Students and educators alike were not prepared for this year when the school's performance of "Cats" garnered it a staggering nine nominations, including outstanding overall production of a musical.
"We've never had this many nominations all at once," said CHS Assistant Principal and show's producer Michael Healy. "It's really phenomenal. And this is the first year we're in the running for best musical."
The Paper Mill Playhouse created the Rising Star Awards as a way to commend exceptional talent in New Jersey high schools and have bestowed honors on former students who went on to achieve notoriety, including Anne Hathaway, Laura Benanti and Nikki M. Jones.
Almost 100 high schools compete to be honored each year in the categories of performance, direction, lighting, music, choreography, costuming and more.
Judges must be in complete agreement before a school becomes a final nominee. Columbia High is a final nominee in the following categories:
- Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical
- Outstanding Performance by a Chorus
- Outstanding Achievement by a Teacher or Outside Director
- Outstanding Achievement in Music Direction
- Outstanding Scenic Achievement
- Outstanding Lighting Achievement
- Outstanding Costuming Achievement
Outstanding Hair and Make-up Achievement
- The Educational Impact Award