New Castle News

School Musicals

May 23, 2014

Wilmington senior horns in on awards

NEW CASTLE — Senior Josh Bonnici wanted to do a musical before he graduated from Wilmington High School.

Thus, he offered himself up for this year’s production of “Anything Goes,” although he had no idea of what he might be asked to do. Turns out, there was a part just waiting for him, and Bonnici parlayed it into Outstanding Noteworthy Individual recognition at Wednesday’s 20th annual Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards.

Bonnici – the only Wilmington nominee for the event, which took place at the Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland – was honored for his efforts as Gabriel’s Trumpet.

“Gabriel’s Trumpet is a character during ‘Blow, Gabriel, Blow,’ when Reno is singing and trying to get the party started after one of the church scenes,” he explained.  “So Gabriel’s Trumpet is just the trumpet player.

“I actually play the trumpet, so it was an easy thing for me. I prefer jazz, and it was more of a jazz, kind of swing role. So I enjoyed it a lot.”

Bonnici had no idea the role existed when he reported for musical duty.

“I just wanted to do the musical, and they asked, ‘Is there a trumpet player that can play the part?’ and I kinda got the role.”

Portersville Christian School senior James Mangiapane was one of two Ellwood City residents to receive individual honors. He took home an award for Outstanding Supporting Actor for his role as Max Detwiler in “The Sound of Music.”

“We’ve come to the Mancinis before and it’s been very exciting,” he said. “We’ve won a couple of times, but never a personal award, I think, in recent years, so it’s very exciting to receive it.”

Mangiapane called his role challenging because the story – particularly the film version starring Julie Andrews – is so well known and beloved.

“It was also difficult because he is funny, but he’s kind of a bad guy, so you had to work with the directors to get it right,” he said. “During the performances, it’s kind of comic relief when I came on stage, and people would laugh, so I figured I must be doing something right.”

Joseph Cortez, who played the Scarecrow in Ellwood City Lincoln’s production of “The Wizard of Oz,” received an Outstanding Leading Actor award, but was not present at the program. In addition, Ellwood got nods for Outstanding Community Engagement and Outstanding Noteworthy Group (the Munchkins).

Laurel High’s ‘West Side Story” production took home awards in the Outstanding Technical Execution and Outstanding Community Engagement categories. The show was directed by Charles Gryn.

Shenango, which performed “Bye, Bye Birdie” under the direction of Paul Angelucci, was recognized for Outstanding Choreography Execution and Outstanding Noteworthy Group (The Shriners).

(Email: d_irwin@ncnewsonline.com)

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