basie russo groupPHOTO: RBR long-time drama teacher and theatre director Joe Russo is pictured surrounded by his colleagues and students, all nominees for the 2015 Basie Awards. Joe Russo was honored with the Basie Life Time Achievement Award in Arts Education. Pictured are: RBR art teacher Claudia O’Connor, senior Justin Geigerich, Brielle, senior Noah Beller, Little Silver, Joe Russo, junior Patrick Monaghan, Little Silver, senior Eliana Swartz, Little Silver, Katherine Kennedy, Avon By-the-Sea, RBR tech teacher Carl Grillo. Basie Award winners included: Patrick Monaghan and Katherine Kennedy for Best Actor and Actress in a drama, respectively, and Noah Beller and Matt Suska, (not pictured) for Outstanding Lighting Design in a drama.

RBR Scores Three BASIES

Little Silver, NJ - Joe Russo, Red Bank Regional’s (RBR) drama teacher and theatre director was honored at the 2015 Basie Awards with its Lifetime Achievement Award in Arts Education. The Basie Awards was held at the Count Basie Theatre on May 20. Sharing the spotlight for the evening were four RBR students who were also recognized with Basies. Patrick Monaghan, Little Silver, and Katherine Kennedy, Avon-by-the-Sea, won Outstanding Actor and Actress in a Drama, respectively, for Much Ado About Nothing. Noah Beller and Matt Suszka, both from Little Silver, won the Basie award for Outstanding Lighting Design in a Drama, also for Much Ado About Nothing.     

RBR received a total of eight nominations. Other nominees included: Justin Giegerich, Brielle, Best Supporting Actor in a Drama; Eliana Swartz, Little Silver, Best Supporting Actress in a Musical; RBR teachers Claudia O’Connor and Carl Grillo for Outstanding Set /Scenic Design in a Drama; and Joe Russo, nominated twice, for Outstanding Direction in a Drama and Outstanding Overall Production.          

Joe Russo retires this year from the RBR, following a distinguished 32-year career with RBR’s Visual & Performing Arts Academy. In fact, Joe Russo was its first and only drama teacher and theatre director. He enjoyed a long and distinguished career for which he won many awards and accolades including past Basies.