Former Rising Star Award nominee and Tony winner Laura Benanti.
Former Rising Star Award nominee and Tony winner Laura Benanti.
(© David Gordon)

Paper Mill Playhouse has announced its 2017 Rising Star Award winners. Eastern Regional High School in Voorhees Township took home the top prize of Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical for their production of Les Misérables: School Edition, along with two other trophies. Union High School and Gloucester County Institute of Technology each took home three trophies at this year's awards.

The 2017 Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation ceremony took place at Paper Mill Playhouse on June 6, featuring presenters from Broadway and beyond. The ceremony was broadcast live on television and online through Paper Mill Playhouse's video partner, Hometowne Television, of Summit, New Jersey.

The Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation are modeled after the Tony Awards, and Paper Mill Playhouse's program serves the entire state of New Jersey, with nearly 100 entered productions from public, private, and parochial high schools.

Paper Mill Playhouse conceived and created the awards in 1996 to give schools the opportunity to showcase their musical arts programs on a statewide level. The musicals are adjudicated by Paper Mill Playhouse throughout the spring by a group of 70 evaluators, with each school receiving four independent evaluations.

Schools nominated for Outstanding Overall Musical and Leading Actor/Actress nominees perform at the event, and award recipients are presented with an engraved crystal award from Tiffany & Co. Paper Mill Playhouse also awarded $5,000 in scholarships at the Paper Mill Playhouse Rising Star Awards Presented by the Investors Foundation.

Among the early nominees and winners are Academy Award winner Anne Hathaway (Les Misérables), Tony Award winners Laura Benanti (She Loves Me) and Nikki M. James (The Book of Mormon), Tony nominee Rob McClure (Chaplin), Shanice Williams, star of NBC's The Wiz Live! and Olivier Award nominee Jared Gertner (The Book of Mormon).

For a full list of this year's winners, click here.