Arts Reader Contributed Schools

Kingswood Oxford Wins HALO for Best Musical in the State

Kingswood Oxford won a HALO award for Best Musical for their production of 'A Chorus Line.' Courtesy photo

West Hartford’s Kingswood Oxford School received a HALO award for their production of ‘A Chorus Line.’


One singular sensation for sure! Kingswood Oxford School won Best Musical in Connecticut at the HALO awards for their spring musical performance of A Chorus Line. This is the third time in the last five years they have been given this esteemed honor in their award-winning theater program.

Actors and actresses from Kingswood Oxford attended the 21st Annual High School Halo Awards at the Palace Theater in Waterbury on Thursday, May 31. Over 30 high schools from across the state of Connecticut participated in this prestigious gala red carpet event in front of families and friends.

In addition to winning best musical, KO took home several awards for their performance. Matthew Habeeb ‘27 won the up-and-coming award. Diya Mistri ‘24, Lily Temkin ‘25, and Audrey Karasik ‘24 won Speciality Ensemble for their number, “At the Ballet.”

KO was again awarded the renowned Dance Molinari Scholarship for the fifth year running. This year boasts the most number of students to receive this award including Zaire Ramiz ‘25, Leo Kollen ‘26, Matthew Habeeb ‘27, and Molly Palmer ‘27. Dance Molinari (DMO) is a company in New York City that trains young professional artists in a range of areas and is comprised of master class instructors, directors, choreographers, writers, video photographers, editors, cabaret artists, and producers.

A Chorus Line, Broadway’s seventh longest-running show, does not follow a linear narrative but rather delves into the personalities of the 17 actors vying for eight spots on the “line.” Instead of performing, acting, or dancing for the show’s director (played by KO college counselor Matt Waldman) for the roles, the director challenges the actors to share their personal stories to reveal their motivations and inner workings. What ensues in the unfolding of the actors’ backgrounds is at turns hilarious and heartbreaking, much like life itself.

Impeccably cast, each student played their characters to perfection and inhabited their roles completely, holding their character’s stance for virtually the entire performance when not dancing or singing, no easy feat.

Excited nominees arrived dressed to the nines at the Halo Awards, snapping pictures and chatting with fellow classmates. The mood was a celebratory one as each school huddled together and awaited the results of each category. The reaction to the announcement of best musical was one for the books. The entire cast, crew, Director Kyle Reynolds, Choreographer Nicole Henkel, and teachers who had come to support the group streamed onstage with excitement and even shared a beautifully emotional group hug. Reynolds added to the moment with a memorable encore when he and Henkel stepped forward and did a quick Chorus Line original combination for the audience.

“Winning the Halo Award for The Best Musical in the State of Connecticut is a reminder of how hard work pays off,” Reynolds says. “Each year, the students in the musical dedicate hundreds of hours, late nights, weekends, etc. to ensure that our production is of the highest caliber.  And, they do it with a smile. Our students thrive in the rehearsal room because they see how deeply it translates to the stage. I’m so proud of the musical community we have here at KO, we work hard, share meals, laugh, ‘run it again’ for the 100th time and then celebrate our hard work whether we win or lose an award. Truthfully, I care most about the hard work, but this award is simply the cherry on top.”

Reynolds also emphasized the importance of recognizing the students who understudied the 17 leads. While they never got the opportunity to “go on,” every single one of them could have at a moment’s notice – and this is a testament to the program, community, and dedication of the cast.

“Here is what I know to be true: Any student who might be looking for a community of peers who work hard, genuinely enjoy spending time together, and dedicate three months to raising each other up while persevering through challenging material – join the KO Musical,” Reynolds said. “And, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get the opportunity to work with members of the original Broadway cast throughout the process!”

Lily Temkin ’25 echoed Reynolds enthusiasm. “Winning the HALO for best musical means to me that our hard work was seen. This show meant so much to all of us and brought together such a wonderful community. We knew how hard we worked and how amazing our production was so it feels so rewarding to be recognized for that.”

Theater rockstar Remy McCoy from the KO class 2020 said, “Watching KO’s theatre program’s continued growth and success makes me so so proud,” said Remy McCoy Class of 2020, who is in the prestigious theater program at New York University. “It’s rare to find a group of such ambitious students who are constantly pushing boundaries and wanting to improve. It makes me so happy to know that the hard working nature and professionalism of the program has carried on throughout the years allowing these artists to become more passionate about their craft and confident in their skills.”

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