Last night I had the privilege of being an award presenter at the 13th annual Basie Awards at the Count Basie Center for the Arts. And one thing's for sure: There is so much great talent in high school theater in Monmouth County! Here are the winners:

The Basie Awards honor excellence in high school theater. Evaluators go to see every show that will potentially be nominated and then use their expertise along with their love, appreciation, and understanding of theater arts in Monmouth County to vote. It can't be an easy decision to choose who wins among such great talent!

The 2018 Basie Awards Participants were: Biotechnology HS, Christian Brothers Academy, Colts Neck HS, Communications HS, Freehold HS, Freehold Township HS, Henry Hudson Regional HS, High Technology HS, Howell HS, Keansburg HS, Keyport HS, Long Branch HS, Manalapan HS, Marlboro HS, Matawan Regional HS, Mater Dei Prep, Middletown HS South, Monmouth Regional HS, Neptune HS, Ocean Township HS, Ranney School, Raritan HS, Red Bank Catholic HS, Red Bank Regional HS, Rumson-Fair Haven Regional HS, Shore Regional HS, St. John Vianney HS, St. Rose HS, and Trinity Hall.

Here are the 2018 winners announced last night:

Outstanding Featured Male Performer: Matthew Curti – Mater Dei Prep – Les Misérables

Outstanding Featured Female Performer: Arianna Mubanda – Howell High School – Mary Poppins

Outstanding Costume Design in a Drama: Freehold Township High School – Boeing Boeing – Kim Richardson & Laura Cugini

Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical: Mater Dei Prep – Les Misérables – Peggy Baumgartner

Outstanding Chorus: (Tie) Red Bank Catholic High School – Thoroughly Modern Millie
Mater Dei Prep – Misérables

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama: Monmouth Regional High School – Ghosts – Dave Ahlers

Outstanding Lighting Design in a Musical: Marlboro High School – 1776 – Jim Lyle & Anthony Greco

Outstanding Set Design in a Drama: (Tie) Red Bank Catholic High School – Moon Over Buffalo – Carla Valentino
Howell High School – Twentieth Century – Stephen Kazakoff

Outstanding Set Design in a Musical: Freehold High School – Once Upon a Mattress – Kevin Gunther

Outstanding Choreography: Middletown High School South – Heathers – Jacqui Fischer

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama: Carmine Mastrokostas – Ranney School – The Killing Game

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama: Camille Pugliese – Middletown High School South – Pygmalion

Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Isabella Antoon – Shore Regional High School – The Wedding Singer

Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Ethan Black – Ocean Township High School – Bye Bye Birdie

Outstanding Featured Ensemble Group in a Musical: Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School – The Secret Garden – The Snake Charmers

Outstanding Musical Direction: (Tie) Christian Brothers Academy – Fiddler on the Roof – Matthew Anderson
Mater Dei Prep – Les Misérables – Cindy J. Dwyer 

Outstanding All Student Orchestra: Marlboro High School – 1776 – Patrick M. Dalton

Outstanding Student/Adult Orchestra: Long Branch High School – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee – Robert M. Clark

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama: Jacqueline Hennessy – Red Bank Catholic High School – Moon Over Buffalo

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama: Sean Gassaway – Howell High School – Twentieth Century

Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: (Tie) Julia Forsyth – Henry Hudson Regional High School – Little Women
Sarah Coleman – Red Bank Catholic High School – Thoroughly Modern Millie

Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Michael Guarino – Christian Brothers Academy – Fiddler on the Roof

Outstanding Direction in a Drama: Alana Herron – Red Bank Catholic High School – Moon Over Buffalo

Outstanding Direction in a Musical: Cindy J. Dwyer – Mater Dei Prep – Les Misérables

Outstanding Production - Drama: Linda Walling – Matawan Regional High School – Noises Off

Outstanding Production - Musical: Mater Dei Prep – Les Misérables – Cindy J. Dwyer