Hoboken High School wins NJ Thespians; next stop is the International Festival this summer

More than 50 high schools competed virtually, but Hoboken High School’s Thespians Competing Team was victorious, taking home multiple prizes in top major categories at the New Jersey Thespians Festival. This earned the team an invitation to represent New Jersey at the International Thespians Festival in June.

The Thespians International Festival will be held in person June 20-24 at Indiana University in Bloomington, Ind. Theater students and teachers will deepen their knowledge through hundreds of interactive workshops on all aspects of theater – on stage, backstage and in front of the house.

Those visiting the ITF will be able to experience a few large-scale one-act productions daily on the main stage. Students will also have the opportunity to participate in readings, improvisation, student work, and works of Shakespeare.

Students will show off their talents through college auditions, tech challenges, and Thespy Awards. The Thespy Awards is a multi-round competition that provides standards-based commentary on musical and non-musical individual, duo and group events, technical events and short film events. If you receive a “top” state-level rating, you can compete against all other state-level winners at the ITF for an international acting award.

Hoboken High School has been chosen as the winner of New Jersey’s Chapter Select Play and will perform on stage at the ITF.

The 1st place team students under Mr. Kinnear and Brittany Schruefer are Rosie Cabelin, Miguel Cabelin, Kendall McDonough, Halie Benway, Shai Warshawsky, Alana Rivas, Daniel Weintraub, Riddhi Damani, Naomi Cooke, Mable Blischke- Villavicencio, Anthony Barahona and Arcadio Torres.

First up for Best Actress was Rosie Cabelin, who performed two entries for the festival. The first was the team’s Chapter Select Play, “Teen” by Kristen Doherty. The second was in the category of contrasting monologues, with monologues from “The Two Gentlemen of Verona” by William Shakespeare and “Common Ground” by Brendon Votipka.

“I’ve always loved competing at the New Jersey Comedian Festival,” Cabelin said. “2022 was special for me because it was my first year as a best actress. I’m so happy that in my last year I can finally be recognized, which proves that my four years of hard work have finally paid off.

The 2nd Best Actress award went to Shai Warshawsky, who performed a musical theater solo, “A Guy That I’d Kinda Be Into,” from Joe Tracz’s “Be More Chill,” and also participated in Chapter Select Play, “Ado. This was her first appearance at the NJ Thespians Festival.

“It’s so surreal to see all of our hard work being recognized,” Warshawsky said. “With everything going on in the world, I’m glad we have safe ways that allow us to experience this. I also like being able to connect with people who have the same interests.

Honorable mention for Best Supporting Actor went to Daniel Weintraub, who was in “Teen” and also performed a musical theater solo with Shiksa Goddess from Jason Robert Brown’s “The Last Five Years.”

“Considering the world, it’s truly incredible that NJ Thespians still managed to win the competition even though it was to go live so close to the day of,” Weintraub says. “The workshops were great and varied, so they allowed me to learn about topics that I had barely heard of before. I hope next year we can be in person because I can’t wait to go there for my last two years of high school.

The award for Best Winning Duo, an ITF category, went to Miguel Cabelin and Alana Rivas, who performed a scene from David Lindsay Abaire’s “Rabbit Hole” together. Sophomore Rivas performed in the stage category for the first time this year.

“It was a really exciting experience that I would love to do again,” said Rivas. at the same place.”

“My friends and I, who have a love and passion for acting, are happy that we can come together and continue to pursue these competitions, even with setbacks,” Cabelin said. “Theatre has always been a nerve-wracking and exciting experience when it comes to performing what we have worked so hard to create. I’m glad that feeling is still there.

Rosie Cabelin, Miguel Cabelin, Kendall McDonough, Halie Benway, Warshawsky, Rivas, Zion Taylor, Riddhi Damani, Naomi Cooke, Mable Blischke-Villavicencio, Anthony Barahona and Arcadio Torres also picked up the win for Superior Winner Group Scene. Only two schools have won in this category.

Finally, Danielle Miller received the New Jersey Theater Educator of the Year award from the NJ Thespians Association.

Some of the students had the experience of playing the festival virtually, as last year’s Thespian festival was also virtual. It still turned out to be a learning experience for new participants.

“I had never played virtually before, so it was definitely a new experience for me,” Warshawsky said. “The main difference between filming and performing live is nervousness, but my band was able to film together in person, so I didn’t feel very limited.”

NJ Thespians is a state chapter of the Educational Theater Association (EdTA), which sponsors the International Thespian Society (ITS).

ITS brings together the best performances, the best teaching artists, and the best colleges and universities for a community-centered experience with daily surprises and special celebrity appearances on Broadway and Hollywood. Students can also participate in unique workshops showcasing all theatrical interests.

Darcy J. Skinner