The Freddy Awards

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The Freddy Awards
Awarded for Excellence in high school theatre in the Lehigh Valley
Country  United States
Presented by State Theatre in Easton, Pennsylvania
First awarded May 22, 2003
Official website

The Freddy Awards, also known as the Freddys, are an annual recognition of outstanding high school musical theatre in the Lehigh Valley area, including the Northampton County and Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, and Warren County in New Jersey. The awards were created in 2003 and are awarded each year during a ceremony at the State Theatre in Easton, Pennsylvania, and are broadcast live on WFMZ Channel 69.

The 2004 broadcast of the Freddy Awards won an Emmy Award, and other broadcasts have won awards from the Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters and the Associated Press Awards. The 2008 ceremony is the subject of a documentary, Most Valuable Players, by the Los Angeles-based Canyonback Films, which was released in 2010.


The Freddy Awards were named after J. "Fred" Osterstock, who managed the State Theatre in Easton, Pennsylvania from 1936 until his death in 1957.[1] Osterstock lived in the theater temporarily after a flood damaged his house and, according to local lore, his ghost still haunts the theater. State Theatre announced the creation of the Freddy Awards on April 2, 2002 to recognize outstanding high school theatre in the Lehigh Valley area, with the awards themselves distributed at a ceremony at the State Theatre. Shelley Brown, the theater's president and executive director of the Freddy Awards, said she hoped the awards would highlight and reward the local performing arts, which she said are often overlooked in favor of athletic and academic achievements; Brown said, "We want this to be in the trophy case with the basketball championship trophy. ... Hopefully, this will raise the bar for schools and we'll get increasingly better performances." A total of 22 categories were established in the first year, including best musical, best actor and actress, best supporting actor and actress, best performance by an orchestra, best duet performance, best choreography, best lighting and best costume design.[2]

All high schools in Northampton County and Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, as well as Warren County in New Jersey, are eligible for the Freddy Awards. In the first year, letters were mailed to each of the eligible high schools, and the first 35 to return the applications were able to participate. Each year, a committee of judges are established from members of the theater's board of directors, volunteers and theater professionals from throughout the three participating. A minimum of six evaluators see each show, and the judges meet to review videotapes of the plays and select the award recipients.[2]


The first ceremony was held at the State Theatre on May 22, 2003.[2] The event was modeled after the Tony Awards, the ceremony which honors Broadway productions and performances. The first ceremony was hosted by Ken Matthews, a broadcaster with B104, an Allentown-based station serving the Lehigh Valley region.[3] From 2004 to date, the shows have been hosted by Shelley Brown and Ed Hanna, of WFMZ.[4] The three-hour ceremony was televised live on WFMZ Channel 69, a local television station which served as a sponsor and partner with the Freddy Awards.[1] The second ceremony was broadcast on May 27, 2004, and was once again broadcast live by WFMZ.[5] The 2004 broadcast won a regional Mid-Atlantic Emmy Award in the performing arts category in 2005, marking the first ever Emmy win for WFMZ.[5] The ceremony has since received two additional Emmy nominations, and won five Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters awards and an Associated Press Award for Public Affairs.[1] The fifth annual ceremony aired on May 23, 2007, was streamed live on the WFMZ website for the first time, and the nominations announcements were also streamed on the site the following year.[6]


All of a sudden, we hear what sounds like a rock concert, but with Broadway tunes. We see this sweeping crane shot of all these kids on stage, much like the Tony Awards, and oh, my God - these are high school students.

Matt Kallis, producer with Canyonback Films[6]

The day before the May 2007 broadcast of the Freddy Awards, producer Christopher Lockhart stumbled upon a clip of the 2006 ceremony on YouTube while searching for something unrelated. Lockhart said in the State Theatre's press release, "I couldn’t even decipher what the clip was. It looked like a rock concert, but there was a showtune coming from the stage. Then as the close up moved in, I saw it was a high school kid and I was completely baffled.” The following day, he watched the entire live Internet webcast from his office in Beverly Hills. After putting together a pitch for a potential documentary, he took the idea to Matthew D. Kallis of the Los Angeles-based company Canyonback Films and the men partnered on the project. Seven months later, a film crew from Canyonback Films led by Emmy award winning cinematographer Curt Apduhan, visited the Lehigh Valley and began filming behind-the-scenes footage of production meetings and rehearsals at participating high schools, the Freddy nominations and the event itself. Kallis also distributed high-definition handheld cameras to students to film additional footage. Kallis said, "Hopefully we'll be able to tell some stories that really reflect universality, and kids all around the country will be able to see themselves in these stories."[6] Shelley Brown said she had "complete faith" that the documentary would be "a fair representation" of the Freddy process.[6] The film, titled Most Valuable Players, was first shown on April 16, 2010 at the State Theatre, and will have its official premiere at the film festival circuit some time later. Kallis is producing/directing, and Lockhart is producing/writing.[7][8] The film made its television premiere in September 2011 on the Oprah Winfrey Network. [9]


2013 Recipients[edit]

Outstanding Overall Production of a Musical

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Overall Production By a Smaller School

Moravian Academy

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

William Marshall as The Phantom

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role

Hackettstown HS

Annie Get Your Gun

Ally Borgstrom as Annie Oakley

Outstanding Performance by an Orchestra

Phillipsburg HS

Once On This Island

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Dancer

Notre Dame HS

The Music Man

Michael Guerriere as Marcellus Washburn

Phillipsburg HS

Once On This Island

Loretta Doyle as Ti Moune

Outstanding Use of Costuming

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Male Ensemble Member

Northwestern Lehigh HS

West Side Story

Alex Bobbyn as Action

Outstanding Performance by a Featured Female Ensemble Member

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

Charlene Jean as Madame Giry

Outstanding Achievement in Lighting

Freedom HS

Les Misérables

Outstanding Chorus

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role

Parkland HS

The Phantom of the Opera

Rebecca Stahl as Carlotta Giudicelli

Outstanding Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role

North Warren Regional HS

Anything Goes

Brian Mulligan as Moonface Martin

Outstanding Use of Scenery

Northern Lehigh HS

Little Shop of Horrors

Outstanding Choreography

Southern Lehigh HS

42nd Street

Vic Kumma Award For Outstanding Solo Vocal Performance

Freedom HS

Daniel Youngelman - “Bring Him Home”

Les Misérables

Outstanding Stage Crew

In honor of Capt. Christopher Seifert

Freedom HS

Les Misérables

Outstanding Production Number

Southern Lehigh HS

42nd Street– “We're In the Money”

Outstanding Featured Performance by an Actor

Moravian Academy

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

Connor McInerney as Mr. Cartwright/Mayor Sapsea

Outstanding Featured Performance by an Actress

Emmaus HS

Legally Blonde

Alessandra Fonseca as Paulette Buonofuonte

Outstanding Small Ensemble Performance

Nazareth Area HS

Anything Goes

Vanessa Ruggiero, Zachary Esposito and Braxton White- "Friendship"

Outstanding Overall Production winners[edit]

Year[10] School[10] Production[10]
2003 Phillipsburg High School Once Upon A Mattress
2004 William Allen High School Jekyll & Hyde
2005 Freedom High School Crazy For You
2006 Parkland High School Beauty and the Beast
2007 Whitehall High School The Scarlet Pimpernel
2008 Emmaus High School Les Misérables
2009 Southern Lehigh High School West Side Story
2010 Easton Area High School Ragtime
2011 Whitehall High School Li'l Abner
2012 Freedom High School Thoroughly Modern Millie
2013 Parkland High School The Phantom of the Opera

Outstanding Overall Production by a Smaller School winners[edit]

Year[10] School[10] Production[10]
2005 Belvidere High School South Pacific
2006 Belvidere High School Godspell
2007 Blair Academy Urinetown The Musical
2008 Hackettstown High School Cats
2009 Warren County Technical School Blood Brothers
2010 North Warren Regional High School Jekyll & Hyde
2011 Hackettstown High School and Wilson Area High School (tie) Footloose/The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee
2012 Allentown Central Catholic High School Seussical
2013 Moravian Academy The Mystery of Edwin Drood


  1. ^ a b c "About the FREDDY's". The Freddy Awards. Retrieved 2009-06-10. 
  2. ^ a b c DeCastro, Lavinia (2002-04-03). "Kids to get taste of Broadway -- State Theatre to give out Freddy awards". The Express-Times. p. B1. 
  3. ^ Kalan, Susan (2005-08-12). "Freddy show may get its own award". The Express-Times. p. A1. 
  4. ^ "29 high schools doing Freddys". The Express-Times. 2009-01-22. p. B8. 
  5. ^ a b "Freddy show wins Emmy, Allentown station takes home honor". The Express-Times. 2005-09-18. p. B3. 
  6. ^ a b c d Kalan, Susan (2008-05-18). "From stage to screen". The Express-Times. p. M1. 
  7. ^ McEvoy, Colin (January 25, 2010). "Freddy stars to shine again soon, filmmakers say". The Express-Times. Retrieved March 28, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Freddy Awards documentary to be screened in April". The Express-Times. February 5, 2010. p. B6. 
  9. ^ Lauer-Williams, Kathy (September 7, 2009). "Premiere on documentary on Freddys getting buzz". The Morning Call. Retrieved September 17th, 2011.
  10. ^ a b c d e f "The Recipients". The Freddy Awards. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 

External links[edit]