Newark students win at arts celebration
Students recognized for ‘Anatomy of Gray’ and ‘The Addams Family’ productions
Brenda Pittman
It was an outstanding night for Newark High School as it walked away with 10 Elenbe awards from the 21st annual Wayne County Performing Arts Celebration.
Six awards went to Newark’s fall drama, “Anatomy of Gray,” with the other four connected to its spring musical, “The Addams Family.” Emily Howard directed both productions.
“The Addams Family” won best musical production. Senior Joe Goodman was named runner-up in the best actor category for his role as “Gomez,” senior Mara Cornwell won featured performer for her role as “Grandma” and Newark Middle School seventh-grader Cody Acquista won featured performer for his role as “Pugsley.”
“Anatomy of Gray” was the runner-up for the best drama production. Senior Ian MacTaggart won best lead actor in a drama for his portrayal as “Dr. Galen Gray,” Goodman won best actor in a supporting role in a drama for as “Pastor Phineas Winfield,” senior Jacob Lindberg won runner-up for best actor in supporting role in a drama as “Crutch Collins” and senior Shelby Cramer won runner-up for best actress in a leading role in a drama for her portrayal of “June Muldoon.”
Cramer won best dramatic production poster for “Anatomy of Gray.”
“Newark is proud to participate in a program that recognizes high school theater in Wayne County,” Howard said. “It takes a special kind of commitment and dedication to be a part of a theatrical production. I am overwhelmingly proud of both Newark’s productions this year: ‘Anatomy of Gray’ and ‘The Addams Family.’”
Howard shared her thoughts about the winners after the event.
“Joe Goodman was a leader for us in both productions,” she said. “Never one to shy away from a challenge, Joe played two larger-than-life characters this year that left a lasting impression.
“Ian MacTaggart, if given the choice, would rather play comedic roles, but found real humanity in the character of Dr. Gray. He connected with his scene partners to lead the cast in ‘Anatomy of Gray.’
“Shelby Cramer took on a challenging role in the drama and found some great connections with her fellow actors. She also lent her artistic talents to her winning poster design.
“Jacob Lindberg took a supporting role and played it with thoughtfulness and maturity. I loved the relationship he formed with the community within Gray, Indiana.
“Mara Cornwell has a special quality that happens when the stage lights hit her. She was able to really dig in and find a quirky character that audiences loved.
“Joe, Jacob, Ian, Shelby and Mara are all seniors this year, which made their recognition extra special.
“Cody Acquista stepped up as a seventh-grader in our high school musical. His singing voice really impressed us, and I can’t wait to see what the future holds for him as a performer.”
“It was an exciting night for both the cast and crew of ‘Anatomy of Gray’ and ‘The Addams Family.’ I feel so fortunate to work with the students at Newark High School. I am very grateful that our musical production team includes Mrs. Kate Flock, Mr. Bob Humphrey and Mrs. Mary Lou Bonnell. Our students are extremely lucky to have a wonderful foundation of music education from their ensemble and individual work with these teachers.
“We have a growing group of volunteers that work with our students to build and paint sets and costumes. It truly is a team effort. I am thankful for the network of support we receive from the Newark school administration and our community audience members. Theater creates special bonds within the cast and crew. That is the secret ingredient to any successful show. Receiving recognition is like the cherry on top to an already frosted cake. The real treat is creating art together.”
Elenbe awards are given out each spring to students and directors involved in musical and dramatic productions in 10 Wayne County schools. Judges in the contest are Wayne County Council For the Arts members who attend every performance.
Bonnie Evangelist, WCCA vice president and treasurer, presented an award to Sue Bacon for her longstanding service as a coordinator of the judges for the Elenbe awards.
Before the awards presentation, five- to six-minute vignettes from the various musical and dramatic productions were performed in the NHS auditorium.
Don Alhart served as master of ceremonies. Flock and Robert Schick, chairman and CEO of Lyons Bancorp Inc. and Lyons National Bank, which has sponsored the program since the beginning, assisted with the awards presentation onstage.