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Skaneateles drama club receives multiple awards for ‘Phantom of the Opera’ production

Front row (L to R) - Michael Ranalli, Gabriella Whiting, & Nicholas Kochan; Ryan Terhune is standing, center back. Ranalli and Kochan received at Certificate of Achievement for Honorable Mention for Acting Partnership, and Whiting won the Cultural Resources Scholarship and received at Certificate of Achievement for Best Individual Female Performance in a Musical.

Front row (L to R) - Michael Ranalli, Gabriella Whiting, & Nicholas Kochan; Ryan Terhune is standing, center back. Ranalli and Kochan received at Certificate of Achievement for Honorable Mention for Acting Partnership, and Whiting won the Cultural Resources Scholarship and received at Certificate of Achievement for Best Individual Female Performance in a Musical.

— The Skaneateles High School Drama Club has won seven awards and scholarships for its recent production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic musical, “The Phantom of the Opera,” by the Michael Harms Theater Festival.

The festival, held Saturday, March 31, saw more than 200 students and 50 adults from five Central New York high schools and three community theater groups gather at Cayuga Community College in Auburn. This annual celebration of youths in theater is a combination of musical and dramatic theater performances, feedback, and professionally-led workshops for both young performers and behind-the-scenes artists and crew.

Eight groups participated in this year’s festival, with awards and scholarships presented for notable performances and technical work. The Skaneateles High School Drama Club was recognized for seven achievements, including the festival’s highest honor, the Award of Excellence, for its production of “The Phantom of the Opera,” directed by Michael Kringer.

Also awarded to Skaneateles students:

—Best Individual Female Performance in a Musical: Gabriella Whiting

—Best Individual Male Performance in a Musical: Daniel Kringer

—Honorable Mention for Acting Partnership: Nicholas Kochan and Michael Ranalli

—Technical Excellence in Sound: Doug Pinckney

—Technical Excellence in Stage Managing: Julianna Augustine

—Cultural Resources Scholarship: Gabriella Whiting

In addition to Skaneateles High School, other groups participating in this year’s festival were Auburn High School, Jamesville-DeWitt High School, La Joven Guardia del Teatro Latino, Manlius Pebble Hill School, The Media Unit, Oswego Children's Theater and Sherburne-Earlville High School Drama Club.

The Michael Harms Theater festival was created in 1976 to foster greater interest in theater work by students and teachers in secondary schools. The program has gained wide recognition as a theater experience of great educational value as well as creative fun. Students participate in skill-building workshops such as Movement for Actors, Improvisation, the Meisner Acting Technique, Lighting, Scenic Painting, and Special Effects Stage Makeup.

Rose Bonczek from Brooklyn College, Maria Marrero from Syracuse University, and Michael Barbour from Le Moyne College were the theater educators who provided constructive feedback to the student performances.

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