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Category : Awards

Paradise Valley, Pinnacle Theater Students Rack Up Ratings at Regional Acting Festival

Wednesday , February 05 , 2020

Collage Of Festival-Winning Theater Students From Paradise Valley And Pinnacle High Schools

Theater students from Paradise Valley and Pinnacle high schools showcased their theatrical talents at the Northern Arizona Festival of Theatre (NAFT) held on Jan. 25th at Yavapai Community College. NAFT is one of four regional festivals that are held across the state and is organized by Arizona Thespians. 

Eleven schools participated in NAFT with roughly 220 students competing in film, acting, musical theatre, and technical events. Students performed/presented to a panel of three judges and were awarded rankings of Superior, Excellent, Good, or Fair. 

“Here at Paradise Valley Theatre Company, we ‘make it work.’ We are always striving to do the best with what we have; so to see so many students experience the success of earning a Superior and a chance to compete at the International Thespian Festival is a testament to making it work,” said Carina Stiles, theatre and film teacher at Paradise Valley High School. 

Students who received Superior ratings at the Arizona Thespian Regional Acting Festivals are invited to participate in the International Thespian Festival (ITF), which will be held on June 22-27 in Bloomington, Ind. For the international festival, students are required to perform the same material as they did at their regional festival. 

Melissa Carroll-Jackson, the director of theatre at Pinnacle High School explained, “This is my ninth year competing at NAFT, the fifth year with Pinnacle High taking students to ITF. In my time with the festival, my students have achieved more than I could ever ask for – they've performed as the Arizona state representative in the One-Act Showcase, they've been awarded scholarships from the festival to help them with their education, they've been called back by some of the top universities in the nation, they've been invited to showcase their event as the top in their category, they've been a part of the Playworks and Filmworks series, so I've run a huge range of emotions both as a teacher and as their director. As a teacher, I'm just proud they've won an invitation to an international level event and as long as they return from competition feeling they've performed their pieces the best they can, I'm beyond proud and happy. That's all I can ask of them.”

NAFT Results

Paradise Valley High School 

First Overall in Tech Teams:

  • Drew Christner, Zoe Danielson, Cam Gedris, and Felicia Harrison

Second Overall in Tech Teams:

  • Aidan Hammer, Easton Interdonato, Maddie Krause, and Bella Santoni

Superior Rating

  • Drew Christner – Scenic Design
  • Jackie Connor – Solo Musical
  • Zoe Danielson – Costume Design
  • Zoe Danielson – Stage Management
  • Cam Gedris – Solo Musical 
  • Enrique GonzalezDelgado, Cyler Minkus, and Noah Murray – Group Acting
  • Aidan Hammer – Lighting Design
  • Felicia Harrison – Sound Design
  • Mikayla Hernandez – Costume Construction
  • Peyton Levitt and Cyler Minkus – Duo Acting
  • Noah Murray – Stage Management
  • Chloe Rozalsky – Monologues
  • Bella Santoni – Monologues
  • Bella Santoni – Stage Management

Excellent Rating

  • Hayley Burger and Maddie Krause – Duo Acting
  • Hayley Burger, Maddie Krause, Annabella Mast, Cole Seeders, and Ruah Seeders – Group Acting
  • Allen Colon and Jazzy Yarbrough – Duet Musical
  • Jackie Connor and  Bella Santoni – Duet Musical
  • Ares Decker – Sound Design
  • Ares Decker, Enrique GonzalezDelgado, Micheal Jimenez, Ben McCormac, Eli McCormac, Matija Milosavljevic, Noah Murray, Samuel Posner, and Mason Rogers – Group Musical
  • Matthew Finks – Monologues
  • Enrique GonzalezDelgado, Ben McCormac, and Eli McCormac – Short Film
  • Enrique GonzalezDelgado and Micheal Jimenez – Duet Musical
  • Aidan Hammer – Sound Design
  • Felicia Harrison – Solo Musical
  • Arielle Leiser – Costume Construction
  • Ben McCormac and Matija Milosavljevic – Duo Acting
  • Joanna NavarreteOrtega – Costume Design
  • Joanna NavarreteOrtega – Stage Management
  • Joanna NavarreteOrtega – Theatre Marketing
  • Chloe Rozalsky – Solo Musical
  • Ruah Seeders – Monologues

This will be the first time in a long time that Paradise Valley High School students will travel to the ITF. Stiles has been teaching the students for three years. During the first year, they went to Thespian State. During her second year, students added Regionals to their competition track. In her third year, they are headed to IFC. “I am so honored to be able to bring students of this caliber to ITF and to show what Paradise Valley Theatre Company has to offer,” added Stiles.

To prepare for the ITF, Paradise Valley High School students will continue the rehearsal process, always looking for ways to breathe new life into their pieces. They will perform again and again getting fresh critique from Stiles, their peers, and other qualified eyes.

Pinnacle High Shcool

Superior Rating:

  • Chloe Ball – Duet Musical Theatre
  • Sam Barrett – Monologues and Group Acting
  • Anthony Birk – Group Acting
  • Evelyn Blue – Duet Acting
  • Erin Brennan – Duet Acting
  • Isabelle Dunlap – Costume Design
  • Bre Hansbury – Monologues
  • Bailey Holmes – Duet Acting
  • Helena Honnen – Duet and Solo Musical Theatre
  • Landon Kalinowski – Duet and Solo Musical Theatre
  • Sam Kessler – Solo Musical Theatre
  • Allison MacDonell – Makeup Design
  • Katie MacDonell – Solo Musical Theatre and Duet Acting
  • Tyler McShane – Group Acting
  • Allexa Nuckols – Monologues and Group Acting
  • Nathan Prince – Group Acting
  • Olivia "Liv" Scott – Duet Musical Theatre
  • Kennedy Seacat – Stage Management
  • Adam Walker – Group Acting

Excellent Rating:

  • Kiersten Vance – Light Design
  • Alexis Escobedo – Duet Musical Theatre
  • Isaac Greenland – Duet Musical Theatre
  • William Webb – Solo Musical Theatre
  • Jordan Yanofsky – Set Design

Prior to leaving for the ITF, Carroll-Jackson will provide personalized coaching and guidance for the 19 Pinnacle High School students who will compete. During this one-on-one time, students will brush up their pieces and review the NAFT feedback provided by the judges. At this point, Carroll-Jackson will suggest necessary adjustments and help students refresh their materials. Students will be instructed on the basics of out of state travel, what the festival can offer them outside of competition, and those who fit the qualifications will prepare new pieces to perform at the college auditions in hopes of being asked to callback to theatre schools from all over the country.

“I'm just really excited to go back and represent Arizona at the festival again this summer. I greatly appreciate the sacrifices and support these students have been given by their families, the school, and their district. We are lucky enough to have the PVSchools Fine Arts director, Joel Taylor, attending as well this year, so we look forward to having him see the caliber of our PVSchools theatre programs and appreciate that kind of support,” said Carroll-Jackson.

PVSchools wishes our students the best of luck at the ITF.