On May 22, 2003, the State Theatre Center for the Arts made history by becoming the first performing arts center in the country to produce – along with broadcast partner WFMZ Channel 69 – a three-hour, live television show to recognize and reward outstanding achievement in local high school musical theater. It was an extraordinary triumph for creator and executive producer Shelley Brown and her dedicated staff. Regional high schools from the Lehigh, Northampton and Warren County, NJ region now had their own TONY®’s – The FREDDY© Awards.
In a society where performing arts are given far less attention than sports and academics, the State Theatre is committed to bringing attention to these talented students and preserving the future of theater. It is estimated that this program directly affects over 2,900 students in our area each year. In addition, hundreds of thousands of people experience the students’ hard work and dedication to theater arts by enjoying the FREDDY© Awards Ceremony, which is broadcast live on WFMZ Channel 69. Over $2 million in Scholarships, Internships, and Community Awards have been distributed through the FREDDY© Awards program since 2003.
The FREDDY© Awards Program has been awarded several community awards including the Easton Chamber of Commerce 2022 Pride of Easton Award, the 2008 Two Rivers Area Chamber of Commerce Award, the 2011 Allentown Arts Ovation Award, 2015 United Way: Air Products Leonard Pool Award, the 2016 Bethlehem Fine Arts Tribute Awards, and the 2017 Northampton County Council of Teachers: Friends of Education Award.
The broadcast has been honored with three regional EMMY Awards, in 2005, 2011, and 2019, and has also received five additional EMMY Nominations, seven Pennsylvania Association of Broadcasters Awards, including the 2018 Judge’s Merit Award for Television, and six Associated Press Awards for Public Affairs. The 2008 FREDDY© program was the subject of a feature-length film documentary, Most Valuable Players, by Canyon Back Films, Los Angeles. Released in 2010, the documentary is part of Oprah Winfrey Network’s (OWN) documentary film club which premiered in 2011.
The FREDDY© Awards are named after J. “Fred” Osterstock, the legendary “Fred the Ghost” of the State Theatre, who managed the company that owned the theatre from 1936 until his death in 1957.
The 2023 FREDDY© Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 25th.
The FREDDY© Awards program is an approved Educational Improvement Organization under the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Education Improvement Tax Credit program (EITC) due to its strong educational value. Companies that receive EITC allocations can direct them in support of the FREDDY© program. We thank our 2023 EITC supporters, Truist Bank, Capital BlueCross, PPL, Fulton Bank, Fidelity Bank, Philadelphia Insurance, People’s Security Bank & Trust, and Weis Markets.