Seven productions are in the running for outstanding overall production at the 2014 Metro Awards honoring achievements in high-school musicals from Rockland, Westchester and Bergen counties. (Pictured: Christine Calasacco of Tuckahoe is nominated for outstanding acting performance, female, for playing Tracy Turnblad in “Hairspray.”)
Fair Lawn (N.J.) High School’s production of “Cabaret” garnered 15 nominations, the most of the 36 schools entered in the Metropolitan High School Theater Awards, hosted by the Helen Hayes Youth Theatre and producer Danielle Rudess. The nominees were announced in a live webcast Monday on lohud.com, the event’s media sponsor.
The schools up for the coveted outstanding-overall-production honor — won last year by Harrison’s “Crazy for You” — are Fair Lawn, Archbishop Stepinac’s “Mary Poppins,” Pleasantville’s “South Pacific,” Harrison’s “A Chorus Line,” Don Bosco Prep’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” Rye Neck’s “Shrek the Musical,” and Spring Valley’s “In the Heights.”
There are seven actresses in the category of actress in a leading role, playing characters ranging from a grease-monkey tomboy to a practically perfect nanny to a long-suffering showgirl who always thinks she’s bound for Niagara but gets off at Saratoga with her gambling fiance every time.
The nominees are: Heather Rubin Cabrera as Natalie in Alexander Hamilton’s “All Shook Up”; Christine Turturro as Mary in Stepinac’s “Mary Poppins”; Jamie Epstein as Adelaide in Blind Brook’s “Guys and Dolls”; Emily Dyke as Mimi in Hastings’ “Rent”; Hailey Aversa as Sally in Fair Lawn’s “Cabaret”; Liana Frasca as Nellie in Pleasantville’s “South Pacific”; and Alissa Finn as Marian in Tappan Zee’s “The Music Man.”
The leading-actor category is equally diverse – from a Frenchman in the Pacific to a milkman in 1905 Russia to a bodega owner in Washington Heights to an upwardly mobile window-washer.
But two actors are up in the same category for playing the same role: Matthew Mucha of Fair Lawn and Calvin Rezen of Pascack Valley are nominated for their performances as the Emcee in “Cabaret”; James McCarthy for playing Emile in Pleasantville’s “South Pacific”; Jared Fink as Mark in Saddle River Day’s “Rent: School Edition”; Manny Piedra as Usnavi in Spring Valley’s “In the Heights”; Julio Sanchez as Tevye in St. Joseph Regional’s “Fiddler on the Roof”; and Alexander Pronevich as J. Pierrepont Finch in Valhalla’s “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying.”
The Metros – held for six years at at Peekskill’s Paramount – will move down-county this year to Archbishop Stepinac High School in White Plains on June 2.
Rudess explained the move last week, saying the Paramount’s rental fee was steep and that Stepinac was more centrally located. Another benefit of having the event at a school is that nominees will have their own classroom to call their own as they prepare.
Both venues seat slightly more than 1,000, making for a raucous night of theater-going as showkids celebrate their favorite art form.
While the venue will change, the host will not. Larchmont’s John Treacy Egan will return for a second stint as the Metros emcee. He struck just the right tone last year and his Broadway credentials make him a natural: “The Producers,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Nice Work If You Can Get It” and a nifty little turn in “Bye Bye Birdie.” (He was also in “Batboy the Musical” Off-Broadway.)
Other double-digit honorees are Archbishop Stepinac’s “Mary Poppins” with 13, Pleasantville’s “South Pacific” and Spring Valley’s “In the Heights” with 12, Harrison’s “A Chorus Line” with 11, and North Rockland’s “Cats” and Don Bosco Prep’s “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” with 10 each.
The Metros began 15 years ago at the now-defunct Helen Hayes Theater Company in Nyack and were nicknamed “The Helens” for the first dozen or so years, until the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. — which hands out Helen Hayes Awards — objected and the name was changed to the Metros.
Read the full list of nominees here.
Look at the 2014 Metros nominees by the numbers.
Here are the technical merit — teacher nominated — nominees.