By Connor Beach
The eighth annual Hunting-Tony Awards went off without a hitch on Monday night as the young stars of Huntington’s theater scene gathered at the John W. Engeman Theater in Northport for a glamour filled night of awards.
The Hunting-Tonys, sponsored by town councilmembers Mark Cuthbertson and Joan Cergol, recognized the best actors, actresses and supporting casts from the plays and musicals performed at each of the high schools across the Town of Huntington.
“Every day there are pages of newspaper articles written about the accomplishments of sports athletes, but we never see anything about celebrating the arts in schools,” Cuthbertson said. “The Hunting-Tony awards is their championship, and we are proud to recognize your talents.”
Cergol, who was hosting her first Hunting-Tonys, said, “To all of the people who worked so hard to put on these fantastic productions… all of you deserve enormous credit for what you did to get us here.”
The night started with a red carpet entrance for the student nominees, many wearing tuxedos and gowns, who stopped for interviews with Cergol and Cuthbertson in front of a paparazzi section of family and friends.
A total of 26 awards were handed out over the course of the evening in categories that recognized acting, singing, dance performances, stage crew, scenery, orchestra pits, costumes and technical productions.
The audience was also treated to live performances by several of the student thespians who took on the roles that had earned them a spot on the stage.
To begin the night Celia Spero, Jackson McGill, Julia DeVita, Madison Maiella, Matty Levenberg and Ty Ellenbogen presented “Pandemonium” from Harborfields’ performance of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.”
DeVita would go on to share the award for “Best Actress in a Musical” with Half Hollow Hills East’s Marley Jacobson.
“Best Actor in a Musical” went to Commack’s Adam Brett for his role as The Phantom in “The Phantom of the Opera,” while Aidan Mallon of Hills East won “Best Actor in a Play.”
Shelby Herling of Cold Spring Harbor won “Best Actress in a Play” and also performed “Change In Me” from her role as Belle in “Beauty and the Beast.”
In the final two awards of the night the coveted titles of “Best Play” went to Hills East for “The Crucible,” and Commack won “Best Musical” for “The Phantom of the Opera.”