Starved. Sophomore Owen Carmel laments the starvation of his and his brothers charcacters in Those Canaan Days. Carmel Played Dan in the musical.
Starved. Sophomore Owen Carmel laments the starvation of his and his brother’s charcacters in “Those Canaan Days.” Carmel Played Dan in the musical.
Jaidyn Palladini

Drama club receives Isaac Award nominations

The Isaac Awards are an annual award show held by Altoona Community Theatre (ACT). The awards encompass schools from Blair and surrounding counties, recognizing excellence in high school theatre.

“When you sign up to do theatre at Altoona, you’re basically signing up for competitive theatre. We’re lucky to go to a school with so much talent,” junior Selena Thompson said.

This year, the cast and crew of the Performing Arts Club’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” received 10 nominations. Among these was senior Ethan Eisenhart, who was nominated for “Best Leading Actor in a Male Role.”

“I think it’s pretty awesome,” Eisenhart said. “I put a lot of hard work into the show, so I have confidence in the results.”

Eisenhart played the title role in “Joseph” this year. Last year, he played the role of Billy Lawlor in “42nd Street.” He won the award for “Best Supporting Actor in a Male Role” for his performance.

“I’m glad to be nominated again, but if I don’t win that’s okay too,” Eisenhart said.

“Joseph” is a biblical retelling of Joseph from the Old Testament and his 11 brothers. These brothers as a group were nominated for their own award, “Best Ensemble.” Freshman Gregory Wenzel is a part of this group

“I think our greatest strength is how well our voices sounded together,” Wenzel said. “We all sounded really good as an ensemble.”

“A Monster Calls” was Wenzel’s first experience with middle or high school theatre, where he played the leading role. He worked alongside junior Emily Pentland, who played Issachar in “Joseph.”

“I really got to know everyone because I was only close with a few people. It creates more chemistry when you get to know the people you’re acting with,” Pentland said.

Pentland has been involved in productions since “Newsies”in 2022, and was a part of the Newsie ensemble, which was nominated in 2022 for the same award as this year’s brother ensemble. Altoona was not the winner of that award.

“I think that this year we were really hyped up about the show,” Pentland said. “We all really enjoyed doing it.”

The brothers were collectively involved in “Those Canaan Days,” which received a nomination for “Best Musical Number.” The leading soloist in the number was sophomore Owen Carmel.

“I’m still an amateur,” Carmel said. “But I really think the credit for that number in its entirety goes to the brothers.”

Carmel, along with being at the forefront of the nominated number, was nominated for “Best Featured Actor.”

“I was very surprised. I didn’t think it was going to be me,” Carmel said.

This was Carmel’s first year in a large role. Despite recognition for his talent, he remains humble yet but in the days leading up to the ceremony.

“I’m flattered and can’t wait to see what happens. I think everyone there really deserves to get [the award], so I’m just happy to be nominated,” Carmel said.

In the same number nominated for “Best Musical Number,” seniors Claire Piper and Emily Berkheimer choreographed a dance that was nominated for “Best Featured Dance.”

“I got a featured dance last year, and to have one again with [Berkheimer] was awesome,” Piper said.

In addition to their nomination in this category, the pair was also nominated for “Best Student Choreography” for their work in helping choreograph the other dances throughout the show. Last year they won this award.

“I’m happy we got nominated again,” Piper said. “We put in a lot of effort and it’s great to see it pay off.”

The cast and crew as a whole were nominated for “Best Production.” They will find out the results of their nominations on May 25.

  • Best Production

  • Ethan Eisenhart: Best Leading Actor in a Male Role

  • Ryan Longstreth: Best Featured Actor

  • Owen Carmel: Best Featured Actor

  • Claire Piper and Emily Berkheimer: Best Student Choreography

  • “Those Canaan Days”: Best Musical Number

  • Claire Piper and Emily Berkheimer: Best Featured Dance/Dancer (“Those Canaan Days”)

  • Best Stage Crew

  • Best Student Design: Alexandria Hamel (Costumes)

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