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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Students in West Orange High School’s Advanced Theater Program have won multiple awards and honors from the Speech and Theater Association of New Jersey and the New Jersey Thespian Festival.

STANJ is a statewide acting competition for various Governor’s Awards. This year’s event was held at Montclair State University on January 7.

Micah Morrison senior and sophomore Alyssa Nicholson Lewis of drama teacher Wendy Mapes’ senior stage studies class won second place in Dramatic Acting Pairs/Scenes. Senior Jack Harwood, the treasurer of the Drama Club, was a finalist in Contrasting Monologues. Senior Delia Kravits, one of the co-directors of the play “Tracks” in the Advanced Theater class, won fourth place in Musical Solos.

“I am very proud of my students for their achievement, but also for how this group of 50 theater students supported each other by participating in their individual events,” said Mapes. “The STANJ theater competition is very demanding and prepares students for the challenges of professional theatre. Congratulations to everyone who participated!”

Students from Advanced Theater and Thespian Society competed in the annual New Jersey Thespian Festival competition, held at Robbinsville High School on Jan. 8. as crew members and performers.

Students participated in the Chapter Select competition, a production run entirely by students of Mapes’ Advanced Theater Class, and members of Thespian Society competed in various theatrical categories. Seniors Madison Gough and Kravits directed the 40-minute one-act play, “Tracks,” by Peter Tarsi, and junior Allyssa Jules directed. The cast included seniors Harwood, Elena Hause, Morgan Lanzot Woodridge, Giancarlo Minervino, Ewan O’Sullivan, Cullen Smith, Rocio Urquia and Lance Zeligson, and juniors Nakhayla Green and Chloe Zucker.

Lanzot Woodridge, Minervino and Smith won Best Actor for their performances in “Tracks.” Lanzot Woodridge also won Best Comedian. Gough won an award for Contrasting Monologues and sKravits won an award for Musical Solo.

“Advanced theater students have been working on the play ‘Tracks’ since June 2022, when they selected, cast and cold-read the show,” Mapes said. “They spent the fall semester rehearsing the play and applying all the theatrical skills they learned to produce the show. Delia and Madison were excellent directors and spent a lot of time working on characters, directing and presence. Everyone in the class helped paint the set and put together the costumes. The Advanced Theater presented the show to friends and families in the Small Theater on January 6. These students are truly dedicated and I am very proud of them.

Photos courtesy of WOSD

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