WILLIAMSPORT — The red carpet is ready to be rolled out, the tuxedos are pressed and the awards are polished to a brilliant shine as the Community Arts Center gets ready to host the Ray of Light Awards this Sunday.
Now in its fifth year, the Ray of Light Awards honors the creativity and talent of area high school theater and applauds each and every person who makes the magic of live theater happen.
“The evening is a spectacle unlike anything else in the area,” said Jacquie Engel, project designer and director. “The excitement is contagious and the night is just fun.”
The area’s equivalent to the Tony’s, the Ray of Light Awards took to the stage in 2009 by turning sadness into joy after the passing of a beloved friend and patron to the Community Theatre League, the driving force behind the awards, left the organization a donation.
It was decided the funds would be used to honor the creativity and interest in high school theater programs.
At first the awards were given to high schools in Lycoming County, however, soon after the decision was made to include theater programs within a 40-mile radius of Williamsport.
Although every eligible high school does not participate, a dozen schools will be honored, including Central Mountain, Milton, Shikellamy, South Williamsport, Loyalsock, Montoursville, Muncy, Montgomery, Midd-West, Hughesville, Jersey Shore and Williamsport.
“All the schools within the 40-mile radius are sent information each year to participate. Some choose not to,” she said. “The entry fee is $100 for musicals and $50 for plays to be a part of the adjudication process. There is no fee to perform at the event itself. In addition, all participating students attend the event, after-party and reception, at no charge.”
Engle noted the funds needed for the entry fee are either paid either from their student activity account or from their districts directly. The Community Theatre League, a non-profit organization, rarely breaks even and produces the event not to generate funds, but to show the public the power of live theatre in area high schools.