August is the month for what has become a much-anticipated tradition, The Players by the Sea Volunteer Celebration and Pelican Awards Presentation. On Saturday August 18, the event was once again held at Players’ theatre in Jacksonville Beach.
Hosts Jon Fine and Brooks Anne Meierdierks opened this year’s event . They introduced this year’s Miss Pelican, Ashley Augustyniak, who was responsible for presenting the engraved awards to the winners as they were named by the hosts. This year, Miranda Lawson, a former Miss Pelican, made a surprise appearance as a co-host. Ms. Lawson, home on vacation, now makes her home in California where she is carving out a successful career in musical theatre. She has just performed the role of Dorothy in “The Wizard of Oz” in a Sacramento, California theatre.
Warming up the audience in an opening duet were two of Players’ favorite performers, Erik DeCicco and Aaron Marshall. The lyrics, which involved a meditation about reciprocal feelings, where very funny and had the audience laughing and applauding.
Players’ President Holly Gutshall welcomed the lively audience with good news; this past year was very successful financially and artistically. Joe Schwarz, Players’ Executive Director, who presented the Outstanding Service Award, said that this was Players’ best year ever in both categories. He attributed much of the success to the theatre’s tireless volunteers. Joe indicated that he had compiled a log showing that volunteers contributed 32,000 volunteer hours this past season to Players by the Sea.
Best Play: Superior Donuts
Best Musical: Next to Normal
Best Director of a Play: Jason Collins – Superior Donuts
Best Director of a Musical: Samuel Fisher – Next to Normal
Best Actress in a Play: Kasi Walters – Bug
Best Actress in a Musical: Leslie Richart – Next to Normal
Best Actor in a Play: Jonathan Ross – Bug
Best Actor in a Musical: Erik DeCicco – Next to Normal
Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Jon Fine – Superior Donuts
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Chris Robertson – Next to Normal
Best Supporting Actress in a Play: Evelyn Peralta -The Trojan Women
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Aaron Marshall – Reefer Madness
Outstanding Choreography: Alejandro A. Rodriquez – Reefer Madness
Outstanding Musical Direction: Bryant Miano & Matt Morgan – Next to Normal
Outstanding Stage Manger: Bill Hastede – Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Outstanding Young Performer: Dante Gonzalez – The Trojan Women & Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Best Set Design Studio: Sarah Marino – Superior Donuts
Best Set Design Main Stage : Brian Grant – Reefer Madness
Best Lighting Design Studio: Jim Wiggins – Bug
Best Lighting Design Main Stage: Jim Wiggins – The Trojan Women
Best Costume Design: Dana Marie Ferger & Tiffany Jordan – Reefer Madness
Outstanding Backstage Volunteer: Pablo Gonzalez
Outstanding Service: Pat Richart
After a wonderful evening of fun and awards and cheering and applause , the enthusiastic crowd moved into the Grune Family Gallery for a reception and delicious buffet prepared by Players’ answer to Julia Child, namely super volunteer Michelle Wiggins.