Being nominated for a “Zoni” is one of the most exhilarating moments for Arizona theater actors. Cecilia Iole can certainly agree with that.
Iole is an actress at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre and a junior at Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe. She has been nominated for best actress in a major role in a children’s musical for her portrayal of the character Ida in Honk!
Click here to watch Ahwatukee Children's Theatre's opening number of Honk! The AriZoni Theatre Awards are Arizona’s version of the Tony Awards, giving out annual best-in-show awards to professional and community theaters around the Valley.
Honk!, which played at the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre this past April, was nominated for five ariZonis this year. Andrew Long was nominated for best actor in a major role in a children’s musical. Josh Hedeby and Jamie Dicarlo were both nominated for best actor in a supporting role in a children’s musical and Dave Mittel was nominated for best director in a children’s musical. The play itself was nominated for best overall production.
Iole, along with her fellow cast mates and director, will attend the awards ceremony on Sept. 21 at the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix. Staying as true as possible to the Tony Awards in New York City, the ariZonis will be a formal ceremony, complete with red carpets, tuxes and dresses.
“It’s always been my dream to be nominated for a ‘Zoni.’ I’m so thrilled,” Iole said.
Although this is her first ariZoni nomination, Iole is no newcomer to the theater scene. A passionate singer, actress and dancer, she has been in 18 productions and is about to begin her nineteenth as Agnes in Meet Me in St. Louis at the Broadway Palm Dinner Theater.
She has performed with the Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre once before as Mayzie LaBird in Seussical, one of her favorite productions. Iole said she likes working with ACT because of their “good sense of family.”
Honk!, a musical version of Hans Christian Anderson’s The Ugly Duckling, is aimed towards children, yet delivers a timeless message of self confidence and being happy with who you are.
“It was such a fun, upbeat musical ... I sang four songs and had a lot of speaking parts,” she said.
Iole’s love of the theater will no doubt play a role in her plans for the future. She has already planned to tour three of the best performing arts schools this fall; Carnegie Melon, New York University and Emerson College in Boston.
“Broadway is my goal. I would love to play Belle in Beauty and the Beast. That’s the first musical I ever remember seeing,” she said.
Iole said she was grateful to her parents for helping her with everything she is involved in, and especially thankful for chauffeuring her around.
The Ahwatukee Children’s Theatre is a non-profit organization with over 300 students and performers. The theater is dedicated to teaching children to appreciate the fine arts.
Leslie D’Ambrosio is interning this semester at Ahwatukee Foothills News. She is a sophomore at Arizona State University.