RHS wins three Halo Awards

Ridgefield High School’s theatre program walked away with three wins at last week’s Halo Awards ceremony held in Waterbury’s Seven Angels Theater.

RHS took home the Best Orchestra prize for Pippin, with the show’s conductor — director of the school’s concert and jazz band Michael McNamara — accepting the award.

As for the students, Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Classical Musical for Tyler Carey’s performance as Pippin in Pippin, and the Best Standout Performance in an Ensemble Play for Sarah Thorn as Daria Chase in The Game’s Afoot or Holmes for the Holidays.

In total, Ridgefield received 20 nominations for its year-long programming.

“I think being nominated was such an exciting part of the entire process. I think that is where I got the gratification for the show, for what I did and all the hard work. Winning was just the cherry on top, and a great way to end my senior year,” Carey told The Press last week. “Other nominated RHS students had similar thoughts, saying that the prize sat in the recognition of a successful show.”

High school senior Aidan Meachem, who was nominated for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Musical, said that awards are not the goal of performing, but they do function as a way to show that the effort students put into a show does not go unnoticed.

Fellow senior Sarah Ford, who was nominated for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Classical Musical, agreed.

“The real gift was performing with my best friends in a dream role,” she said. “Getting nominated feels like validation that the show really was as spectacular as it felt.”

Red carpet treatment

The night isn’t only about the awards, but the entire experience, according to Thorn.

“It’s a gorgeous theater, it’s very ornate, and they have a red carpet set out too. They treat it like it’s a really big deal,” she said. “No one boos, everyone cheers for all the other schools when they win, it is a very nice crowd.”

The night features performances from the nominated shows, thunderous applause, and the gathering of a close community.

“There are so many people that you meet in the theater community in Connecticut, so many teachers. It’s amazing the connections that the Halos bring. There is a massive comradery to it,” said Carey. “It’s nice to look and see that all of these people are here to support this thing that we are trying to keep together, which is arts in high school and education. In CT it is super connected, and that really shows at the Halos.”

Stage future

For many of the seniors in the RHS theater community, the Halos wrapped up a year of successful — yet stressful — moves toward a future in the theater business.

“I think at RHS specifically, my grade, there are 10 or so of us, all seniors, that are graduating, that are going into the business, and that is pretty unique for a grade,” Thorn said. “It’s a huge department, and we’ve really become a family over this year, going to auditions together, travelling around learning how to transition from high school into the real world.”

Carey agreed.

“It was really awesome to have such a tight knit group of people through this crazy and hectic audition process,” he told The Press. “It isn’t easy, but it’s so much more bearable when you have 12 friends who are doing the exact same thing as you. That’s kind of when Pippin came together, when everyone was hearing back from colleges. Doing the show during that time was a great way to take our heads out of it and focus our energy on this show that we were doing and that we loved.”