By MIKE CHAIKEN
Bristol can now lay claim to one of the best high school actors in the country.
Chiara Giampetro, a junior at St. Paul Catholic High School, recently won “Outstanding Lead Actress” at the Connecticut High School Musical Awards for her performance as Maria in the Bristol parochial school’s production of “The Sound of Music.”
And with that honor, Chiara won the chance to travel to New York city this past week to be part of the National High School Musical Awards held at the Minskoff Theatre in New York City on June 29. In addition to the awards, the national program includes intensive theaere studies with professors from New York University as well as Broadway actors and actresses for a week’s time.
Prior to her departure, Chiara said, “It’s surreal. I can’t really believe that it’s really happening.”
During her freshman year, Chiara said she saw that fellow St. Paul actress Jillian Caillouette head off to nationals for the first time. Then Jillian surprised everyone by taking an unprecedented second journey to nationals.
“I knew that was my goal,” said Chiara. “I wanted to get there.”
“The fact that I’m getting there before I’m even graduating is crazy. I’m so excited,” said Chiara.
“I don’t think I’ve talked about anything else besides nationals,” said Chiara.
Student performers qualify to compete in the national program by winning top honors at regional high school musical theatre awards competitions presented by Broadway League member performing arts centers. Over 1,000 high schools and 50,000 students participate in these annual events. Since its inception in 2009, the NHSMTA has enabled over $1,000,000 in university and conservatory scholarships to be awarded to talented students at the national and local level—several of whom have already been cast in Broadway, touring and West End productions.
Winners will be selected by a panel of judges comprised of theater professionals including Tony Award-winning producers and award-winning casting experts: Kent Gash (associate arts professor; founding director, New Studio on Broadway, NYU Tisch School of the Arts Department of Drama), Rachel Hoffman C.S.A. (Telsey + Company), Arielle Tepper Madover (producer, ATM Productions), Alecia Parker (executive producer, National Artists Management Company), Tara Rubin C.S.A. (Tara Rubin Casting), Nick Scandalios (executive vice president, The Nederlander Organization), Thomas Schumacher (President, Disney Theatrical Group), and Bernie Telsey C.S.A. (Telsey + Company).
“It’s going to be an opportunity and I’m going to try to get everything I can out of it because it’s a once a life time thing to perform on a broadway stage before you even get out of high school and to even meet the people I’m going to be meeting,” said Chiara. “It’s going to be crazy.”
At the event, Chiara said she will be assigned her own vocal coach to prepare two songs, with the best performance reserved for a moment before the judges. In addition to her own songs, said Chiara, she would be working with the other nationalists on a medley of songs that would be performed at the awards night.
“It’s just one thing after another,” said Chiara. “There’s no break. It’s all musical theater.”
For Chiara, the appearance at the nationals is setting the stage for the next step in her lifelong ambition to secure a career in the performing arts.
“I’ve known since I’ve been in fourth grade that I wanted to do musical theater. It’s always been part of my life and I think it always will be.” After high school, Chiara said she dreams of studying at the Boston Conservatory and then plans to move to New York City.
For more information about the awards and to see how Chiara does, go to nhsmta.com.
By MIKE CHAIKEN