Drama club sweeps Isaac Awards


Courtesy of Ben Cossitor

It’s party time. The drama club poses for a picture after the Isaacs. The club had just been awarded Best Production.

Jaidyn Palladini, Associate Editor

On May 28, the drama club attended the Isaac Awards which is an annual awards event to recognize excellence in student drama departments. The award show was held at the Mishler Theatre at 7 p.m. with nine other schools on the first night. 

The Newsies cast was nominated for nine awards: Achievement in Choreography, Achievement in Design, Best Lead Actor in a Male Role, two Best Supporting Actor in a Male Role, Best Ensemble, Best Dance/Dancer, Best Musical Number and Best Production. 

Drama clubs eagerly anticipate the nominations. 

“It’s a very cool feeling,” Cossitor said. “When you’re in the middle of a show, you feel like the show is really awesome. You kind of get a biased opinion in that way because you’ve seen it and how you’ve grown, but when you hear it from judges and people that are going and seeing all of these other productions, it kind of gives you some extra legitimacy. It makes you feel like it wasn’t just your opinion, it was other peoples corroborating it.”

Cossitor met with the club to keep the production fresh for their awards night performance.

“We met once a week just to prepare the one musical number that we were going to do,” Cossitor said. “I had paperwork and stuff in terms of field trip the way we always do, but other than that, there isn’t a lot of preparation because it’s just keeping the music and dance fresh in their head and then just making sure that everyone knows what to expect when they go to the ceremony.” 

Cossitor felt proud when the cast won Best Production. 

“I said to the whole cast about how winning is great, but it’s not everything,” Cossitor said. “I mean, it’s a wonderful experience even if we wouldn’t have won: I would’ve been so proud of them. The performance they did was awesome; the way they treated each other and treated the other schools was really cool. But there’s a certain sense of pride that you get whenever you actually get that win, which, you know, I can’t deny, it’s an awesome feeling, especially when you look at the level of talent from the other schools in that room.”

Sophomore Ryan Longstreth was nominated for Best Lead Actor in a Male Role.

“I was pretty surprised since it was my first musical,” Longstreth said. “It was really nice to be nominated for an Isaac.” 

Longstreth prepared himself for the Isaacs.  

“I made sure I wouldn’t have my hopes up to win anything, but I also had a confident attitude that I could,” Longstreth said. “I also made sure that I had a good speech written and thanked everyone that I felt deserved it. I was completely shocked whenever I won. It was really great, and I probably almost cried.”

Senior William Secriskey was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a Male Role. 

I was really excited to be nominated because it has always been my dream to win an Isaac since I was in fifth grade because I would’ve been the second one ever in my elementary school to get one,” Secriskey said. 

Secriskey prepared a speech in case he won.  

“What I did was I made sure to reflect on all of the experiences I had in high school, junior high, elementary school and at ACT,” Secriskey said. “I wanted to make sure that I was able to thank everyone that was there along the way to get nominated and give me all the experience I needed to win my Isaac.”

Secriskey received the award in front of friends and family.  

 “I was really happy, excited, and I felt finally accomplished because it was also my first and last chance that I will ever be able to win an Isaac and it finally just felt so good to be able to win it,” Secriskey said. 

Secriskey also received a Juniata College scholarship.  

“I was really excited, but it was sort of ruined whenever they already told me that I won. I’m still excited and happy that I was able to win it,” Secriskey said. 

Senior Siara Helsel was nominated for Achievement in Choreography. 

“When I found out I was nominated for an Isaac, I was so happy because all of the hard work that everyone and I had put into the show had paid off,” Helsel said. 

Helsel prepared her speech and made sure she was fully ready. 

“For the Isaacs, I made sure that I had a speech prepared just in case I would win but also made sure that our performance looked amazing,” Helsel said. 

Helsel made history for Altoona by winning the first choreography award at the Isaacs. 

“My genuine reaction to winning was complete and utter shock because I had no clue I would have actually won. But the only reason I won is because of the amazing cast members that brought the choreography to life and I wouldn’t have won it without them,” Helsel said.

Senior Parker Cook won a $2500 scholarship to PSU Altoona. 

“When they announced that I won the scholarship, I was really grateful because that scholarship will pay for almost half of my first semester’s tuition,” Cook said.

Cook reconnected with her character in the musical, Finch. 

“To prepare for the Isaacs, our group had after school rehearsals to work on the dance and spacing for the scene that we were planning to perform. For me personally, I dove back into my script to reconnect with my character after closing the show three weeks earlier”

Cook knew the work the entire cast did to get to this point had paid off in the end. 

“I feel very blessed that our school won as many awards as we did. It was certainly a team effort, and I’m very proud of all the work that the entire cast and crew put into the show.”

Senior Elly Eisel also attended the Isaac Awards.

“It was a very fulfilling moment,” Eisel said. “Having spent so much time on our production paid off, and I was happy to see our wonderful cast get recognized for their talents. And as a senior, I was proud to have my final show be so successful.”

Eisel looked ahead at the positives.

“I prepared for the Isaacs by attending a lot of dance rehearsals and preparing myself for the best or worst outcome,” Eisel said. “I was also looking forward to seeing performances from the other high school productions.”

Eisel gave the speech when the club won Best Production. 

“I prepared to give a speech by writing out a lot of my thoughts and true feelings,” Eisel said. “I’ve always had a passion and love for theater and closing the high school chapter of my life felt very surreal. I felt nothing but pure pride and joy when speaking on behalf of my fellow classmates and our achievement.”

Junior Benjamin Kennedy gave the speech when the club received runner up for Best Musical Number. 

“I asked Mr. Cossitor what are some things we should mention, and he said that we should mention the school board, administration and people who helped you get to where you are,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy prepared more on the vocal side.

“I warmed up vocally and warmed up by stretching and stuff,” Kennedy said. 

Kennedy thought it was a nice experience to be on stage doing something he loves.  

“I thought it was really cool because it was kind of my song, so it was a great experience to get up on stage and talk about a show that I love,” Kennedy said.