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Farmingdale High School Thespians Nominated for Roger Rees Awards

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Aidan Kelly

And scene! The Broadway Education Alliance has announced the 2020-2021 roster of students nominated for the 11th annual Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance. Despite disruptions to in-school learning, 27 high schools throughout greater New York participated in this year’s program by submitting students for consideration of awards and educational scholarships. Farmingdale High School entered five students into the running this year: Hailey Batista, Tyler Hothersall, Aidan Kelly, Rebecca Kenjesky, and Gabriella Sferlazza.

The young actors were nominated by teacher and director Jessica Mischke for their work earlier this year in the Farmingdale High School Playcrafters production of Beauty and the Beast. Gabriella Sferlazza (Belle) and Aidan Kelly (Beast) lead the cast, with Tyler Hothersall (Gaston), Hailey Batista (Lumiere), and Rebecca Kenjesky (Mrs. Potts) rounding the cast out.

“All five of my nominated students moved onto the next round, which is unheard of,” said director Jessica Mischke. “They had coaching sessions with professionals, and based on that, the judges selected three to join the top six male and top six female finalists in New York State.”

Gabriella Sferlazza, Aidan Kelly, and Rebecca Kenjesky all advanced to the final stage of the Roger Rees competition, where judges recognized Aidan Kelly as the 2021 Roger Rees Up and Coming Actor.

The Roger Rees Awards for Excellence in Student Performance is the only student award in the New York metropolitan area that recognizes distinction in student performance and outstanding achievement in high school musical theatre programs. The program is funded through donations from industry professionals, foundations, licensing companies, and other individuals or companies committed to supporting performing arts programs in area schools.

For more information about the Farmingdale Union Free School District, please visit the district’s website at and like our Facebook page: @FarmingdaleSchoolDistrict.

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