News Archive

Jerry Cheng '18 Wins Halo Award for Lighting Design

On May 26th, the 12th Annual Seven Angels Theater Halo Awards were presented at the Palace Theater in Waterbury.
More than 5,000 theatrical students and their mentors from 55 regional schools, both public and independent, came dressed-to-the-nines to cheer for themselves and their schoolmates and perform numbers and scenes from the more 88 productions represented in the nominations that were awarded over two nights. Forty awards and several recognitions for each evening elicited deafening screams of delight and prolonged applause from the glittering crowd during the 3 ½-hour event.
Jerry Cheng ’18 proudly accepted his award for the Lighting Design in Wait Until Dark. Surrounded by his classmates, he literally broke into a happy dance during the intermission. Traveling in the bus with the cheerful members of The Gunnery Drama Society to and from the ceremony is a special experience. These would-be thespians sing complete shows in sequence and joke with each other, pulling lines of dialog from favorite plays. The stage technicians are as much a part of the fun as the actors.
The Gunnery thespians had received four nominations from the Halo Awards committee for their two productions: the play Wait Until Dark given in the fall and the spring musical Return to the Forbidden Planet. Seven Angels Artistic Director Semina De Laurentis commented that the 19 judges, including former Gunnery choreographer Todd Santa Maria, do not take their tasks lightly and spent 192 hours reviewing the actual productions and revisiting them on DVD before coming to their decisions. She also remarked on the growth of the program sponsored by the Ion Bank Foundation from its start with just 12 schools in the Waterbury area to their presence this year in 55 schools in seven of the eight Connecticut counties.
Other highlights included recognition of the tireless work of the drama teachers and directors. “I am so proud of all that the students in the drama program have accomplished this year," said Performing Arts Chair, Jennifer Wojcik.  A special award, the Gypsy award is given to a member of the chorus (usually) “who is known in part for his/her dedication, professionalism, and seasoned performing career.” Kat Carey ’16 was The Gunnery’s representative to this elite group who follow a robe made from squares sewn by someone from each production.
The following is the complete list of The Gunnery’s nominations:
  • Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Musical:  Gabby Lescadre ’18 as the Science Officer in Return to the Forbidden Planet
  • Best Performance by a Supporting Actor in a Musical: Brendon Vejseli ’17 for Cookie in Return to the Forbidden Planet
  • Best Lighting Design in a Play: Fangwen (Jerry) Cheng ’18 for Wait Until Dark
  • Best Sound Design and Execution: Connor Lemieux ’17 for Wait Until Dark
  • Gypsy of the Year: Kat Carey ’16

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Founded in 1850 by abolitionist, educator, and outdoorsman Frederick Gunn, The Gunnery is a coeducational college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9 through 12/post-graduate. Dedicated teacher-mentor-coaches challenge students to reach their full potential in a home-like setting where character and citizenship are valued as much as intellect and achievement. Individualized attention and high expectations help young learners develop not only the skills and confidence they will need in college, but also the moral compass and love of learning that will serve them well in life. The school attracts ambitious, academically curious students who will both shine as unique individuals and thrive as contributing members of a deeply connected community. By the time they graduate, Gunnery students have become well rounded, grounded young adults with a sharpened sense of who they are and who they want to become.