Young thespians’ big night
Students ascend the red carpet to the Teeny Awards


Young thespians’ big night


ISLIP TOWN—Local high schools are now closed, and for the teenage performers who helped make their schools’ theater productions during the school year a success, that work is now but a memory. However, none of it went unrecognized. For a number of years, the Islip Arts Council has been hosting the annual Teeny Awards—a Tony Award, so to speak—for local thespians. Early last month, they had their big night in the Bay Shore High School’s auditorium.

One by one, limousines drove all of the nominees from various high schools throughout the Town of Islip to the venue. Tailored gents and lovely ladies, some in sequined gowns, emerged from the cars and made their way up the red carpet that had been laid on the steps of the school building, as friends and family cheered from the sidelines.

Many of the students who had performed in their high school productions also had the opportunity to take part in an opening and closing number that night with peers from other schools.

“The Teeny Awards is a recognition program that gives accolades to all aspects of theater. All the students who participate are winners,” said IAC director Lynda Moran.

She added that each production is a cooperative effort.

“Dedicated teachers work long hours to engage young people in activities that promote a sense of community,” Moran added.

Similar to sports activities, Amy McGrath, program director for the Teeny Awards, said everyone is important for the success of the Teeny Award production.

“A team effort is needed for the best end-result,” she said. “Students truly supported each other and got to become friends with students from other districts with similar talents. They were cooperative, serious about what they were doing and fun to be with.”

In addition to the awards, scholarships were presented to graduating seniors that were made possible through a $10,000 grant from NYS Sen. Phil Boyle. This year’s scholarship recipients were: Shannon Conrad (Bayport-Blue Point School District); Samuel Murdock and Dierdra Carmichael (Bay Shore School District); Christina Berott (Brentwood School District); Ricardo Vallejo and Eugenia Rodriguez (Central Islip School District); Kyle Westgate-Adessi (East Islip School District); Francesco DiFlora (Hauppauge School District); and John DelGeniuo (Islip School District).

Teeny Award recipients in our reader areas were: Actor in a Musical, Reece DeGraff,  “Evita,” Bay Shore High School; Actress in a Musical (tie) Victoria Tiernan, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood,” East Islip High School and Ariana Vargus, “Seussical,” Brentwood High School; Supporting Actress in a Musical, Emma Regina, “Legally Blonde,” Islip High School; Male Cameo in a Musical, Nicholas Miller, “Bye Bye Birdie,” Connetquot High School; Female Cameo in a Musical, Toni Castronova, “Legally Blonde,” Islip High School; Ensemble Musical (tie), Bay Shore High School “Evita,” and East Islip High School, “The Mystery of Edwin Drood.” Student Pit Orchestras from Bay Shore, Bayport-Blue Point, Brentwood, East Islip, Connetquot, Sayville, Hauppauge and Central Islip high schools were also recognized at the event.

“This was the most talented group ever,” said Moran. “And the shows get better every year.