New Castle News

May 14, 2014

Curtain call: Local students, musicals among those nominated for Mancini Awards

By Staff
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Students and productions from five Lawrence County high schools are among the nominees for the 2014 Henry Mancini Musical Theatre Awards.

For 20 years, the Mancini Awards have been a celebration of outstanding student achievement in high school musical theater in Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties. This year, musicals presented by Laurel, Neshannock and  Shenango high schools have been nominated for recognition, as have students who played key roles in each of the productions. Ellwood City and Wilmington also have students represented among the individual nominees.

After being hosted by Geneva College for the past 12 years, the event moves this year to the 750-seat theater of Lincoln Park Performing Arts Center in Midland. The awards ceremony is scheduled for May 21, and will feature performances by several of the adjudicated productions.

But first, nominees will be honored at a private reception Sunday at Lincoln Park, where the names of nominees will be read by Broadway veteran Lenora Nemetz, and nominees will receive a medal and commemorative certificate.

Among the six nominees for Outstanding Overall Production are Laurel’s ‘West Side Story’ and Neshannock’s “The Pajama Game.” The latter also is among the six nominees for Outstanding Overall Performance, as is Shenango’s “Bye, Bye Birdie.”

Neshannock and Laurel are among the hopefuls in the Outstanding Technical Execution category, as is Portersville Christian’s “The Sound of Music.”

It’s Neshannock and Shenango that pop up among the nominees for both Outstanding Choreography Execution and Outstanding Ensemble. Neshannock is the lone local school being considered for Outstanding Vocal Ensemble, but is joined by Laurel in the Outstanding Community Engagement category.

Portersville Christian is being considered for Outstanding Student Orchestra honors.

Locals nominated in individual acting categories are as follows:

•Outstanding Lead Actor: Joseph Cortez (Scarecrow), “The Wizard of Oz,” Ellwood City; Jacob Blank (Tony), “West Side Story,” Laurel; Christian Davis (Albert Peterson), “Bye, Bye Birdie,” Shenango

•Outstanding Lead Actress: Abby Shepherd (Anita), “West Side Story,” Laurel; Carly Edman (Babe Williams), “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; Britney Yauger (Maria Rainer), “The Sound of Music,” Portersville Christian

•Outstanding Supporting Actor: Matty Conway (Riff), “West Side Story,” Laurel; Christian Na (Hines), “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; James Mangiapane (Max Detweiler), “The Sound of Music,” Portersville Christian.

•Outstanding Supporting Actress: Gabriella Giangiuli (Gladys), “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; Grace Henderson (Elsa Schraeder), “The Sound of Music,” Portersville Christian

•Outstanding Noteworthy Individual: Evan Downing (Action), “West Side Story,” Laurel; Bailee Smoot (Poopsie), “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; Grant Weaver (Prez), “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; Paige Cassella (Ursula Merkle), “Bye, Bye Birdie,” Shenango; Josh Bonnici (Gabriel’s Trumpet), “Anything Goes,” Wilmington

•Outstanding Noteworthy Group: Munchkins, “The Wizard of Oz,” Ellwood City; Male Ensemble, “The Pajama Game,” Neshannock; Shriners, “Bye, Bye Birdie,” Shenango.

Tickets for the awards ceremony are on sale now for $10 and can be purchased online at People may order tickets by calling the box office at (724) 576-4644, and choosing option 2 during the normal business hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Tickets are also available at the box office in Midland during normal business hours.