Emma Magbanua, the Union County Academy for Allied Health Sciences Senior, won Best Actress in a Leading Role at the 2014 Paper Mill Rising Star Awards. The girl with the big smile and even bigger heart took the stage to accept her honor Tuesday night with an endearing speech that only she could make, which had the entire audience laughing and on their feet. Along with her win, she will now represent the UHSPAC and the Paper Mill Playhouse in the National High School Musical Theatre Awards held in New York City on Broadway. Magbanua had this to say about her upcoming participation in the Awards: “Although I’m really nervous, I’m so grateful and humbled by this opportunity to represent this region, but more importantly to represent the people who have guided me over the past four years. I couldn’t have gotten here without them.”
The UHSPAC received two additional awards winning Best Achievement in Scenic Design and Best Achievement in Lighting Design for their technical team of Scott Aronow and Dan Ozminkowski respectively. The cast also took to the stage performing “The Heat is on in Saigon” as part of their nomination for Best Overall Musical. The UHSPAC was nominated for 11 awards, the most in the state for the adjudicated categories including, Best Supporting Actor – Jonathan Duvelson, Best Supporting Actress – Raquel Martine, Best Chorus, Best Orchestra and Best Director to name a few.
“The Rising Star Awards help to cultivate the future of musical theatre. It gives our students something to strive for and a chance to be recognized by a leader in the professional theatre community: The Paper Mill Playhouse. Emma has worked extremely hard during her UHSPAC career, and this is a wonderful capstone for her. I am excited for her to go on to the nationals and be seen by so many influential people, and have the chance to perform on a Broadway stage.”