CCM Professor Selected as a Judge for Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Program

Program identifies high school students with a talent for the performing arts.

Colleen McArdle of Riverdale, director of Special Events and an adjunct professor of Dance at County College of Morris (CCM), recently was selected as an adjudicator for the Paper Mill Playhouse’s Rising Star Awards program. As an adjudicator, McArdle will be responsible for helping to judge the performances of high school students interested in the performing arts.

Introduced in 1996, the nationally recognized Rising Star Awards program sends a panel of adjudicators to review more than 100 high school musical productions in all 21 New Jersey counties. Adjudicators review performances and submit recommendations in 19 performance categories including best leading actress, best supporting actor, set design, lighting, musical direction and overall production. A Tony Award-style ceremony concludes the program where nominated students perform and more than $60,000 in scholarships are awarded.

Evaluators are comprised of theater educators as well as representatives from New Jersey professional and community theatres, presenting halls and arts education organizations.

Past Rising Star recipients include Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (Gypsy, Sound of Music, Nine) and Nikki M. James (Book of Mormon), in addition to Anne Hathaway, a Golden Globe nominee for Les Miserables.

“I’m delighted to be participating in this program, especially since I have been able to work with many students who were involved in past programs and then attended CCMas musical theater or dance majors," said McArdle. “Discovering and supporting young talent is an essential part of keeping the arts alive in our society. In our world of growing and wonderful technology, there still remains the need for live interaction with an audience and a need for great speakers, performers and motivators. An education in the arts fosters the tools to keep those crafts viable.”

McArdle, a former professional performer, has been an arts educator in the tri-state area for more than 20 years. She earned her Associate in Arts degree from CCM and her BFA from Montclair State University.

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