Star-Studded Night At 2017 Hunting-Tonys

By David Weber

The Town of Huntington hosted Monday its seventh-annual Hunting-Tony Awards, a night honoring the stars of this school year’s high school theatrical productions.

The ceremony was held John W. Engeman Theater in Northport and hosted by town councilmembers Susan Berland and Mark Cuthbertson, both heavy supporters of the performing arts.

“It is my hope that this ceremony helps to celebrate and recognize the dedication, talent, and hard work exhibited by all involved students,” Cuthbertson said. “There is an immense effort put into each and every show.”

Berland said she was honored to recognize the hard work the students put into their craft.

“The talented performances in this year’s productions were a testament to their dedication and commitment,” she added.

After meeting the hosts on the red carpet for an interview, nominees, many dressed in tuxedos and gowns, stopped by the theater lobby archway as ecstatic parents and friends snapped photos.

A total of 128 nominations were handed out in 25 award categories, each highlighting the best acting performances, stage crews, orchestras, and costumes from students of the nine public high schools across town.

A medley from Walk Whitman’s production of “Aida” was sung by Ifedayo Balogun, Sam Hoffman, and Lauren Giglio. Balogun later won “Best Female Vocalist” amid roaring cheers from the audience.

Matt Fisher, of Commack, and Maddie Shea, of Huntington, took home the awards for “Best Supporting Actor in a Play” and “Best Supporting Actress in a Play” respectively, while John H. Glenn’s Terrence Sheldon and Harborfields’ Nikki Balducci snagged the awards for “Best Supporting Actor in a Musical” and “Best Supporting Actress in a Musical.”

Half Hollow Hills High School West’s “Biloxi Blues” earned three awards, “Best Scenery in a Play,” “Best Stage Crew in a Play,” and “Best Play.”

Noah Marcus then gave a strong performance of “Stranger,” a song from Hills West’s production of “Big Fish,” which landed him a nomination for “Best Male Vocalist.” That category was ultimately won by Commack’s Adam Brett.

Half Hollow Hills High School East’s production of “The Addams Family” was awarded for “Best Orchestra Pit,” and led to Ashley Gomerman’s “Best Featured Actress in a Musical” win for her role as “Alice Beineke.”

Commack’s “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and Northport’s “Seussical” were awarded “Best Costumes in a Play” and “Best Costumes in a Musical” respectively.

“Best Dance Performance,” meanwhile, went to Walt Whitman’s “Aida.”

Lexie Spelman and Felipe Gonzales, who played the roles of Jan and Roger from John H. Glenn’s production of “Grease” sang a powerful version of the comedic hit, “Mooning.”

The night concluded with a performance of “The Rain in Spain” from Commack’s “My Fair Lady,” which took home awards for “Best Ensemble in a Musical” and “Best Technical Production in a Musical.”

The award for “Best Musical” was won by Harborfields’ “Guys and Dolls.”

Editor's note: A caption in the print version of
this story mistakenly identified the cast of

Harborfields High School's “Guys and Dolls.” 
A corrected version of the caption appears in the gallery above.