by Krysta Huber
Three members of the WHS theater department were nominated for the 2012 Montclair State University Theater Awards. The awards, which recognize non-musical productions of high school theater, will be presented on April 27 at Montclair State University, according to montclair.edu.
Drama Teacher Mr. Daniel Devlin, senior Annie Oldakowski and junior Michaela Tropeano are each nominated for their work in the WHS fall production, Stage Door. Devlin is nominated for Best Director, Oldakowski for Best Actress in a Supporting Role and Tropeano for Outstanding Performance by a Lead Actress.
According to Devlin, the nominees were chosen by the Montclair State judges. "We sent in a DVD of our performance and the judges at MSU watched it and made their own determinations as to who was deserving of a nomination," he said.
Said Tropeano: "It feels incredible to be nominated…. It is so nice to be recognized for something that I am so passionate about."
Oldakowski also said that she was ecstatic about her nomination and that, as a senior, it was a great ending to four years and eight shows in the WHS theater department.
"I’m so proud of what we’ve accomplished...and I can’t wait to come back next year and see the legacy and tradition continue," Oldakowski added.
The Montclair State Awards are nothing new to WHS. According to Devlin, the theater department received eight nominations for its production A Midsummer Night’s Dream in 2011. The department claimed three awards: Best Actress, Best Production of a Classic and Best Ensemble.
In addition, the 2011 musical production, Sweeney Todd, captured 11 Papermill Rising Star Awards, including Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical.
"After winning the award for Outstanding Overall Production, we knew we had to keep up the hard work, and I definitely believe we did," said Oldakowski.
Despite the past successes of the theater department, Devlin focuses solely on the production at hand. "[This year], I completely avoided discussing any of the accomplishments from last year. Theater is about what’s happening now, tonight, for this audience. It doesn’t have anything to do with what we did yesterday," he said.
Said Tropeano, "The WHS theater department is a safe place where we are encouraged to take risks and be as candid as possible, so this nomination is a reflection of how important that is for an actor."