Westchester High School Senior Earns Playwriting Award For 'Nervous'

Rye Neck High School senior Kristina Dignelli, a talented actor and writer, won second place in the Palace Theatre’s 2018 Ernie DiMattia Emerging Young Artist Scholarship Award for her original play “Nervous.”

Rye Neck High School senior Kristina Dignelli
Rye Neck High School senior Kristina Dignelli Photo Credit: Provided/ Rye Neck Union Free School District

“Kristina really exemplifies the finest of our Rye Neck theater program,” said theater director Scott Harris, who encouraged Dignelli along with the rest of his Advanced Acting class students to enter the playwriting competition. “I am just so proud of her. As a student she is kind and hardworking, and truly deserves this award and recognition.”

In addition to earning a $600 scholarship, Dignelli has been invited to attend the annual awards ceremony on June 4 where her play will be performed onstage by a group of professional actors. 

Dignelli’s 15-minute play is about a teenage boy and girl arranging a first date.

As an accomplished actor, Dignelli has had leading roles in the fall plays and spring musicals for the last several years at Rye Neck High School. In “Damn Yankees,” she took on the role of Ms. Welch, the owner of the baseball team; in “Noises Off,” she played Brooke, one of the lead characters; and in last year’s “And Then There Were None,” she played Vera Claythorne, one of the most challenging roles in the show. 

In addition, Dignelli is president of the school’s chapter of the International Thespian Society, an honor society for high school students who are recognized for their dedication and participation in the theater and performing arts. 

This year, she was instrumental in establishing a program where cast members invite young children backstage for theater tours on the day of their matinee performance. They’ve also visited Daniel Warren Elementary School and F.E. Bellows Elementary School to perform scenes and songs for the younger students.

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