Broadway bound? Buffalo Township girl, 16, already has been honored there |
Valley News Dispatch

Broadway bound? Buffalo Township girl, 16, already has been honored there

Courtesy of Carrie Harris
Halle Surgil
Courtesy: Broadway League Communications
Freeport Area High School junior Halle Surgil practices at the National High School Musical Theater Awards last week. She won the Rising Star Award and a scholarship.

A young Buffalo Township singer, dancer and actor brought back a part of New York’s theater scene last Monday.

Halle Surgil, 16, of Buffalo Township was among 80 of the nation’s best high school actors who received two weeks of mentoring by Broadway stars.

Then the students competed for the National High School Musical Theater Awards, culminating Monday night with the Jimmy Awards presented at the Minskoff Theatre, which is famous for Broadway shows.

Halle’s mother, sister, two grandmothers and Freeport Area voice teacher Ann Ferguson watched Halle, one of the youngest performers, walk onto the Broadway stage to receive the Rising Star award and a $2,000 scholarship.

Other than the top awards, only four awards like the Rising Star were presented.

That was a singular achievement for a student who is entering her junior year at Freeport Area High.

As young as she is, Halle is familiar with the dancing shoes, stage directions and the musical trappings of performance.

She has performed in Freeport Area’s musicals and looks forward to two new productions there this school year, as well as shows at the Benedum in Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh CLO.

Halle won the Mancini Award for best actress in the high school’s well-received production of the musical “The Addams Family.” That award, named for composer Henry Mancini, honors students and productions in Beaver, Butler and Lawrence counties for outstanding achievements in high school musical theater.

The award was the key that unlocked Halle’s visit to the Broadway stage.

Halle’s interest in musical theater has been encouraged by her mother, Elizabeth, a 1982 Freeport graduate and NYU graduate who performed on Broadway in plays including “42nd Street” and “Carousel.” She later danced with the Radio City Rockettes.

But this was Halle’s first time to walk on a Broadway stage as a performer.

It was “an unforgettable moment” for her mother.

“Of course, I am worried as a mother that she can be disappointed,” said Surgil, a Pittsburgh-based media producer. “But this is what she wants to do.”

Jimmy Awards and the future

“It was absolutely amazing,” Halle told the Tribune-Review. “It was awesome to make connections and to work with Broadway professionals and others in the business and to work diligently with them.

“I never expected to receive a national award. It’s so humbling. I have learned to work hard and if you put in the work, you can have success,” Halle said.

The 80 participants likely will be co-workers someday in show business.

“We kidded each other about that each day,” she said.

They were constantly reminded by Broadway stars to stay true to themselves and their goals for their paths to success.

Halle will attend a seminar in the Midwest in July, and when she returns she will begin preparations for Freeport Area’s fall musical, Stephen Sondheim’s “Into the Woods.”

“We’re going to have two musicals at school a year,” she said. “I am so excited about that.”

Chuck Biedka is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 724-226-4711, [email protected] or via Twitter @ChuckBiedka.

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