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May 18, 2014

22 guys and dolls theater noms

Play, musical students seek Ray of Light Award

— WILLIAMSPORT — Twenty-two actors and actresses from Valley high schools will learn shortly after walking the red carpet tonight whether their performances in fall plays and spring musicals are worthy of a Ray of Light Award.

Eight students from Shikellamy, seven from Selinsgrove, five from Warrior Run and two from Midd-West have been nominated in the eighth annual ceremony that honors excellence in high school theater, which begins at 6 p.m. at the Williamsport Community Center.

Shikellamy’s Shelby Snyder and Rebeka Yocum received two nominations, as did Selinsgrove’s Brian Lose, Warrior Run’s Hannah Swanson and Midd-West’s Jessica Portzline.

Snyder, a senior, won best supporting actress in a musical in 2012, and best supporting actress in a play in 2013.

With a program similar in structure to Broadway’s Tony Awards show, students will perform from their nominated performances.

“I know that every school prides itself on their productions,” said Ellen Boyer, director of Shikellamy High School’s theater program. “I think that those who have a chance to come to the Community Arts Center on Sunday evening will be astounded at the level of talent that exists within our Valley. The evening should be very entertaining.”

This is the third year that Shikellamy has participated in the event, “and we’ve really done well in the past,” Boyer said.

Shikellamy has won 11 Ray of Light awards in the past two years, including best large-scale musical in 2012 and 2013. It was nominated in that category again in 2014 for “9 to 5.”

Boyer was enthusiastic in talking about her nominated students.

Adam Leister, nominated for leading actor in “But Why Bump Off Barnaby?” has great stage presence, Boyer said. “He’s a really likeable character and very natural on stage. Adam has a charm about him that really draws an audience to him. He has a very dry wit and so I like to use him in comedies where he can really shine with that witty, dry sense of humor.”

She was even more effusive in her description of Christa Beveridge, Rebeka Yocum and Shelby Snyder, nominated for leading actress in a musical.

These three have been lighting up the Shikellamy stage for the past four years, Boyer said.

“They are incredibly dedicated,” she said. “The play that we did this year, ‘9 to 5’ had to have three strong leading ladies and they are all nominated in the leading lady category. I can’t imagine how anyone could choose one over the other because all three were just perfect for the roles that they played and they put everything they had into them.”

Shikellamy’s Jake Hare, nominated for supporting actor in a musical from “9 to 5,” was a “real surprise,” Boyer said. Hare is usually seen on a football field, basketball court or a baseball diamond. He is a star athlete for Shikellamy. but Boyer noticed an ability in him and a talent. “He was perfect in the role of the boss in the play,” she said. “He was a man’s man, he was confident and can sing like a dream. He’d never sung in public before but has a great voice, was wonderful to work with. Very willing to try anything I asked him to do and he brought a great charisma to the stage. We are thrilled and excited for him.”

The program was developed to promote the efforts of area high school music theater and drama programs. A yearlong adjudication process culminates in the formal awards night honoring the best and brightest performers in high schools within 40 miles of the Community Theatre League in Williamsport.

Shikellamy is also nominated for best vocal performance, best choreography and best large-scale musical for “9 to 5.”

Nominees for the best play are Selinsgrove, for “The Man Who Came to Dinner”; Shikellamy, for “But Why Bump Off Barnaby?” and Warrior Run, for “Dearly Beloved.”

Warrior Run is nominated for best large-scale musical for “Once Upon a Mattress.”

 

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