Students from Greenport, Mattituck, Riverhead and Southold high schools all received awards at the 21st Annual Teeny Awards at Longwood High School on Sunday.

East End Arts, a Riverhead-based arts and music nonprofit, hosts an annual event, modeled after the Tony Awards, that highlights outstanding efforts on stage and behind the scenes that make high school plays and musicals possible. The event brings together members of various Long Island communities to celebrate their students and highlight the importance of the arts in the lives of young people.

This year, instead of male and female categories for leading and supporting actors in dramas, musical comedies and musicals, nominees of all genders appeared in each of the six categories, with two winners selected in each category By.

Southold students Michaela Lynch and Violet Rand each won a Supporting Actor Award for their roles as Annie and Taylor in “The Play That Goes Wrong.”

Several Teeny winners tearfully delivered heartfelt speeches, including Michaela, who, behind her work on the school musical Elf, said she was encouraged to test her dramatic talents in the school play. She thanked some of her teachers and then her parents, who were instrumental in guiding her to victory on Sunday.

“They supported me a few years ago when I was going through a really tough time,” Michael said. “If it wasn’t for them, I don’t think I’d ever have the confidence to do it.”

Michaela Lynch and Violet Rand embraced onstage at the 2023 Teen Awards after winning two awards for supporting roles in a drama. (Image credit: Nicolas Grasso)

Among the hundreds in attendance were Violet’s grandmother, Ronnie Matovcik, and her grandfather, Jerry Matovcik, who drove her to dance practice as a child.

“It’s always exciting to see these young people being nominated for these awards for everything from producing, singing, dancing, costumes, ensembles, etc.,” said Mr. Matovcik. “Now that our granddaughter is graduating, it’s a really special moment for us.”

Before Sunday, it was announced that Southhold High School’s ensemble “The Play That Goes Wrong” was tied for this year’s Judges’ Choice Award with Center Moriches High School, who were recognized by Elvis for their performance of “Jailhouse Rock” Presley Automatic Points Turntable Musical “All Shook Up”.

Sunday’s ceremony featured high school students from across Suffolk taking to the stage to perform musical tracks from the nominated shows and comedy sketches written for the show, including Southhold’s production of “Elf” and Mattituck Track from the High School’s 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”

Minutes before taking the stage to perform “Song I Love You” from “Spelling Bee,” Camryn Trant surprised her with an award for Outstanding Performer in a Musical for her portrayal of Mitch Mahoney and Olive’s mom.

Riverhead High School’s Avery Rubino won a leading role in a musical comedy for his performance as Dee Dee Allen in “The Prom.” Fighting back tears, she shared what she’s accomplished as an actress as her high school career draws to a close, and thanked her family, peers and those behind the scenes of the musical.

“About two years ago, I experienced the worst stage fright of my life,” she said. “So it’s such an honor to receive this award.”

Cast members of Riverhead High School’s “The Prom” perform at the 2023 Teen Awards. (Image credit: Nicolas Grasso)

Towards the end of the evening, Teeny Awards organizer Kasia Klimiuk took the stage to announce that the two winners of the $500 Long Island Musical Theater Festival Scholarship will attend an intensive two-week musical theater course where they will learn from Broadway artists.

Jayda Hubbard, a sophomore at Greenport High School, was one of more than 60 technical recognition recipients for their behind-the-scenes efforts in 15 plays and 22 musicals presented this school year, when Klimiuk She was shocked when Ms. invited her on stage to be the first winner. Like many of her peers that night, Jada was overwhelmed, but eventually found them to share what her time on stage meant to her.

“This year, [with] ‘Grease’ gives me a chance to showcase my bubbly personality and be the kind person I strive to be,” she said.

For a complete list of Teeny Award winners, click here.

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