Hopewell Valley Central High School’s 2017 fall play, Picnic had an incredible run this awards season. Last November, the cast and crew put on three memorable performances, including a matinee for Hopewell Valley senior citizens, in the HVCHS Performing Arts Center.
In January, a selection from Picnic was performed at the New Jersey Thespian Festival, where it won the top award for “Best Chapter Select Presentation”, as well as a Best Actor award for Donovan Kazakoff as Hal Carter, and a Best Supporting Actress award for Lily Rutman as Rosemary Sydney. Winning the NJ Thespian Chapter Select Award made the HVCHS production of Picnic eligible to perform at the International Thespian Festival in June. Additionally, in recognition of this award, HVCHS and Picnic will be added to the permanent NJ Thespian plaque listing the history of NJ “Best Chapter Select Presentation” winners. This is the first time that HVCHS has won this award.
Following the show’s success at the NJ Thespian Festival, Picnic, directed by HVCHS’s Director of Theatre, Katie Rochon, was nominated for six NJ “Foxy” Awards, which are given out by Montclair State University Theatre Night Awards. The ceremony was held on May 14 at Montclair State University where the cast of Picnic won the 2018 Foxy Award for “Best Dramatic Ensemble”, and Madeline Carleton, who plays Millie Owens in the play, received the award for “Best Supporting Actress”.
Just one week later, the cast and student stage managers of Picnic were the recipients of the 2018 New Jersey Governor’s Award in Arts Education for “Best Chapter Select Play”. The ceremony, held in the Patriots Theater at the War Memorial in Trenton, honored exemplary commitment to excellence in high school arts statewide. Picnic cast members Donovan Kazakoff and Camille Ladendorf were selected to present part of a scene from the HVCHS production on stage at the Patriot Theater during the ceremony. When awards were presented, the cast and stage managers of Picnic were individually recognized. Each HVCHS student was called to the stage to receive a medal and a certificate of citation from the State of New Jersey.
Next up for this talented group is a trip to Lincoln, Nebraska at the end of June to perform Picnic at the International Thespian Festival. What a year it has been for this amazing HVCHS production of Picnic and especially for the large group of HVCHS students who worked hard together to make Picnic so successful!