by Benji Schwartz
The WHS theater department returned home triumphantly for the second year in a row after winning eight awards. WHS earned more awards than any other school in the state, for its production of Pippin from the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards.
For the second year in a row, WHS won the Outstanding Chorus Award.
Senior Jessica Sipe, a member of the chorus, said, “It feels nice to be recognized for the work we put into it, and it’s incredible to receive the award for two [years] in a row."
Junior Geoffrey Ko won the Outstanding Actor in a Supporting Role Award for his performance as Charlemagne.
Said Ko on receiving the award: “I was surprised. I didn’t get a chance to see the other six contenders, so I didn’t know what I was up against. However, I’m extremely honored to win the award.”
Rebecca Skowron was the recipient of the Outstanding Performance in a Featured Role Award.
Skowron said, “I can’t describe [the feeling of winning the award]. It was an incredibly surreal situation, but it was also really exciting and amazing.”
Senior Bernadette Hopen, won a Student Achievement Award for her work as stage manager.
“I’m so beyond honored and excited, and proud to follow in the footsteps of last year’s stage manager,” said Hopen. “[The cast] deserved every award. And everyone who was nominated deserves recognition.”
Additionally, junior Asher Horowitz won the Outstanding Achievement in Graphic Design Award.
Sophomore Alexa Derman won the Outstanding Hair and Makeup Achievement Award and senior Alison Antonelli won a Student Achievement Award for leading the costume committee.
“Working on Pippin was a dream,” said Derman. “Because I was in lights [crew] the year before and away from everyone, I was intimidated at first [to takeover makeup crew]. But everyone is really nice, and it was a great experience.”
Ms. Samantha Hahn, the show’s choreographer, won the Outstanding Achievement in Choreography Award.
Because it was nominated for Outstanding Overall Production, Hahn had the extra task of restaging the finale from Pippin to fit on the Paper Mill stage.
Due to its smaller sized stage, fewer actors were able to perform, and the original Pippin set was not available.
Hahn said, “It’s always a little stressful, but the cast is really good and professional, and when there is work to be done, they focus and get it done.”
Junior Will Cary, who played Lewis, said: “Everyone put their all into [Pippin]. We did a great job, and I got to see myself and others grow as actors.”
Westfield was also nominated for the Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra, Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Outstanding Overall Production.
The program also received an Honorable Mention for Lighting Achievement.
According to Mr. Daniel Devlin, the director of Pippin, winning the awards were a testament to the cast and crew’s hard work.
Said Devlin: “Pippin was awesome. [The actors] proved a lot to themselves.”
He added: “Last year was amazing, so everyone was a little afraid of living up to expectations. But we did it, and now we can sit for five minutes and look at our trophies, and then say, ‘What’s next?’”