broadway Theatre League.

The Stars held its 25th annual awards program last week and 32 schools in the Rochester region were able to perform a selection from their musicals on the RBTL’s Auditorium Theatre, including Albion, Lyndonville and Medina.

Those three schools, plus Holley, all received several recognition awards for their productions.

Lyndonville took home a top honor for “Excellence in Overall Production” for The Wizard of Oz.

Lyndonville and Holley are grouped in schools with population less than 500, while Albion and Medina are with larger schools with more than 500 students.

“I am so proud of our wonderfully talented Lyndonville kids,” said Jen Trupo, the Lyndonville director. “They have worked so hard and made our district proud. Not only that but Orleans County was well-represented in the program this year. It was great for the kids to support their friends in Albion, Medina and Holley. There is so much talent in our county!”

This year was the first in more than a decade where Lyndonville and Medina performed their own musicals. The districts had a shared program based at Lyndonville. Medina brought back its own theater program and performed Little Mermaid.

Seagan Majchrzak starred as Ariel in Medina’s production of Disney’s The Little Mermaid. She has been nominated as one of the top 40 leads in the Rochester region and will perform again at the Auditorium Theatre on May 25.

Seagan Majchrak starred as Ariel in that musical. She is one of 40 female or male leads who will compete on May 25 for the chance to represent the Rochester region at a national competition in New York City in June. This is the National High School Musical Theatre Awards.

Annabelle Follman, who was the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz, also is among the 40 to be featured next Thursday at the Auditorium Theatre in Rochester.

Holley for the first time participated in the Stars of Tomorrow program with adjudicators coming to the production to judge Willy Wonka and offer critiques and highlight outstanding performances.

“The committee provides us with a report of what we did well and things to consider for the future – this report will help us each year as we shine brighter and brighter,” said Dustin Gardner, the Holley musical director the past two years.

Gardner was picked for one of four prestigious Impact Awards among the 37 districts in the Stars program.

Gabe Lindsay received a “Tip of the Hat” recognition for his role as Willy Wonka and the Candy Man in Holley’s production of Willy Wonka. Ava Quincey also was recognized for her performance as “Charlie Bucket.”

Holley students also were honored with awards for acting, singing and vocal performances.

“It felt awesome for Holley to be recognized,” Gardner said. “For the students, they put so much hard work into their performances, and they deserved each recognition given.

“For me, I was stunned. They began introducing the winner of the award before announcing the name and I thought in my head, ‘Hey, it sounds like they are talking about me!’ and sure enough, it was. I am incredibly thankful and honored. Did I cry? Possibly.”

Gardner said he wanted the Holley cast and crew to be a part of Stars and attend the show at the Auditorium Theatre to see the other schools.

“There are so many different schools out there that are doing some big things when it comes to the world of musical theater,” Gardner said. “We don’t always get to see those schools and their performances. This was a way to get a mini preview of all of the shows. It is important to celebrate those schools and their performances. The energy in the room was amazing!

The districts in Orleans County in the Stars program and their awards include:

Albion – The Addams Family

Natalie Baron received a “Tip of the Hat” recognition for her performance as the zany “Grandma” in Albion’s performance of The Addams Family.

  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Special Recognition – Samantha Basinait for going above and beyond in the stage crew, including coming in on Saturdays and during February break.
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Julia Button and Chloe Gray who were dance captains.
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Samantha Basinait, Flynn Morrison and Lucy Rivers in stage crew; Natalie Baron as “Grandma,” Willem DeRuysscher as “Lurch” and Chloe Gray as “Flapper Ancestor.”

Holley – Willy Wonka

  • Excellence in dance ensemble
  • Excellence in vocal ensemble
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Impact Award (one of four awarded) – Dustin Gardner as director of the Holley musical.
  • Future Star – Addison Bevins, a 7th-grader, who made her debut as Charlie’s friend, Matilda. “Addison’s vocals were a highlight in the show. Due to Addison’s vocal abilities, she was able to positively influence other performers to sing out and confidently.”
  • Special Recognition – Ellie Quincey for taking her character, Violet Beauregarde, to the next level with a southern accent and for being a role model to other cast and crew members.
  • Special Recognition – Gabe Lindsay portrayed the lead role of Willy Wonka, and often brought ideas on how to enhance his character. “He was a leader many could count on.”
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Ava Quincey who starred as “Charlie Bucket,” Owen Schultz who was “Grandpa Joe” and Jayda Shampine who was “Veruca Salt.”
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Lance Babcock as “Grandpa George,” Gabriel Lindsay as “Willy Wonka” and Owen Schultz as “Grandpa Joe.”

Lyndonville – The Wizard of Oz

The four leads in the Wizard of Oz include Amir Huzair as the Scarecrow, Noah Fox as the Tinman, Elizabeth Whipple as Dorothy and Annabelle Follman as the Cowardly Lion. Follman was picked as one of the 40 top leads in the Rochester region and will perform again May 25 in Rochester for a chance to go to a national competition next month in New York City.

  • Excellence in overall production
  • Excellence in performance: Lyndonville Amir Huzair as Scarecrow, Annabelle Follman as Cowardly Lion and Elizabeth Whipple as Dorothy
  • Excellence in vocal ensemble
  • Excellence in acting ensemble
  • Excellence in dance ensemble
  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Future Star – Isabella Bresett, an 8th-grader, was a standout performer in the ensemble with her singing, dancing and acting, and always eager to volunteer when something needed to be done.
  • Future Star – Sarah Corser played the role of Glinda despite being only an 8th-grader. She was one of five in the show who were able to fly with a harness and pulley system. “She challenged herself, took direction well and was fearless with her flying,” the Stars program states.
  • Special Recognition – Kevin Travis, the flight manager who coordinated the five flying members of the cast. He did all of the safety checks to make sure the operators and flying performers were working smoothly. Travis, a senior, has been part of the crew since seventh grade.
  • Special Recognition – Meagan Hardner, who played the Wicked Witch, and was “frighteningly wonderful on stage.” She also was a leader off-stage, helping with many aspects of the show.
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Lorelei Dillenbeck for playing the saxophone in the pit orchestra, Amber Grabowski for “Emerald City Guard” and Amir Zimmerman for “Nikko.”
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Meagan Hardner as “Wicked Witch,” Laci Giarla as “Aunt Em/Ensemble,” Fantima Lieberman as “Munchkin Coroner,” Hannah Marker/Hanna Foz as “Crows/Trees” and Amir Zimmerman in the ensemble.

Medina – The Little Mermaid

  • Excellence in performance: Seagan Majchrak as Ariel and Elaina Huntington as Ursula
  • Excellence in student orchestra
  • Excellence in production crew
  • Future Star – Madelyn Elliott performed as Scuttle despite having a dislocated knee. She impressed the director and cast with her talent, work ethic and willingness to push herself.
  • Special Recognition – Bailey Clare for her role as stage manager, helping to organize the cast, crew and props/sets.
  • Special Recognition – Elaina Huntington who played Ursula, the villain in Little Mermaid. “Not only is she incredibly talented, she was also a support and positive role model for her peers.”
  • Round of Applause (for special involvement or performance) – Theresa Biesinger for sound crew, and Bryson Costich and Ella Dahlhaus for stage crew.
  • A Tip of the Hat (for outstanding performances and special recognition in non-adjudicated roles) – Ava Blount as “Flounder,” Elaina Bitsas as “Flotsam,” Bailey Clare as stage manager, Madelyn Elliott as “Scuttle” and Lilian Wilson as “Jetsam.”