Pierson Teeny Awards Nominees, Plus Surprise Contest Results, Are Announced

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Thomas Lawton and Reilly Rose Schombs in "The Wedding Singer" in spring 2019. Rick Gold photo

In typical Pierson High School fashion, quite a few student actors have been nominated for Teeny Awards by the nonprofit organization East End Arts — and two of them have received nominations for the Roger Rees Awards, a next-level competition recognizing students in the greater New York area.

The Teeny Award nominations span school districts as far west as Longwood and Bellport, and will culminate in a June 9 awards show at Southold High School. On top of that, Pierson musical theater director Bethany Dellapolla kept the Roger Rees competition evaluation a secret for several months.

The seven student producers of “13 the Musical,” which Pierson performed in September, shared the Judges’ Choice Award with the cast of a Longwood High School production. The Pierson students, Anna Francesca Schiavoni, Ella Knibb, Graham DiLorenzo, Yanni Bitis, Reilly Rose Schombs, Eva Doyle and Thomas Lawton, rallied a group of theater students over the summer as a project for their International Baccalaureate coursework. The Teeny Award judges noted, “The final product was a spectacular feat.”

For performances in the fall play, “Don’t Drink the Water,” and the spring musical, “The Wedding Singer,” a number of the same students received recognition.

Yanni and Graham were nominated for “Lead Male in a Play,” and Anna and Reilly were nominated for “Lead Female in a Play.” Dylan Kruel was nominated for “Supporting Male in a Play,” and Lola Lama was nominated for “Supporting Female in a Play.”

Yanni also earned a “Supporting Male in a Musical” nod, while Lola and Anna earned “Supporting Female in a Musical” nominations. Eva Doyle was honored twice in the “Supporting Female in a Musical” category, once for “13” and once for “The Wedding Singer.”

For “Outstanding Performer in a Play or Musical,” Ava DiLorenzo earned a nomination for her performance in “Don’t Drink the Water” and Thomas John Schiavoni Jr. earned one for both his performances in “13” and “The Wedding Singer.”

Eva received recognition in the “Outstanding Choreography” category for a dance number she created for “13.” Gianna Ekstra received a nod for her artwork for “The Wedding Singer” in the “Outstanding Playbill and Poster Design” category.

Ryan Brown, Emily Hallock and Lucas Woelk received nods in the “Technical Recognition Honorees” category.

Thomas and Reilly were the two students who emerged as Roger Rees Awards nominees after judges for that competition evaluated an entire cast performance. Ms. Dellapolla entered the school in the contest several months ago. Reilly and Thomas, who were among 50 nominees, will take part in a day of master classes with Broadway professionals and perform solos and a group number before the winners are announced.

“I think what inspired me to apply for the award was really the students, and wanting to continue building the program for them,” Ms. Dellapolla said of the entire cast. “I stumbled across the awards one day when I was researching, and thought it was a fantastic opportunity, and so I signed us up.”

Of Reilly and Thomas, she said, they “are so deserving. From the beginning to the end, they worked so hard on this musical, and it showed. On top of that, they are just wonderful people — kind, supportive, genuine, funny, positive, dependable, smart — can’t say enough good things.”

Thomas said “it’s pretty crazy, pretty wild” to be among the Roger Rees nominees. “I’m really excited to see the kids’ passion because all of them have worked really hard for this, including Reilly and myself. It’s going to be a tangible thing, almost, that will make us perform better as well as love the craft more,” he said.

Reilly called it “incredible.”

“We’ve talked a lot about how we do theater for the art and the fun of it, but when the opportunity comes for your talent, hard work and passion to be recognized, that’s really special,” she said.

From left, Yanni Bitis, Reilly Rose Schombs, Graham DiLorenzo, Thomas Lawton, Anna Francesca Schiavoni, Eva Doyle and Ella Knibb have teamed up to produce an entire musical at Pierson. Christine Sampson photo

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