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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.”

Sep 232012
 

Alli Kramer, front left, was thrilled to perform on the Broadway stage.

Tonight, at 8 p.m., CPTV features the final installment of its three-part documentary “Broadway or Bust,” a behind the scenes look at the National High School Musical Awards that took place last June.

Among the 60 High School performers, PBS chose to feature about 10 of them, including Orange resident, Amity Grad, Alli Kramer, 17.

I sat with Alli in her kitchen before she departed for the week-long opportunity of a lifetime and heard about her worries about not being a dancer and all the butterflies she felt about different aspects of her upcoming experience.

When she returned from the show, we talked again and she shared her feelings about the 10 hour days, the dancing and the song she was given to sing.

Alli is now studying for her first college semester in Ireland. Last week, after the premiere of Broadway or Bust, she was floored to learn that she has her own celebrity profile page on TV Guide.com 

In tonight’s episode, see who made the cut as the judges choose their six finalists and watch these wildly talented kids perform on Broadway at the Minskoff Theater — the home of “The Lion King.” Then hang around to see which two won the competition.

Enjoy the show, you’re lucky enough to be able to see it. Alli hasn’t had a chance, since she’s in Ireland.

Sep 162012
 

Alli Kramer in “Broadway or Bust”

Tonight, at 8 p.m., CPTV features the second installment of its three-part documentary “Broadway or Bust,” a behind the scenes look at the National High School Musical Awards that took place last June.

Among the 60 High School performers, PBS chose to feature about 10 of them, including Orange resident, Amity Grad, Alli Kramer, 17.

I sat with Alli in her kitchen before she departed for the week-long opportunity of a lifetime and heard about her worries about not being a dancer and all the butterflies she felt about different aspects of her upcoming experience.

When she returned from the show, we talked again and she shared her feelings about the 10 hour days, the dancing and the song she was given to sing.

Alli is now studying for her first college semester in Ireland. Last week, after the premiere of Broadway or Bust, she was floored to learn that she has her own celebrity profile page on TV Guide.com 

Tonight’s episode is Broadway boot camp and the exhausting hours talented actors and actresses must endure to make it on the Great White Way.

Sep 092012
 

Back to brunette, Alli Kramer is now in Ireland.

It’s been an incredible year for Alexandra “Alli” Kramer of Orange.

She starred in the Amity High School Musical “Legally Blonde,” then was nominated AND WON Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a High School Musical in Connecticut, which gave her the opportunity of a lifetime, going to New York City and training for the National High School Musical Awards with some of the Biggest Names on Broadway.

She then performed on a Broadway Stage.

The entire time a film crew from PBS was following Alli and 59 other amazing high school performers during their dream week.

Of the 60 students, PBS chose 10 performers to highlight in its’ mini-series “Broadway or Bust.” which airs tonight at 8 p.m. and Alli is one of them. The series will continue on the 16th and the final show will be the 23rd.

Alli is in Galway, Ireland for the first semester of college. She said she’d be looking for a television tonight.

Jun 262012
 

Rehearsing for the National High School Musical Theater Awards Show.

Over the past three years we’ve followed Orange resident Alli Kramer grow into a fine singer and actress.

In 2010 she won our hearts and attention with her portrayal of Eponine in Les Miserables. That year she was nominated for the outstanding supporting actress honor at the CT High School Musical Awards. (Amity’s Kim Simon won the title for her over-the-top portrayal of Mdme. Thenardier).

In 2011 she learned a bit of Hungarian for her role as Hunyak, a death row convict in the musical Chicago.

This year Alli threw herself into the role as Elle Woods, gradually dying and highlighting her brunette hair until she was just the right shade of blonde for this year’s musical “Legally Blonde.”

Alli was nominated for the Outstanding Actress award at the CT High School Musical Awards and was surprised when she won the title.

As the best actress in CT,  Alli won the opportunity to work with Broadway’s best choreographers, vocal coaches and directors in preparation for the National High School Musical Awards Show which took place on Monday evening at the Minskoff Theater on Broadway.

Last night 60 talented teens from across the USA stepped onto the stage that is home to “The Lion King” to sing, dance, and charm their way into the judge’s hearts.

Alli and 29 other girls competed for the best female award, she did not make it into the final three, but, as she most likely will say when we sit down together later this week, it is an honor to be nominated.

Congratulations Alli Kramer for making it to the Nationals and wowing the sold out crowd at the Minskoff Theater.

Amity Theater Director Robert Kennedy said, “Alli was wonderful.”

He added that the final three, “Were great, and all deserving of the honor.”

 

 

 

Jun 222012
 

Alli Kramer of Orange

On Wednesday afternoon, I sat in Alli Kramer’s kitchen as she prepared to leave for a 6-day trip to New York City.

Alli, an Amity Senior, whose private graduation ceremony I attended on Monday, was named the best actress in Connecticut at the CT High School Musical Theater Awards this year.

Along with the title came the honor of training with New York’s best coaches in preparation for the National High School Musical Awards Show on Broadway this coming Monday.

Her father, Richard made sure she knew where her newly printed Resumes and business cards were and he gave her a warm hug and wished her well before he went to work.

She put on a sliver heart pendant with a pink jewel that Andrea and Rob Kennedy gave her and chuckled. “I never really wore pink before this play,” she said.

Mom, Ilene, came home with the freshly groomed family dog, Bentley, and went over the last minute to-do list.

Alli greeted Bentley, then made a sandwich for the car trip into the city.

She said she was excited and a little nervous about the Nationals and did not know exactly what to expect in the 12-hour days that she’ll spend with the 29 other best actor and actress winners from across the country.

Alli will perform on stage in chorus numbers with other contestants, but if she is chosen as a finalist, she will  have the opportunity to sing a solo number before the sold-out audience at the Minskoff Theater.

If she wins the Nationals, she will receive a $20,000 scholarship to the Tisch School of the Arts and a check for $10,000.

She already looks forward to attending Northeastern University in Boston, and studying a semester abroad at the Dublin School of Business starting in August.

Orange Live will be at the Minskoff Theater to cheer Alli on this Monday. Stay tuned for the outcome later that evening.

 

Jun 062012
 

 

Sophia Gall "Paulette" in a memorable scene on the Palace Theater stage.

The 2012 Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards presentations at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on Monday yielded many surprises for Amity High School, including the fact that OUR “Paulette” Sophia Gall did not win Outstanding Supporting Actress, but the “Paulette” from East Lyme High School walked away with the prize.

Our dynamic chorus was beaten by Valley Regional High School’s “Titanic” cast.

But, enough sour grapes on my part, call me biased (I am) — then again, I did not see all the other shows like the adjudicators, so what do I know. Seriously! were they sleeping when Sophia was on stage?

Back to the show and what we did get.

Stage Manager Sloane Churchill did receive a trophy for Outstanding Student Achievement.

And our Amity Superintendent John Brady, who attended the show to support the Amity Creative Theater Program found his way up on stage two times.

The CHSMT organizers asked if he would present an award, and he said he was happy to do that.

Brady was surprised when Sophia Gall, whom he felt was a shoe in for the award, did not win in her category. “Not to take anything away from the girl who won, but I just think that Sophia was over the top,” he said.

Amity Supt. John Brady, accepts the President's Award.

He was even more surprised when he was called to the stage to receive his own award that evening. The recipient of the President’s Award went to Brady in recognition for his overwhelming support for the arts at Amity.

Parent Russ Adair captured the moment on video.

For Amity, the most rewarding part of the evening was when the second to the last award was announced and Amity senior Alli Kramer’s name was called.

The Palace Theater erupted in thunderous applause as everyone, including ALL of the other students from competing high schools rose to their feet for Connecticut’s number one actress in a musical.

Brady said he was ecstatic when Alli Kramer won the top prize for Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role. “Having seen all of the nominees, to me, Alli was the performer who had it all — she danced, she sang, she had a presence — She had it all, and, being biased toward Amity, I think the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards got it right by selecting Alli Kramer,” he said. “To me she was the most deserving. All the other nominees did a fantastic job, but Alli stood out.”

Alli Kramer is the Best High School Actress in CT

Alli and the amazing best actor winner, Shevance Stephens, who portrayed Coalhouse in the Regional Center for the Arts production of Ragtime, will accompany chaperone Robert Kennedy (from Amity) to New York City for a week long experience of a lifetime, training with Broadway choreographers, vocal coaches and directors with the best of the best from across the nation.

The week culminates into a performance on a Broadway stage for the National High School Musical Awards.

11 nominations – 2 wins — I can’t say the evening was a complete disappointment.

Jun 052012
 

 

Alli "Elle Woods" Kramer shines at the Palace Theater in Waterbury.

History repeated itself at the Connecticut High School Musical Theater Awards with an Amity High School senior going head to head with another student for the top award after being nominated for playing the same role and performing the same song at the awards show.

In 2010 John Jorge went up against another Jean Valjean (Les Miserables) and walked away with the Outstanding Actor Honor. He went on to be a finalist in the National High School Musical Awards in New York City.

This year, Amity’s Alli Kramer was pitted against another “Elle Woods” (Legally Blonde) and walked away with the Outstanding Actress Award. She will be going to New York City to train with professional Coaches and choreographers just like John Jorge did and then she will compete in the National High School Musical Awards, performing on a Broadway Stage.

The only downside to being so awesome is that, like Jorge, Alli will not be able to attend her high school graduation, because she will be training for the nationals while her classmates are donning their caps and gowns.

Congratulations Alli. I am SO proud of you.  It’s like I told you before the show. The full “wishing moon” was shining on you and the night was yours. I knew you were the best this year. never a doubt.

You will be amazed at everything you experience in New York. I’ll see you there.

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