Players by the Sea wrapped up its 49th season on August 15, 2015 at their playhouse in Jacksonville Beach, with their annual volunteer celebration and awards ceremony.

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.

pelican 2015 032Best Director of a musical – Bradley Akers for Aida

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

pelican 2015 029Best 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 for tickets and additional information.

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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.

october, 2021