Morgan Vaughan, a professional theater actress and singer who grew up in East Hampton, is returning to her East End theater roots.
Vaughan, who acted during high school and later found success in musicals and plays from Los Angeles to New York, will be the coordinator of this year's 10th annual Teeny Awards, an high school theater awards show modeled after the Tony Awards in New York City.
Vaughan will organize who the judges will be at this year's Teeny Awards and produce the awards ceremony for the winners in June. She said she hopes to find 25 to 30 volunteer judges to rate high school shows across the East End in the fall and spring.
"I kind of know the ropes," Vaughan said. "I know what it takes to run a good show and have a good theater company."
She recently returned to the East End with her husband, who is also an actor, to make the local arts scene their new "home base."
Vaughan said she was honored to take the position, as it reminded her of her own experiences acting in musicals and shows during high school.
"I was the drama geek person, like Glee or something," Vaughan joked. Yet Vaughan credits much of her professional success, as well as her personal growth, to her childhood theater troupes.
"I do think that the arts, for teenagers especially, enriches their lives even if, and especially if, they don't become actors," she said. "What we're focusing on this year is that there are tons of Teeny Award alumni who are actors and singers, but there are people who did high school theater who are now business leaders."
The arts, she said, help kids who would have otherwise "fallen through the cracks" find a purpose and learn valuable life skills.
"It's about being a more well-rounded person," Vaughan said. "I wish I had known [as a high school student] that what I was learning wasn't necessarily how to sing and how to dance. I didn't realize that what I was being skilled at was being able to speak to people, self-confidence, all these other things that could have led to something else too."
The Teeny Awards will be held at a ceremony in June. The winners will be chosen based on judging of local teen theater companies over the next year.