Seraph Players Record Breaking Performance Wins 7 Basie Awards

Anticipation and excitement was at an all-time high for the Mater Dei Prep Seraph Players at the 13th Annual Basie Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 23, 2018. The Basie Awards is the biggest night for high school theater in Monmouth County and where the Seraph Players would learn if their record breaking performance of Les Miserables would be awarded.

The Mater Dei Prep Seraph Players were ecstatic to learn that they were awarded 7 Basie Awards out of a leading 16 nominations. The Seraph Players were proud to be honored with the following Count Basie Awards:

  • Outstanding Production – Musical - Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables – Cindy J. Dwyer
  • Outstanding Direction in a Musical - Cindy J. Dwyer – Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables
  • Outstanding Featured Male Performer - Matthew Curti – Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables
  • Outstanding Chorus - Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables
  • Outstanding Musical Direction - Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables – Cindy J. Dwyer
  • Carole Malik Award for Outstanding Costume Design in a Musical - Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables – Peggy Baumgartner
  • Evaluators Special Award - Kristian Thaxton (In 5th grade from Asher Holmes Elementary School in Morganville, NJ)- Mater Dei Prep – Les Miserables
The Basie Awards began in 2005 as a way to honor and recognize high school-level actors, actresses and productions in the Monmouth County area. This year, a record 22 dramas and 29 musical performances were evaluated by the Basie Awards nomination committee, which produced nominations for students, productions and schools in various acting and production categories.
"It was a wonderful and memorable night. The Count Basie Theatre always puts on such a spectacular production and the students really love performing on that beautiful and historic stage.  The energy in the room was amazing and I'm always impressed with how enthusiastically all the students support and appreciate each other. I was extremely proud of my students and I loved seeing their excitement when they won the award for Outstanding Production of a Musical. Les Miserables was a very special show for all of us, and I can't think of a better way to end this journey,” said Cindy Dwyer, head of the Mater Dei Prep Performing Arts Institute and recipient of the 2018 Basie Award for Outstanding Direction in a Musical.

Les Miserables
 was the first production under the recently established Performing Arts Institute at Mater Dei Prep. Expanding on its rich 50-year history of outstanding performing arts, Mater Dei Prep recently announced the Performing Arts Institute beginning in the 2018-19 school year. Students will have the opportunity to progress in various courses to nurture their artistic talent and participate in performing arts through musical and dramatic theater, chorus, instrumental ensemble, piano, music theory and dance.

For more information about the Mater Dei Prep Performing Arts Institute, or about the other recently established Academic Institutes at Mater Dei Prep, please call 732.671.9100 or visit

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