NDA Musical Recognized for Multiple Awards by Center Stage at Fox Cities PAC

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Sophie Hornberger, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

This past Saturday as many NDA students were attending Academy Ball, a group of 11 students were performing at the Center Stage High School Musical Theater Showcase at the Fox Cities Performing Arts Center. 

The group was composed of seniors Joey Bonadonna, Molly Kukiela, Jacob Massart, Charlie Richards and Skylar Schultz; juniors Emily Hoeppner, Emilie Chamberlain and Addie Weiss; sophomore Lauren Witczak; and freshmen Amelia Chrudimsky and FrannieWied, along with musical directors Andrea Gilson and Christine Salerno. 

Notre Dame’s production of Footloose was honored at the ceremony for being one of five productions to win an “Outstanding Ensemble” award. 

In addition to the ensemble award, Massart was nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actor” for his performance as Willard Hewitt in the production this past January, Hoeppner was awarded “Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Role” for her performance as Wendy Jo in the show, and Gilson was awarded “Outstanding Theater Educator.” 

Gilson commented on how much of an honor the recognition of the show was. 

“It is a great honor for the cast, crew and pit orchestra,” said Gilson. “They worked numerous hours to make Footloose a success, and I am extremely proud of all students involved.” 

Hoeppner and Massart both shared similar sentiments regarding their awards. 

“It’s an honor to be recognized for my hard work,” said Hoeppner, “especially because this is something I want to do in the future.”

“It was such an honor to be nominated with so many other outstanding men in their respective roles,” said Massart, who also plans to continue musical theater at University of Wisconsin Stevens Point next fall. 

As far as the actual event goes, it was definitely a night to remember for those who attended. It included combined numbers with performers from all the participating shows, a red carpet, showcase numbers from nominated schools and performances by the students nominated for the outstanding lead awards. 

“I’m so glad I went to center stage!” said Schultz. “At first I was really wary because I wanted to go to prom, but with a bit of maneuvering I was able to do both, and it was so worth it. It was so cool to see what all the other area schools and students did this year and to hang out with them all backstage.” 

The Centerstage program is something Gilson plans to continue with in the future. The program not only provides opportunities for students to attend workshops and events, but also provides a sense of community, with students from other schools attending each other’s shows as well as the final showcase.

“I am definitely crossing my fingers that the showcase does not conflict with prom next year,” said Gilson, “but the overall experience has been positive and beneficial.”