Players by the Sea held its annual Pelican Awards on Sunday, August 20, 2016 at its theatre at 106 North Sixth Street, in Jacksonville Beach, Florida.

The name for the awards was chosen many years ago, back when the theatre was located just one block from the ocean, where pelicans were frequent visitors. Players moved into its current expanded home in 1999 and has been ever-changing; delighting theatre-goers with facility upgrades year after year. Look for even more changes in the future, as the entrance will soon have a garden and palm trees.

pellican awards 2016 022PELICANROCKThe Pelicans are Players’ version of the annual Tony Awards, and are a festive occasion for all those involved in the many on-stage and off-stage volunteer roles required to make outstanding community theatre happen, along with their many supporters and fans. The 2016 version was a night club setting, with a lectern sporting a painting of a pelican, and dramatic lighting mixed with abundant fog.

The 2016 Pelicans had a lot more music than previously. The evening opened with Master of Ceremonies Bill Ratliff introducing Jocelyn Geronimo, the director of the Summer Camp musical “House of Rock,” followed by the presentation of a selection from the show. The segment featured many of the young performers dancing and singing with Harrison Breault, a Jacksonville University theatre major, leading the band on guitar. Later in the evening, Kaylin Ciera Peavie, a Douglas Anderson School of the Arts student, performed a moving violin solo. The evening ended with what seemed to be the entire cast of “Memphis” on stage to reprise a rousing number from that show.

The full-house audience was very vocal, and showed their appreciation with extended applause after each presentation. And they were certainly well fed; with an array of appetizers before the awards and additional offerings of other delicious foods afterwards. The food was provided by the theatre’s volunteers.

The winners who received an engraved plaque were:

Best Play 2015-2016 – All The Way
Best Musical – Memphis
Best Director of a Play – Bradley Akers-Almost Maine
Best Director of a Musial – Jereme Raickett-Memphis
Best Actor in a Play – Bill Ratliff-All The Way
Best Actress in a Play – Megan Georgeo-Almost Maine
Best Supporting Actor in a Play – Milton Threadcraft-All The Way
Best Supporting Actress in a Play – Gloria Ware-All The Way
Best Actor in a Musical – Rodney Holmes-Memphis
Best Actress in a Musical – Rashawnda Foster-Memphis
Best Supporting Actor in a Musical – Jereme Raickett- La Cage Aux Folles
Best Supporting Actress in a Musical – Gloria Ware-Memphis
Outstanding Musical Direction – Meachum Clarke-Memphis
Outstanding Choreography – J’royce Jata-Memphis
Best Set Design – Katie Dawson-Memphis
Best Lighting Design – Nicole Anderson-Shipwrecked! An Entertainment & Jim Wiggin-Memphis
Best Costume Design – Lindsay Curry-Godspell
Outstanding Stage Manager – Amy Tillotson-La Cage Aux Folles
Outstanding Backstage Volunteer – Brandon Hines
Players by the Sea Executive Director Joe Schwarz presented the final award of the evening, for Outstanding Service, to Dave Gowan, the current President of Players.
We are looking forward to the 2016-2017 Pelican Awards, which is going to be another outstanding season for Players. “Into the Woods” opens on September 16; check out the rest of the season at or visit their Facebook page.

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.