Y thespians rake in awards


Students in the Riverdale YM-YWHA’s Rising Stars theater program garnered awards in seven categories in the Sixth Annual National Youth Theater Awards — East Coast Division. 

The award ceremony will be held at the Riverdale Y on Sunday, July 17, at 7 p.m.

The musical, Pippin, yielded more than one award. Ryan Esnard won for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical for his role as Pippin. The cast won the Outstanding Ensemble award and Director Laurie Walton won the Outstanding Direction award for the show.  

Ezra Mutnick took home the prize for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical, Junior Division, for his role as Evan in 13. Eric Berger won Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for his role as Wilbur in Hairspray, along with David Newman, who won for his role as Charlemagne in Pippin and as Edna in Hairspray. Cayleigh Capaldi received an award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical, Junior Division, for her role as The Cat in Honk, Jr. The cast of 13 won for Outstanding Ensemble, Junior Division. 

The Riverdale Y’s Executive Director Marti Michael said she is “just thrilled” about the national recognition that the students and Ms. Walton received “for all their hard work and talent.”

Ms. Michael said the program “enhance[s] self esteem, cooperation and discipline” but said it is also “tons of fun.”

She said she would like to expand the Y’s theater program to create “a special needs theater group for children who require a different approach to success on the stage and to bring [their] performing arts groups beyond the Y’s stage.” 

The Riverdale Y’s children and teenager theater program performs at least six shows a year. The Y also has three shows during the summer.