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Nyack High School Wins Awards for 'Parade'

Drama club cited for outstanding supporting actor, lighting design, set design

The ’s spring 2012 production of has won three honors in the Seventh Annual National Youth Arts Awards.

More than 230 productions were considered for the awards, including shows from more than 100 different theater programs in more than 50 cities in 11 states. 

And the winners are:

- Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical:
 as Jim Conley in Parade

 - Outstanding Lighting Design:
 for Parade

- Outstanding Set Design: for Parade

Parade follows the true story of Leo Frank, who moved from Brooklyn to Atlanta to work in his father’s pencil factory and in 1913 was put on trial for the rape and murder of a girl who worked at the factory, Mary Phagan.

The heated murder trial led to Frank’s conviction. He was lynched by a mob that broke him out of prison after his death sentence was commuted to life in prison in 1915. The murder, the investigation, trial and eventual hanging of Frank sparked the resurgence of the then-defunct KKK and the birth of one of the leading civil rights organizations, the Anti-Defamation League.

The musical was first produced on Broadway at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1998. The show was nominated for nine Tony Awards in 1999, winning for best book and best score, and winning six Drama Desk awards. Parade went on a national tour, with numerous professional and amateur productions in both the U.S. and abroad.

The Nyack High School Drama Club, led by acclaimed director and set designer Joseph J. Egan, performed Parade on the stage at Nyack High School in March.

"The show was a wonderful experience," Egan said. "Winning the awards makes it even more so."

Egan noted that on the East Coast, many of the award nominees were involved with youth theatrical training programs, unlike the Nyack High School Drama Club, which is a school program.

Rob Hopper, executive director of National Youth Arts, said in the announcement of the awards that this year’s winners were selected from nominations by a panel of more than 20 judges and reviewers. In addition to the youth who performed in the youth theater companies, anyone age 18 and under who performed at a show reviewed by a National Youth Arts judge was also considered for the awards, as well as the adults who participated in the youth productions backstage — directors, set designers, costume designers and others.

“Thank you all for your incredible work and all the unforgettable entertainment over the past year,” Hopper said.

The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony honoring their accomplishments in different regions of the country including multiple ceremonies in California, Arizona, and one in New York City.

Nyack High School’s Drama Club is an extra-curricular activity which offers students an opportunity to be actors, singers, dancers, assistant directors/producers, sound and light technicians, set and costume designers, scenic painters, prop designers, stagehands and musicians. Each year the Drama Club presents three productions: Fall Drama or Comedy, Spring Musical and Spring One Acts.

Some of the club’s most-acclaimed productions include: April 2008 – Phantom of the Opera;  March 2007 – Titanic; and,  March 2006 – Cats.

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