More than a dozen local students have a new accolade to add to their résumés: Teeny Award winner.
The annual awards program from East End Arts celebrated the best in student theater Sunday evening at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center.
Five individual performers from North Fork high schools took home awards, and another 15 technical recognition honors were distributed to local crew members.
Southold High School senior Juliet Rand took home one of the top awards of the night with a tie for Lead Female in a Musical for playing Lady of the Lake in “Spamalot: The Socially Distant Concert-ish Version.” The production also received a Supporting Male in a Musical award for Quinn Bruer, who played three roles.
“This is such a great honor,” Juliet said of the award, which she shared with Longwood High School’s Angelina Milici. “I was so honored to share it with another amazing actress.”
Southold’s Isaiah Mraz, who performed a duet with Juliet during the awards ceremony, won for Supporting Male in a Play for the role of Corey in “Our Place.” Isaiah spoke of how appearing in a friend’s video sparked his love of acting.
“That’s what got me here,” Isaiah said, also thanking teachers, classmates and family.
Classmate Belle Penny won an individual award for Outstanding Poster Design for “Our Place.”
This year, high schools and their drama clubs faced unique challenges in navigating the COVID-19 pandemic. Instead of hosting the usual school plays and musicals, social distancing measures forced schools to be even more creative in how they staged productions. Because of that, East End Arts added a half-dozen new awards for musical revues and videos.
Throughout Sunday’s event, presenters marveled at how the students overcame adversity to still find ways to perform during the pandemic.
“I could not do this pandemic stuff, you guys killed it,” quipped presenter Andrina Wekontash Smith, a working actress and comedian who grew up on the Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton. Ms. Wekontash Smith presented the award for Supporting Female in a Play to Shelter Island High School’s Emma Martinez for playing Betty Sue in “It’s Always the Butler.”
Riverhead High School took home the new award for Best Group Performance for the song “Seize the Day” in its production of “Hope Rising.” Ethan Lucas, who will be pursuing theater beginning this the fall at University of Tampa, accepted the award on behalf of the Riverhead Blue Masques, saying “it was great for the past four years doing theater at Riverhead.”
Mattituck High School’s Camryn Trant won for Best Musical Performance in a Video for “Stupid with Love.” Camryn spoke of being speechless before thanking family for providing a necessary push toward performing.
The ceremony was hosted by Gianna Volpe of “Heart of the East End,” the morning show on WLIW, the East End’s NPR station. The event also featured a virtual component with some of the presenters appearing onscreen during a presentation that was live streamed on Facebook.