Scene Around: RFH Basie Award Winnings

And the winner is … Rumson-Fair Haven Regional High School (RFH) for four 2024 Basie Awards.

Yes, the 19th Annual Basie Awards ceremony and nominee performances, celebrating excellence in Monmouth County high school theater, was last night. And with 17 nominations, RFH took home four.

A reported capacity crowd showed for the red carpet-type event in Red Bank at the historic Count Basie Center for the Arts, formerly the Count Basie Theater and The Carlton. Nominated thespians from all over the county showcased their work as winners were announced.

“Once again, our historic theater was filled to capacity in celebration of the talent and dedication of our area’s high school theatre programs,” said Samantha Giustiniani, vice president of Education and Outreach, Count Basie Center for the Arts. “Every year, we continue to be amazed at the brilliant and diverse programs and their work both on stages and behind the scenes. Watching schools, students, teachers and administrators cheer for each other embodies the unifying power of theater.”

RFH’s performance and behind-the-scenes award wins were:

• Outstanding Company in a Comedy — Cast, The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood

• Outstanding Direction of a Musical — Kasiann Sweeney, Anything Goes

• Outstanding Choreography — Donna Battaglia, Anything Goes

• Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design of a Play — Catherine Cleary, The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood

Click here for the entire list of 2024 Basie Award winners.

In addition to celebrating local talent, the ‘Basies’ presented its Lifetime Achievement Award to New Jersey Lt. Governor Tahesha Way. Citing her oversight of the state government offices supporting New Jersey’s vibrant arts, culture, history, and business communities, New Jersey State Council on the Arts Executive Director Allison Tratner introduced Way as “a trailblazer, an advocate, a leader, and a partner in so many ways.”

“I am honored to receive the Basie Center Lifetime Achievement Award, joining the ranks of many talented New Jerseyans who have come before me,” said Lieutenant Governor Tahesha Way. “In my role as Secretary of State, I have worked closely with the New Jersey State Council on the Arts, not only supporting vital community anchors like the Count Basie Center, but also in the crucial work to ensure every student in New Jersey has access to a comprehensive education that includes the arts. It has been a pleasure to uplift the role of the arts in our everyday lives, highlighting the amazing, quality arts experiences that can be found throughout our state, including here in Monmouth County. I congratulate the students being honored alongside me this evening and look forward to your contributions as artists and leaders in New Jersey.”

— Edited press release from Basie Center for the Arts

— Featured photo/RFH PAS