By Molly Clifford, Arts and Entertainment Editor
Every year, the Basie’s Education Department of Count Basie Theater in Red Bank holds the Basie Awards to honor outstanding aspects of local high school productions. The department “forms an evaluation committee of theater lovers, performers and educators, who then attend and score upwards to 50 local productions.” The nominees are announced in early May for the 25 different categories, and a few weeks later, the winners are announced at the awards show, which was held on May 22 this year and included performances from winners.
This year, Trinity Hall was nominated for five awards. Four of the five were for the fall drama, “Peter and the Starcatcher.” The four nominees were senior Anna Phillips for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama, junior Julian Lavarra (of Henry Hudson Regional High School) for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, theater director Ellen Phillips for Outstanding Direction in a Drama and sophomore Dianna Whaley for Outstanding Featured Performer in a Drama. The ensemble orchestra, led by music teacher Andrew Bogdan, was nominated for Outstanding Small Ensemble Orchestra in “Pippin.” With one nomination in 2016, two in 2017, four in 2018 and five this year, Trinity Hall received its most nominations yet.
“It felt really awesome to be nominated especially because of all the hard mental and physical work that went into playing the role of Black Stache and it felt like I was recognized for all of the work,” said Anna Phillips about her first individual nomination.
Lavarra won Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama, which brought home the first win on behalf of Trinity Hall. “It was awesome to have a win because, even though it was someone else, the cast works as a team so it felt like we all won,” Anna Phillips added.