Nevin makes school history as theatre award finalist


For the past 10 years Broadway in Chicago has celebrated achievement in high school theatre with its presentation of the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards and Coal City High School was recognized with the selection of Riley Nevin as one of the state’s most outstanding performers.
Nevin, a senior, was one of 12 nominees up for Best Actor in a High School Musical and during a virtual ceremony on Monday evening he made school history with his selection as a top three finalist for the award.
His selection was made by a panel of judges that included Adam Jacobs, who originated the role of Aladdin in Disney’s Aladdin on Broadway.
As his name was announced a thunderous applause rang out from a group that had gathered in the Coal City Performing Arts Center to watch the virtual ceremony, from between the stage curtains a few could see his reaction as he fell back in his chair, hands running through his hair and a smile on his face.
It had been his goal to be named a finalist, and although the award went to another performer [a student enrolled at Bradley-Bourbonnais High School], his family and friends who had come to support him sent up an even more rousing applause as he made his way out from behind the stage curtains were he had been logged into the awards program hosted by Broadway in Chicago and sponsored by NBC5.
For a second consecutive year directly related to the COVID -19 pandemic, IHSMTA limited its annual awards to the selection of Best Actor and Actress. Prior to 2020, participating schools were evaluated and nominees and winners were selected in the areas of Best Production, Best Scenic Design, Best Ensemble and Best Direction. Coal City Theatre Department has received multiple nominations over the years in each of the categories including multiple wins in the area of scenic design.
Nevin is the fifth Coal City student performer to be selected in the acting category since the theatre department entered the program in 2014, and again is just the first finalist in the acting awards.
The son of Matt and Nikole Nevin, he began performing in intermediate school and has since been seen on stage in his school’s middle and high school productions, as well as community and professional theatre. He is a two-time selection to the Illinois Theatre Association’s All-State production landing the leading male role in the 2019 production of Aida.
This past weekend he wrapped up his high school performances as Shakespeare in Something Rotten! Some of his other notable school performances include Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Miles Tuck in Tuck Everlasting, and Pony Boy in The Outsiders. This past year he also appeared as Moritz in Small Town Theatrics production of Spring Awakening and was cast as henry in the Beverly Arts Centers production of Next to Normal.
Nevin plans obtain a degree and pursue a career in musical theater.