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Wantagh Students Recognized in Roger Rees New Faces Competition

Posted Date: 05/17/2024

Wantagh Students Recognized in Roger Rees New Faces Competition

The Roger Rees Awards, which honors excellence in student performance, gave accolades to four Wantagh High School students in its annual New Faces competition. 

Sophomore Olivia Magoloff was recognized in theater, and juniors Alyssa Alexander, Grace Bellia and Lianna Menegalli were honored in the dance category. They represent more than 10% of the 30 students honored in the region, which includes Long Island, New York City and several Hudson Valley counties. More than 100 students submitted audition videos, which were reviewed by a panel of casting directors. 

New Faces Honors for Excellence in Solo Performance is presented in partnership with the Broadway Education Alliance and Casting Society of America. It recognizes students who excel in acting, dancing or singing. 

Although New Faces Honors does not require participation in a school production, all four Wantagh students were part of this year’s fall drama production, “Peter and the Starcatcher,” and spring musical, “Jekyll and Hyde.”

Olivia submitted a two-minute recording, reading “My Single Mom” from a book of monologues. She has appeared in seven middle school and high school productions as Wantagh student, and this year is enrolled in the Advanced Drama class.

Lianna, who has been dancing since she was 5 years old with private studios, also takes Wantagh High School’s dance class. She self-choreographed a contemporary solo routine for her submission, which was about three minutes long. It incorporated elements of dance she has learned over the years. 

Alyssa was thrilled to be recognized for her dedication to dance, which has spanned 14 years. She submitted a three-minute video from a dance competition for New Faces. Her participation in Wantagh’s performing arts program has enhanced her talent, as she has learned how to better integrate emotion into dance.

A competitive dance solo was Gianna’s submission for New Faces Honors. She has been dancing for 12 years and is also taking the high school’s dance class this year. 

“The class has definitely helped me improve my dancing abilities,” Gianna said. 

The four students are very grateful for all the ways they can get involved in the performing arts at Wantagh High School. There are dance, theater and vocal classes, as well as the fall drama and spring musical. They can also take on leadership opportunities with the middle school musical, Theatre Day and the International Thespian Society.

“There’s definitely a lot of opportunities for us,” Alyssa said. 

The students were encouraged to apply for the New Faces competition by their theater teacher, Dr. Kimberly Davis. The four honorees will attend an awards ceremony on May 19 at the Gerald W. Lynch Theater at John Jay College. They will have two-hour master classes with professionals in their respective areas. Olivia will prepare a monologue and receive feedback, while Alyssa, Gianna and Lianna will learn a dance routine. 

“This is going to be a really great experience for all of us,” Olivia said. “It’s another opportunity to grow and learn from experts.”

Roger Rees Awards