Tuesday, 23 October 2018 11:25

The Grand Awards Goes Out With a Bang

Written by  Kayla Sosa
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The cast of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s “Shrek” accepts the Grand Award for Outstanding Musical. The cast of Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s “Shrek” accepts the Grand Award for Outstanding Musical.

Sunday night, the Grand rapids theater community rallied together for the last Grand Awards at Fountain Street Church. Coming out dressed to the nines, loud and full of joy, everyone was there to have a good night.

The musical “Shrek,” performed by Grand Rapids Civic Theatre in June, cleaned up nicely with the most awards, totaling nine, including Outstanding Musical. Coming in a close second was Jewish Theatre’s “Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First,” also receiving Outstanding Play.

Sprinkled throughout the awards were short performances from shows performed in the past year. One of the most memorable performances was from Circle Theatre and some of the cast of “Fun Home,” a musical about a lesbian graphic novelist and her experience coming out. In the scene, young Evangeline VanderArk (Young Allison) sings a song about a delivery woman she sees in a restaurant with her dad. Also in the scene is Eirann Betka (Allison) and Jason Morrison (Bruce).

The performance of Actors’ Theatre’s “Passing Strange” - as the announcer said - “spoke for itself” when the voice of the late Nathaniel Beals, who played the narrator in the show in November 2017, came over the speaker system singing his lines in the show. The cast acted their parts around his recording, and there was a quiet, special attention being paid by the audience for a few moments.

There were three scholarships - a total of $3,000 - given out to college students during the night, and it was emphasized that the scholarships will continue even though the Grand Awards won’t.

Paul Dreher Scholarship Winner: Marcus Chapman
Norma Brink Scholarship Winner: Rachel Varley
David and Emma Nicolette Scholarship Winner: Maura Gill

Costume Designer Robert A Fowle won the Norma Brink Lifetime Achievement Award.

Every acceptance speech was laced with words of gratitude, funny memories and loving words to so many people in the room. It’s clear to see how close the Grand Rapids theater community is. Alyssa Bauer, who won Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical, said “you can’t be in this room without knowing you belong.”

“Guys, this GR community thing that we have going on here: so special,” Madeline Jones said in her acceptance speech for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical.

Shane German, who spoke of not being accepted by his family when he came out, said he found a home in Grand Rapids three years ago.

“Three years ago, you made me feel loved,” he smiled, accepting his award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play.

Another topic of the night was that there still is work to be done in diversifying the theater community.

Titus Hankins, in his acceptance speech for Outstanding Support Actor in a Musical, asked all of the people of color in the room to raise their hands. Looking around, there weren’t more than ten to be seen.

“Can we change this?” Hankins asked the crowd, receiving cheers and yells in supportive response. He continued by saying the community needs to figure out how to make these people feel welcome.

Overall, the night was filled with love and a curiosity as to what will happen next after this year’s 22nd and final Grand Awards.

Through it all, everyone made the best of the night. As Michelle Urbane said a couple times throughout the night: “I’m so glad we’re going out with a bang, not a fizzle!”

 

Full list of Grand Awards:

Outstanding Musical: Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Play: Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First, Jewish Theatre Outstanding Lead Actress in a Musical: Alyssa Bauer, My Fair Lady, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Musical: Scott Mellema, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play: Mary Brown, Imaginary Invalid, Master Arts Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actor in a Play: Shane German, Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First, Jewish Theatre
Outstanding Direction of a Musical: Bruce Tinker, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Direction of a Play: Michelle Urbane, Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First, Jewish Theatre
Outstanding Choreography: Torrey Thomas, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Music Direction: Charles Hutchins, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Scenic Design: David Len, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Lighting Design: Catherine Marlett-Dreher, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Costume Design: Robert Fowle and Kathy Johnson, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Properties Design: Michael Wilson, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Sound Design: Sam Johnson, My Fair Lady, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Musical: Madeline Jones, Fun Home, Circle Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical: Titus Hankins, Shrek, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Play: Bernice Houseward, Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First, Jewish Theatre
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Play: Isaac Thornsen, Torch Song Trilogy Act III: Women and Children First, Jewish Theatre
Outstanding Lead Actress in a College Production: Marqea Lee, Detroit ‘67, GRCC
Outstanding Lead Actor in a College Production: David Dekens, This is Our Youth, GRCC
Outstanding Supporting Actress in a College Production: Christine Sankey, Oklahoma, GVSU
Outstanding Supporting Actor in a College Production: Max Elkiss, Oklahoma, GVSU
Outstanding Direction of a College Production: Sammy A Publes, Detroit ‘67, GRCC
Outstanding College Production: Detroit ‘67, GRCC
Outstanding Theatre For Young Audiences: School of Rock, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre

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