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2015 Leading Actress Winner Adina Triolo as Winnifred in Princeton Day School’s ONCE UPON A MATTRESS

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2015 Leading Actor Winner Nick Berninger as Chris in St. Joseph Regional HS’s MISS SAIGON: SCHOOL EDITION

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Tony Award-Winner and Rising Star Award Nominee Nikki M. James presenting an award at the 20th Anniversary Ceremony

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2015 Outstanding Overall Production Winner, Union HS’s SOPHISTICATED LADIES

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2014 Outstanding Overall Production Winner, Princeton Day School’s URINETOWN

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2014 Leading Actor Winner Keenan Buckley as Julian Marsh in Summit HS’s 42ND STREET

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2014 Leading Actress Winner Emma Magbanua accepting the award for her performance as Kim in Union HS’s MISS SAIGON: SCHOOL…

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2013 Outstanding Overall Production Winner, Summit HS’s DISNEY’S BEAUTY AND THE BEAST

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2013 Leading Actress winner Jana Bernard as Marmee March in Gill St. Bernard’s HS’s LITTLE WOMEN

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2013 Leading Actor Winner Matthew Lynn as Bat Boy in Westfield HS’s BAT BOY: THE MUSICAL

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Rising Star Awards Information

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards were created in 1996 to encourage and reward exceptional accomplishments in the production of high school musical theatre. The Rising Star Awards - Presented by the Investors Foundation is a statewide competition of New Jersey high school musicals modeled after Broadway's Tony Awards. 

Awards  are presented for outstanding achievement by students and educators in the areas of performance, design, direction, choreography, technical production and overall production excellence. 

The Rising Star Award Corps of Evaluators, comprised of theater professionals, performing artists, designers, and theater arts educators, views 100  student productions from high schools across the state.  The Tony Awards-style Rising Star Awards Gala Ceremony is presented on the Paper Mill stage. Award-winners are presented with an engraved crystal award from our friends at Tiffany & Co.

Paper Mill Playhouse offers four $1,000 cash awards to outstanding individual students participating in entered Rising Star Award productions, and who plan to continue studying theatre or technical theatre in college. A fifth cash scholarship of $1,000 is awarded in memoriam of Rising Star Nominee Douglas Michael Krueger.

Lastly, students receiving final nominations in the lead and supporting acting categories win a scholarship to Paper Mill Playhouse's competitive Summer Musical Theatre Conservatory, a professional training program which along with advanced classes in singing, acting and dance, offers the nominees an opportunity to perform on the Paper Mill stage in our annual New Voices Concert. Any New Jersey public, private or parochial school may enter by completing an application and being among the first 100 to apply. 

For additional information on the Rising Star Awards or to be added to the mailing list to receive application information, please contact 973.315-1668.


Rising Star Awards - Presented by the Investors Foundation is also supported by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation. Major support for Education Outreach is provided by MetLife Foundation. Rising Star scholarships are made possible by John Burgio & Ruth Bedford in Memory of Jane Burgio, Douglas Michael Krueger Scholarship Fund Trust, VSA New Jersey, and the New Jersey Theatre Alliance. Rising Star Awards is made possible in part by funds from the New Jersey State Council on the Arts. Paper Mill Playhouse is a not-for-profit arts organization.