The first time Andrew De Prisco directed a high school musical was more than a decade ago. Providing spot coverage for Joseph Russo, the longtime musical director for Red Bank Regional's Academy of Visual and Performing Arts, De Prisco tackled Sonheim's Into the Woods, the musical featuring an interconnecting plot involving some of fairytale's most familiar characters.
Maybe's he's got a knack for this.
In his second go round in the high school musical scene, this time with Red Bank Catholic, De Prisco again directed Into the Woods and in the process helped the downtown Red Bank school take home five Basie Awards, including top honors, at the annual award presentation Wednesday night.
Red Bank Catholic won Outstanding Production - Musical, besting 24 area high schools that were evaluated by the award committee. De Prisco was also awarded a Basie for Outstanding Stage Direction for a Musical.
The Caseys also won Basie for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical (Mark Regan, Jr.), Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical (Fred Mayo, Debra Thime and Fred Sorrentino), and Outstanding Student/Adult Orchestra (Shawn Mack).
In all, 26 Basie Awards, divided between musicals and dramas, were handed out on the Count Basie Theatre stage. For seven years, the theatre has helped promote high school theater by honoring the county's top high school performances and productions.
In his award acceptance speech, De Prisco talked about the bond he formed with his Into the Woods cast.
"I told them when we started this show that it would change your life," he said. "That there's so many lessons in this book and it would change your life. And what I didn't expect was that they would change mine."