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Theater League
Awards Scholarships
To Two Clifton H.S. Students

By on May 28, 2021

CLIFTON, NJ – Olivia Coronel and Carlo Lombardozzi, members of the Clifton High School (CHS) Class of 2021, are the recipients of the annual scholarship awards presented by the Theater League of Clifton. Each student will receive $500 to continue their studies.

Coronel will attend Marymount Manhattan College and will major in musical theater.  Lombardozzi will attend the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). Both schools are based in New York City.

“I had such a great experience being in the plays and the musicals at CHS and met some of my best friends,” Coronel said. “One of my favorite memories was winning first place for the ‘Character Analysis’ dramatic monologue at the Speech and Theatre Association of New Jersey (STANJ). I would like to thank all my teachers for their support and guidance.” 

Lombardozzi (in photo) said he’s been very fortunate to be a part of the theater department at CHS. “I learned how, if everyone contributes and puts in the dedication and communication that a production requires, success and quality is achieved. I plan to explore my passion and purpose further by attending AMDA in the fall to become a professional actor.” Lombardozzi received fourth place at the STANJ theatre competition this year for his performance of a comedic monologue.

Lisa Poggi, CHS drama teacher and spring musical director, lauded both students for their dedication and talent. “Olivia is a natural-born actor, but she also puts in the work to the best she can be. She connects with the pieces she works with and can really elicit an emotional response from her audience. She can tackle any piece and make it her own, but at the same time stay true to the intention of the piece.”

“Carlo has really shown dedication to the art of acting over the years,” Poggi continued. “He has shown skill working with all types of pieces from Shakespeare to contemporary, from comedic to dramatic. He has a natural talent, but has honed that by being open to feedback and putting in the time and work to become the best he can be.”

Dave Arts, a teacher at CHS, who directed Coronel during her junior year, said she was equally talented in comedic or dramatic roles. “Olivia was always the first to learn her lines. She was always prepared, always focused, and always a pleasure to work with.” (In photo: Olivia Coronel)

While both students will receive $500 for their future endeavors, Lombardozzi is the recipient of Theater League of Clifton’s Joanne Mazzarisi Memorial Scholarship. It was established in 2007 with a donation by the Mazzarisi family to honor their late daughter, a 1974 CHS graduate. She enjoyed a successful stage and movie career, including a recurring role on a daytime soap opera. Tragically, her career was cut short in 1997 during a medical procedure while under anesthesia.

Mark Peterson, president of the Theater League, coordinated with Jody Springer, CHS central wing school counselor, in the scholarship selection process. “Since our inception in 2005, the Theater League of Clifton’s primary goal has been to encourage our youth to engage in the arts,” Peterson said. “Contributing towards the education of students, either monetarily or by inviting all ages to participate in our productions, has been at the forefront of our mission.”

“It gives me great pleasure on the behalf of the Theater League of Clifton to award two deserving students each a scholarship, as they pursue plans to further their education upon their high school graduation. We are proud of their accomplishments and wish them every good wish for a bright and successful future.”

The Theater League of Clifton ( is a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering an appreciation of the arts through theatrical performances, while providing quality entertainment for all ages. The Theater League welcomes volunteers in all aspects of performance and production.

Members of the Theater League of Clifton’s executive board include Peterson; John Traier, treasurer; Jalmari Vanamo, vice president; Stephanie Peterson-Yoda, vice president; Elizabeth Eisenmenger, secretary; Clifton Councilwoman Rosemary Pino; Barbara Novak; Raymond Robertello; Christine Potash; Beth Kearney; Liana Grasso; Diane Morrell; and Michael Gabriele.

By Michael Gabriele