Theatre Jacksonville held its annual membership meeting and volunteer awards ceremony on August 2, 2015 at 927 Forsyth in downtown Jacksonville, Florida.

Outgoing President Jennifer Mansfield, completing her second term, recapped the shows of the previous season and reported that it was both artistically and financially very successful. Theatre Jacksonville once again finished in the black. She was especially proud of the fourteen thousand volunteer hours donated by people in the community. She pointed out the financial support from a number of corporate sponsors that paved the way to a successful year, which included The Endowed Event Grant Fund, recently established by Delores Barr Weaver through The Community Foundation of Northeast Florida. The Fund is uniquely designed to support local non-profits by providing an annual grant of ten thousand dollars to designated recipients to support a major fund-raising event each year. Theatre Jacksonville’s grant went toward the production of “The Miracle Worker.”

The membership approved the appointment of new president Mike Darragh, and several new board members.

The nominees for Outstanding Actress in a supporting roles included Dana Johnson (Don’t Dress for Dinner), Jenny Medure (Hairspray), Angela Roberts (Hairspray), Blythe Scott (Time Stands Still), and the winner, Libby Kellmanson as Helen Keller in “The Miracle Worker.”

Nominated for Outstanding Actor in a supporting role were David Gile (Time Stands Still), Eilas Hionides (Hairspray), Allen Morton (Love Goes to Press), Steve Philips (Hairspray), Brad Trowbridge (Figaro), and the winner, Neal Thorburn as Bazile/Antonio/Bridoison in “Figaro.”

In the Outstanding Actor category, the nominees were Jordan Born (The Miracle Worker), Geoffrey King (Figaro), Kurt McCall (Hairspray), and the winner, Jay Bilderback as Figaro in “Figaro.”

For Outstanding Actress in a leading role, four ladies were nominated. They included Sommer Farhat (Figaro), Laura Meier (The Miracle Worker), Erin Salem (Time Stands Still) and the winner: Ilana Gould as Tracy Turnblad in Hairspray.

“Love Goes to Press” took the honors for Outstanding Set, Properties, and Set Dressing, all designed by David Dawson. “Figaro” received the awards for Outstanding Costumes, by Tracy Olin, and Outstanding Light Design, again by Mr. Dawson.

The plays under consideration for Outstanding Production were: “Love Goes to Press,” directed by Tony Walsh; “Figaro,” directed by Amy Canning; “Time Stands Still,” directed by Michael Lipp, “Don’t Dress for Dinner” directed by Samuel Fisher; “The Miracle Worker,” directed by Shirley Sacks; and “Hairspray,” directed by Curtis Williams. “Hairspray” directed and choreographed by Curtis Williams and with musical direction by Jay Ivey, was selected as the Outstanding Play.

Sarah Boone, Executive Director of Theatre Jacksonville, expressed her thanks for all the volunteers as she has done all year during pre-show curtain speeches. TJ has many unseen volunteers who help with important functions that must be done to keep the theatre running smoothly. Among other things, they answer phones, label envelopes, sew costumes, build sets, and usher. Several volunteers received awards for providing outstanding assistance: Shannon Sumpter, for Outstanding Teen, Spencer Carr for Backstage and Tech, Gary Swallow for Front of House, and Sabrina Rockwell for All Around. Additionally there was a “We Couldn’t Do it Without You Award,” which went to Maya Adkins for photography, Mickey Leger for wig design, Curtis Williams for bobbins, buttons and bows, and Erin Bailey for social media.

Ms. Boone was presented with a plaque from EU Jacksonville in recognition and appreciation of distinguished performance in her continuing role as Community Theatre Executive Director.

The formal portion of the meeting finished with Ms. Boone giving out a number of door prizes donated by local merchants, a final curtain on a wonderful afternoon of food, fun, and awards that marked the end of another fabulous Theatre Jacksonville season.

About Dick Kerekes & Leisla Sansom

The Dual Critics of EU Jacksonville have been reviewing plays together for the past nine years. Dick Kerekes has been a critic since 1980, starting with The First Coast Entertainer and continuing as the paper morphed into EU Jacksonville. Leisla Sansom wrote reviews from time to time in the early 80s, but was otherwise occupied in the business world. As a writing team, they have attended almost thirty Humana Festivals of New America Plays at Actors Theatre in Louisville, Kentucky, and many of the annual conferences sponsored by the American Theatre Critics Association, which are held in cities throughout the country. They have reviewed plays in Cincinnati, Chicago, Miami, Sarasota, Minneapolis, Orlando, New York, Philadelphia, Sarasota, San Francisco, Shepherdstown, and The Eugene O’Neill Center in Waterford, Massachusetts. They currently review about one hundred plays annually in the North Florida area theaters, which include community, college, university, and professional productions.