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Arts & Culture

Applauding young talent: Parkland and William Allen students among those nominated for Freddy Awards

Freddy Awards.jpg
Freddy Awards
Theater students from Parkland and Liberty high schools are competing in the FREDDY Awards on Thursday, May 25.

EASTON, Pa. — Think of it as the Tony Awards for Lehigh Valley high schoolers.

  • The Freddy Awards recognizes achievements in high school musical productions
  • The ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 25 at the State Theater of the Arts
  • Several Lehigh and Northampton students from Parkland, William Allen, Liberty and Freedom high schools are up for awards

Hundreds of local thespians are competing in the Freddy Awards on Thursday, May 25.
The ceremony will take place at 7 p.m. at the State Theater of the Arts and will also be broadcasted and streamed on WFMZ Channel 69 News.

The Freddys program was created by the State Theatre in 2003 to recognize excellence in high school musical theater.

    An estimated 30 schools from Lehigh and Northampton counties and Warren County, New Jersey, put on spring shows and musicals.

    Stealing the show

    Leading the schools in nominations is Parkland High School’s production of “Rogers and Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!” which has 16 — including the outstanding performing actress in a lead role, outstanding performing actor in a lead role and outstanding overall production.

    "Oklahoma's production staff and I are honored that the cast, crew and orchestra have been recognized with so many Freddy nominations. Their hard work, dedication and talent [have] been evident throughout this process and we are so proud of them," said Parkland's theater director Lori Colacito.

    "This is my first year with Parkland High School and first time experiencing the excitement of the Freddy Awards. No matter what happens, we are thrilled with being recognized and honored to be representing Parkland School District."

    Leading acts

    A handful of schools have nominations in multiple categories such as William Allen in Allentown for its production of "Little Shop of Horrors."

    Seniors Eli Mercedes (Seymour) and Nico Rodriguez (Audrey) are nominated for outstanding performance by an actor and actress in a leading role, respectively.

    The upcoming graduates will attend Northampton Community College and will major in theater.

    "It was a pleasure working with not only these two young actors but the entire cast. This cast understood the importance of embracing the note," John T. Sechler, theater director at William Allen said.

    Mercedes was recently awarded Outstanding Theater Student for the 2022-23 school year and recipient of the Allentown Arts Ovation Award on May 11, which happened to coincide with his 18th birthday.

    "I look forward to [seeing] their accomplishments in the world," Sechler said.

    Bangor Area High School "Anastasia" stars Andrew Spagnola (Dmitry) and Elizabeth Rutt (Anastasia) are also nominated for outstanding performance by an actor and actress in a leading role.

    Outstanding productions

    Bangor's "Anastasia" is also up for outstanding overall production of a musical award, along with Emmaus ("Fiddler on the Roof"), Freedom ("Disney's Beauty and the Beast") and Southern Lehigh ("Rock of Ages").

    Some smaller schools are recognized for their musicals as well, including Allentown Central Catholic ("Godsell: 2021 Revised Version"), Belvidere ("Urinetown"), Hackettstown ("Pippin"), Moravian Academy ("The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee"), Saucon Valley ("Mary Poppins") and Wilson Area ("Pippin").

    For a complete list of the nominees, click here.