Coveted MSU Awards for PDS Theater and Andre Williams '22

At the Montclair State University Theater Awards evening on May 24, Princeton Day School's production of The Old Man and the Old Moon was honored with two awards, besting a field of middle and high school competitors from across the state. Andre Williams '22 was named Outstanding Actor in a Musical for his performance as Captain Pericles and an award for Outstanding Production of a Musical went to the entire cast and crew

"Shortly after the last performance of Old Man, the entire world went into lockdown for COVID-19," Director of Performing & Fine Arts/Design Stan Cahill recalled. "I feel that the cast and crew were never able to fully experience the success of what they had achieved at the time. Hopefully this gives our students some validation that we can continue to explore boundary-pushing material. We had a very brave cast and crew—and to be honored for Outstanding Production reminds us all that we are on the right path!" he added.

Screenshots from Montclair State University Theatre Night Awards-Andre Williams '22 award

On receiving the honor, Andre shared, "I feel a deep sense of pride and happiness. I tried to put my all into the character that I was portraying, and to have that effort recognized in such a public and incredible manner is indescribable." 

"Andre has a wealth of gifts as a young artist and was absolutely fearless in his approach to his role," Cahill continued. "I hope this recognition reminds him that audiences respond to his creativity, vulnerability and work ethic. It continues to be a joy to work with such a talented and humble young performer; and it is no coincidence that our productions have earned multiple awards for ensemble performance during his years at PDS."

The Old Man and The Old Moon is a work that afforded the cast and crew the opportunity to move beyond preconceptions of what traditionally constitutes a play or musical and utilize diverse means to explore the art of storytelling without boundaries. 

"The production was an absolute blast to put on. The cast was so loving, caring and hard-working with the story that we were presented. The process allowed for the evolution of such a stunning show," Andre said.

Cahill added: "Our cast and crew embraced what I like to call 'cartoon logic'–a world where anything can happen! Old Man gave us the opportunity to revisit the experience of hearing a magical tale for the first time and to further explore that space. For example, in collaboration with STEAM Coordinator Matt Tramontana, we constructed simple yet magical puppets and integrated shadow play into the musical interludes. It was one of the highlights of this cast and crew's creative production process."  

Holly Teti '21 recalled, "on the first day on set, our choral director Mr. Edgar Mariano told me: 'you're going to sing a solo on the opening number and you're going to play guitar.' At the time, I didn't know how to play guitar, but I learned! The experience taught me so much about challenging yourself and personal growth while also providing lessons in leadership and community."

Bruno Cucchi '21 remarked, "the entire production, from cast to crew, all truly bought into the process during this musical. Mr. Cahill is incredible and he put us all in a position to thrive both as individuals and as a collective unit. I think the fact that we won such a prestigious award is a nod to how far we've come during our time at PDS as well as the standard that Mr. Cahill has set for all of us to reach as high as we can as performers."

Cahill and the entire Performing Arts department are excited about theater performance possibilities in the coming school year, as the School and the country continues to move forward from the pandemic. "We plan to tackle to two brand new plays that explore issues, ideas and themes directly relevant to the student experience today. Stay tuned for next season because we can't wait to get back onstage!" Cahill concluded.

Enjoy our February 26, 2020, news post about the performance and a selection of photos from The Old Man and the Old Moon in our Flickr Album

Photo from the PDS Production of The Old Man and the Old Moon (taken by Matt Pilsner)

Photos (from top): full cast and crew photo (by Matt Pilsner) embedded in the template used during the MSU Theater Night awards;  screenshot of the announcement of Andre Williams winning Outstanding Actor in a Musical; a scene from the musical performance in 2020 (by Matt Pilsner).

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