Jun 062013

Peter Charney accepting his Best Supporting Actor Award.

Peter Charney accepting his Best Supporting Actor Award.

I still remember the first time I saw Peter Charney. I was working as Editor of the Amity Observer newspaper, attending the Flag Day ceremony on the Town Green in Orange.

This little 7-year-old boy gets up in front of everyone and in a very strong voice flawlessly sang the Star Spangled Banner. I instantly became a fan.

When he became a freshman at Amity High School, I knew that with their theater and other performing arts programs, he would have a home on the Amity stage.

It didn’t matter if he was in the chorus or a bit role with one line, Peter would catch the audience’s attention the second he came into the spotlight.

As a Nazi Youth in “Then They Came For Me,” just his presence gave you chills when you realized that there were thousands of kids like that during WWII.

We also saw him in “Les Miserables,” “Bang Bang You’re Dead.”showing off his juggling skills in “Chicago,” and bigger roles in “Almost, Maine,” “Legally Blonde,” starring in the heart-wrenching “Whose Life Is It Anyway?” and then his amazing award winning performance in “Sweeney Todd.”

I think it’s obvious that everyone loves Peter. He’s not only super talented, but professional beyond his years, smart and kind.

Peter justly won the Jamie Hulley Scholarship this year, which pays the same amount toward his college tuition for four years.

He will be studying theater at Hofstra University in the Fall.

This is one young man who will be going places. I predict that he will have a Tony Award by the time he’s 30. Theater is in his blood. Performing comes naturally to him and he is convincing in whatever role you put him in. With so many talents, he can do anything…and he does everything well.

After Amity Grad Alli Kramer announced his name as Outstanding performance by an actor in a supporting role at this year’s CT High School Musical Theater Awards gala at the Palace Theater in Waterbury, Peter made an eloquent speech with his fellow actors and actresses in mind.

He said, “First of all I’d like to thank my family, friends and the entire team behind this production. No matter what anyone says, we created something beautiful. I’m proud of all of you.

I think the wonderful thing about high school theater is  that there’s so much energy. it’s vibrant, it’s exciting, and incredibly memorable.

What we do as theater people is special. We tell stories, create dreams and inspire the next group of young people to believe in the magic of what we do.

Thank you to all the teachers and directors for what you do. And to all of the underclassmen out there, cherish these moments. What you are experiencing now is like nothing else in the world.

Finally I would like to thank my friend Kevin Gray who hosted this event last year, who recently passed away. [Kevin Gray was a Broadway actor who died on Feb. 11, 2013]

Kevin you touched and inspired so many people, probably without even knowing.

So, thank you very much, have a great night everyone.”

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