By NYASHA HOLLEY
This past year, Cumberland County College’s production of Les Misérables was recognized for an abundance of musical theatre awards. These include Perry Award nominations for lead actress, supporting actor, outstanding youth actor, props, scenic design, outstanding musical direction, and outstanding production of a musical. The elaborate performance ended up taking home the title for outstanding production of a musical. Nicole Corigliano, who played the role of “Fantine” won her first Perry award for “outstanding lead actress in a musical.”
The Perry Awards are presented by the NJACT (New Jersey Association of Community Theaters). Named in honor of William Perry Morgan – director, composer, actor, and musician – the awards recognize outstanding achievement in community theater.
To be considered for a Perry Award, members of the NJACT send in their productions and NJACT reviewers attend each show. When asked if the awards serve as motivation for the cast, Deborah Bradshaw, CCC’s Theatre Program Director, expressed her gratitude and the honor she felt for the nine nominations. “Ultimately, I am more concerned about how I feel about the work I have done and for me, the process offers the most rewards.”
The awards didn’t stop there. Bradshaw says that after meeting with a reviewer for “Broadwayworld.com” at their production of Les Misérables, she became a fan of the production. The show was placed on “Broadwayworld.com’s” list of top 10 shows of 2013 in the South Jersey/Philly area. It was also named Best Musical in New Jersey in the non-equity category this past November.
The process of winning a “Broadwayworld” award differs slightly from the process of winning a Perry award. A reviewer comes out to see the show, adjudicates the performances, and a viewer voting poll takes place.
In an article on Broadwayworld.com, writer Pati Buehlar raves about the performance saying, “Bradshaw and her co-creators pulled in all the elements of a nothing short of a quality Broadway caliber Le Miz. There is nothing held back in the staging department as this director not only opted for a revolving stage but also a respectable looking three piece barricade that allows the audience to view the fight scene and death scenes from an impressive prospective.”
Bradshaw has been awarded quite a few awards of her own during the span of her career as a director. She says that any and all awards that she has received are special to her and that it is an honor to be recognized. From the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival, she was awarded the “Excellence in Directing Distinction” which she points out as a highlight. When she was in graduate school at New York University, she was presented with the Dr. Rhonda Ormont Award, a scholarship. “That was unexpected and still means a great deal to me.” Bradshaw says. “That moment will always be with me.”