Senior Ryan Kaufman awarded Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship and freshman Brynn Bowyer wins spirit award
The gratification is real for Stacie Morano, who wears many hats at Bordentown Regional High School.
Technical director and theater manager of the Bordentown Performing Arts Center, director of the international Thespian Society Troupe 6803 and advisor of the Bordentown Regional High School (BRHS) Theatre Club and Stage Crew, you name it, she wears it.
On May 21, she saw one of her students, BRHS senior Ryan Kaufman, awarded the 2023 Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship during the Greater Philadelphia Cappie Award Gala held at Cardinal O’Hara High School in Pennsylvania.
Kaufman has been performing and working with BRHS Theatre throughout his high school career. He has been in 12 productions.
“I enjoy being able to perform with some of the most talented people I know and have a space available for me to step out of my comfort zone and be myself,” he said prior to the Gala.
Casey A. Feldman was a 2006 graduate of Springfield High School in Delaware County, Pa. She was killed in a crosswalk in Ocean City in New Jersey in July 2009 as she was about to enter her senior year at Fordham University where she was a journalism major. The Casey Feldman Foundation established in Casey’s memory awards the Casey Feldman Foundation Scholarship to one senior from a participating Greater Philadelphia Area Cappies school. Directors at these schools can submit one student to be considered for this award whom they feel possesses a superior work ethic, shows high integrity and is supportive of others in need through community service and extracurricular activities.
Kaufman has volunteered hundreds of hours over the past six years with various community organizations, including Soles4Souls, Knights of Columbus, Christ Church, Blessing Bag Brigade, Bordentown Elks, as well as volunteering his time with the Boy Scouts, Key Club, and Student Council.
He is an extremely active member of BRHS’ International Thespian Society Troupe 6803, among many other school organizations. Recently he has performed as Wayne in Puffs, Charlie in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and the Pharaoh in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Kaufman was chosen as the 2023 Senior of the Year by the Burlington County Principals and Supervisors Association. He is currently ranked fifth in his graduating class and will attend the University of Central Florida in the fall as an industrial engineering major.
Kaufman, along with members of the cast, crew and orchestra of BRHS’ recent production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat attended the Gala.
Their production of the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and the BRHS Cappies Critic Team had been nominated for nine 2023 Greater Philadelphia Cappie Awards, which honored high school theatre productions from the 2022-2023 season.
“I am so proud of the enthusiasm and hard work the students put into every production we do, and it is especially gratifying to see their efforts recognized by the Greater Philadelphia Cappies for this musical,” Morano said. “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat is completely sung through, with no dialogue, which presents a challenge to everyone involved. The students rose to the challenge and exceeded my expectations in every way.”
Kaufman said the production of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat wouldn’t have been possible without the help of every individual involved.
“I’m glad that I was able to be involved with it as much as I was helping make it come to life every moment I had available,” he said. “It ended up being a great production that brought a smile to every audience we performed for.”
In addition, at the Gala freshman Brynn Bowyer received the 2023 Greater Philadelphia Cappies Spirit Award for BRHS, recognizing her leadership qualities, positive attitude, and spirit of teamwork throughout Joseph rehearsals and performances. She is the first student at BRHS to win the award.
Bowyer has been working with the BRHS Theatre Club for a year now, performing in a total of four shows.
“The core reason I keep coming back to the BRHS theater program is the community there,” she said. “As I’m sure many can relate to, starting high school was confusing. So to have an outlet, where people of every grade, gender, and race come together to support one another has given me a purpose here.
“But aside from the sentimental reasons, I find the theater program to be a very good space for me to improve my skills as an actress. It’s given me a chance to learn off of others and develop skills that were foreign to me before joining.”
Bowyer said she fell in love with Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
“With its experimental song styles, each a clever play on popular music genres throughout history, I had a lot of freedom to get creative with my performance,” she said. “This is true for the rest of the cast as well, each rehearsal was done with enthusiasm and excitement, so you can imagine how ecstatic we were for our actual performances.
“I’m not exaggerating when I say that the closing night of our musical was one of the best moments of my freshman year. There was a certain aura that everyone carried with them, a sheer joy to simply be a part of such an amazing show. My cast members have worked extremely hard to bring Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat to life. And I can’t thank them enough for the experiences they have let me be a part of.”
BRHS Principal Rob Walder represented BRHS as a Cappies awards presenter.
The Cappies is a national program that honors and celebrates the achievements of high school theatre, which culminates in an annual Gala.
The BRHS Cappies Critics Team members included Kaufman along with Senior Olivia McGlone, who has been performing since freshman year, Junior Aidan Bramley, who has been performing for two years, Junior Amelie dela Cruz, who has been performing for two years, Senior Defnenur Gumus, who has been performing since freshman year and Junior Tyler Thalhauser, who has been performing for two years.
Morano said the team have been working hard all year, attending area productions and serving as the BRHS representatives for the Cappies program.
BRHS Theatre has been participating in the Greater Philadelphia Area Cappies program since 2010.
“Our first participating musical was Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, which was nominated for six awards,” Morano said. “Our lead actor playing the role of Joseph at that time won the 2010 Greater Philadelphia Cappie Award for Outstanding Male Vocalist…and today is a member of the Tony Award nominated Broadway cast of the musical & Juliet. We are so proud of our alum Nicholas Edwards.”
In 2012, Morano recalled they were ecstatic to win the Greater Philadelphia Cappie Award for Outstanding Musical for their production of Legally Blonde.
“This show earned an overwhelming fourteen nominations, the most we ever received,” she said, noting they won five awards that year.
This year’s Gala set the second highest with nine nominations.
Senior Jake Sfraga had been nominated for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his performance as Joseph. He has been performing in shows since he was 7, performing in a total of 31 shows.
Kaufman and McGlone had received BRHS’ first ever nomination for Outstanding Marketing and Publicity for their creative efforts advertising the BRHS 2023 musical.
Senior Sonali Prabhu had been nominated for Outstanding Sound for her work on Joseph. She has been working with the productions for two years.
McGlone had been nominated as Outstanding Solo Dancer for her role as Mrs. Potiphar in Joseph. She had also been honored with a nomination for Outstanding 12th Grade Critic.
Bramley had been nominated for Outstanding 11th Grade Critic for his work with the Bordentown Cappies Critic Team.
Bowyer had been nominated for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance in Joseph along with the 2023 Greater Philadelphia Cappies Spirit Award.
The BRHS pit orchestra received a nomination in the category of Outstanding Orchestra.
“Through our years of participation in the Cappie program, it has been so gratifying to see Bordentown students be recognized for their love of theatre through nominations and awards,” Morano said.
“Even better, our students have had the opportunity to see other high school productions and to meet and have discussions with people they may never have met otherwise. Theatre is the opportunity to see the world through another person’s eyes. What better preparation for life after high school could there be than that?”