Basie awards to recognize achievement in high school theater


The Basie Awards, the annual celebration of Monmouth County high school theater presented by Bank of America, will return to the Basie Center stage in Red Bank on May 25.

Tickets for this year’s presentation go on sale April 22 at 10 a.m. through and the Basie Center box office, 99 Monmouth Street, Red Bank. Nominees will be announced the following week in Red Bank, according to a press release.

The previous two years of Basie awards presentations were presented online during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“One of the greatest nights of the year at the Basie Center is when we gather to celebrate our region’s high school productions,” said Adam Philipson, president/CEO, Count Basie Center for the Arts.

“For the sixth year, Bank of America is sponsoring the annual Basie awards program,” said Alberto Garofalo, president, Bank of America New Jersey. “Our partnership with the Count Basie Center allows us to support the arts in our local schools, and like the Basie Center, Bank of America strives to foster creativity and resiliency in the communities we serve. We are very much looking forward to the excitement and electricity of the Basie awards ceremony on May 25.”

Now in its 17th year, the Basie awards program is modeled after the Tony awards, and evaluates musical and drama productions in high schools throughout Monmouth County, according to the press release.

A rubric is used to assess performance in 25-plus categories, recognizing excellence in everything from acting and directing to set and costume design, choreography, lighting, and orchestra. This year, 16 dramas and 23 musical performances were evaluated by the nomination committee.

“As excited as we are to return to a live show, we are just as impressed that our region’s high school acting community has remained so dedicated to its craft,” said Samantha Giustiniani, senior director of education, Count Basie Center for the Arts.

“The arts played an important role for students and families navigating their way through the last two years and our hope is that this year’s Basie awards celebrates and showcases that resiliency like never before,” she said.

Each year, the Basie Center invites all Monmouth County high schools to enter their productions for consideration, according to the press release.