John W. Engeman Theater

Huntington Actors Claim Hunting-Tony Awards

Main Street was bustling outside of the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport.

June 13, 2017

The Huntington High School drama club closed out another successful year with two of its actors claiming top honors at the Hunting-Tony Awards ceremony at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport.

Maddie Shea won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for her standout performance in The Laramie Project. Robert Jean-Gilles won the Best Featured Actor in Musical Award for his work in Once Upon a Mattress.

Huntington High School’s acting royalty turned out for the evening, which featured a red carpet and a well-deserved buzz for the talented teenagers, who came dressed in gorgeous outfits. The venue was packed by a crowd of about 400, including Town Council members Mark Cuthbertson and Susan Berland, who hosted the seventh annual awards show.

Veteran drama club faculty advisor Michael Schwendemann and Dana Freed, who has handled costumes, props and set decorations for the fall and spring productions for many years were both beaming as the names of Ms. Shea and Mr. Jean-Gilles rang out across the theater.

“As always, a good time was had by all,” Mr. Schwendemann said. “The club loves to get dressed up and cheer on their classmates as well as cheer for their friends from other schools. It was great to see them be so supportive as well as witness the passing of the torch as senior Maddie Shea took home the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Play for various roles in The Laramie Project and freshman Robert Jean-Gilles received the nod for his performance as King Seximus in Once Upon a Mattress. The last four years have been fun, but as the seniors move on, the future certainly looks bright.”

Ms. Shea has been a mainstay on Huntington High School’s stage for many years. She is headed to Temple University in Philadelphia to study theatre. Mr. Jean-Gilles is a newcomer, but he’s been earning rave reviews since he was in the Woodhull Intermediate School drama club.

“It was astonishing,” said Mr. Jean-Gilles about winning a Hunting-Tony Award as a freshman. “I was so excited and I’m very happy about it. I’m planning on being in all six high school productions over the next three years.”

Huntington’s nominees in the drama category included:
• Best Supporting Actor: Keenan Lyons (multiple roles) – The Laramie Project
• Best Supporting Actor: Logan Rice (multiple roles) – The Laramie Project
• Best Supporting Actress: Maddie Shea (multiple roles) – The Laramie Project
• Best Supporting Actress: Jordan Biener (multiple roles) – The Laramie Project
• Best Technical Production: Huntington High School - The Laramie Project
• Best Play: Huntington High School - The Laramie Project

Huntington’s nominees in the musical category included:
• Best Lead Actress/Musical: Maddie Shea (Princess Winifried) – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Supporting Actor/Musical: Keenan Lyons (Sir Harry) – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Supporting Actress/Musical: Olivia Baldanza (Queen Aggravin) – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Featured Actor/Musical: Robert Jean-Gilles (King Sextimus) – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Featured Actress/Musical: Abby Semelsberger (Minstrel) – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Orchestra Pit: Huntington High School – Once Upon a Mattress
• Best Ensemble: Huntington High School – Once Upon a Mattress

Jordan Biener and Maddie Shea
Huntington acting royalty Jordan Biener and Maddie Shea are ready for the Hunting-Tony's.
Robert Jean-Gilles, Mike Schwendemann, Dana Freed and Maddie Shea
Robert Jean-Gilles, Mike Schwendemann, Dana Freed and Maddie Shea at the Hunting-Tony Awards.
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