Clarence HS celebrates award for outstanding musical

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) –   The musical theater program at Clarence High School is celebrating a special achievement. Their production of Young Frankenstein won Outstanding Performance at the Kenny Award ceremony at Shea’s Performing Arts Center over the weekend.

The Kenny Awards are named in honor of the late Ken Lipke, founder of Gibraltar Steel and supporter of arts education in Western New York. They honor the best in high school musical theater each spring. For the first time this year, the winners in the best actor and best actress categories will go on to the national high school musical awards. The “Jimmies” will take place at a Broadway theater in New York City next month.

Rachel Kauderer, who played Frau Blücher in Young Frankenstein at Clarence, along with Joseph Russi, who portrayed Gomez Addams in The Addams Family at Frontier High School, will represent Western New York at the week-long event.

“Performing on this stage with Frau was such a blessing in itself,” Kauderer, who plans to major in performing arts at SUNY Buffalo in the fall, told News 4. “It’s so important, such a rewarding experience, to hear the audience laugh when you’re the comedic character. I am so excited to bring that experience to New York.”

Russi, a junior at Frontier, is also looking forward to it.

“I think it’s going to be the most amazing experience that I will ever have,” he said. “I get to meet all these great kids. The kids that have the same passion that I do, and it’s going to be so exciting. We get to see shows, stay at NYU, and everything is just going to be so fun.”

The Lipke Foundation presented Clarence with a $5,000 grant for the drama department for winning the overall prize at this year’s award. Each student involved in the production also received a medal. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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