The Dual Critics have attended a number of the celebrations, but this year’s full house audience seemed particularly lively and excited. The exuberance no doubt reflected Players very successful past season, and the anticipation of the big 50th Season opening in September.Bradley Akers and Sadie LaManna were the Masters of Ceremony, with various actors tapped to present individual awards.
A new feature was The Gold Brown Bag Awards, by long-time Players supporter and jack of all trades involving theatre, Gail Featheringill. She sketched out a humorous history of Players, beginning with the locations the group used over the past fifty years. There was the woman’s club, an aging movie theatre on First Street, a space above a skating rink facing the ocean, and a return to First Street to a storefront which was once a Five and Dime store. The search for a permanent home ended with the purchase of an old building on Tenth Street that was previously used as a laundry. An extensive renovation followed; the theatre now has a comfortable, spacious permanent home, with both main stage and studio spaces. And rehearsal space and an art gallery. The audience heard many dropped names during the presentation, names of early benefactors and movers and shakers who helped (sometimes) this now vibrant theatre group reach its current popularity. Ms Featheringill has held almost every position in the theatre, except treasurer or playwright. The latter may be forthcoming, as she writes some funny material.
The winners who received an engraved plaque were:
Best Play 2014-2015 – August: Osage County
Best Musical – Aida
Best Director of a play –Jason Collins, for Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike.
Best Actor in a play – Bill Ratliff in The Three Trials of Oscar Wilde
Best Actress in a play – Simone Aden Reid in Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike
Best Supporting Actor in a play – Mark Wright in August: Osage County
Best Supporting Actress in a play – Holly Gutshall in August: Osage County
Best Supporting Actor in a Musial – Willie Beaton II in Aida
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – a tie – Sadie LaManna in Jesus Christ, Superstar & Kat McLeod in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
Best Actor in a Musical – Gary Baker in The Great American Trailer Park Christmas Musical
Best Actress in a Musical – Kerri Hicks in Aida
Outstanding Choreography – Nichole Ignacio for Aida
Best Musical Director – Zeek Smith for Aida
Best Set Design Mainstage & Studio – Tom Fallon for August: Osage County & Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
Best Lighting Design Mainstage & Studio – Jim Wiggins for Aida & Mr. Burns: a Post Electric Play
Best Costume Design – Cortney English for Jesus Christ Superstar
Outstanding Stage Manager – Christopher Farrell for Mr. Burns: A Post-Electric Play
Outstanding Backstage Volunteers – Laurel & Livia Wilson
Outstanding Service – Nina Williams
The evening included two unscheduled special awards. Executive Director Joe Schwarz and long-time theatre critic Dick Kerekes were both presented with plaques from EU Jacksonville honoring their contributions to the theatre community.
The main thing actors like to do besides acting is eating and after the last award had been handed out, everyone enjoyed excellent food from Mojos. Players are looking forward to another great season beginning September 18th with a fantastic gala and the musical “La Cage aux Folles.” Call 249-0289 or visit playersbythesea.org for tickets and additional information.