Tag Archives: The Grand Rapids Press

Announcing the Grand Award Winners…

The following article can be found on www.mlive.com

Actors’ Theatre leads Grand Award winners with outstanding musical, play

Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, listens to Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors' Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

Henry, played by Duncan McCarger, listens to Natalie, played by Maggie Nye, in a scene from Next to Normal by Actors’ Theatre. (Jon M. Brouwer|MLIVE.COM)

By Sue Merrell | grentertainment@mlive.com

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — Racking up awards is next to normal for Actors’ Theatre, which won a total of 11 Grand Awards Sunday night including Outstanding Musical for “Next to Normal” and Outstanding Play for “A Steady Rain.” Circle Theatre productions won seven awards including four for the season’s final show, “Sweeney Todd.”

“It’s just been a really good year for theatre,” said Larry Young, who won the lead actor award for “Sweeney Todd.” Young also was nominated as the lead actor in “Next to Normal.” Both shows were favorites for Young, who said he felt more of a connection to “Next to Normal” which deals with mental illness in a realistic, sympathetic manner.

Grand Awards, which raises money for the Combined Theater Scholarships, filled Civic Theatre with a rowdy crowd of dressed up performers, ranging from an oversized female impersonator to child actress nominee Zoe Meyering. In honor of the 17th annual event, the evening opened with a snazzy dance routine by a group of 17-year-olds, who then ran the rest of the show by announcing the nominees and winners.

A highlight of the three-hour program was a tribute to Paul Dreher, longtime managing director of Civic Theatre, who died in June. The tribute featured many area performers, including Actors’ Theatre founder Fred Sebulske, coloratura pops artist Diane Penning-Koperski, Circle managing director Lynne Brown-Tepper and Chicago actor Kirk Swenk, all performing songs they learned at Civic Theatre under the direction of Dreher.

Dreher also received posthumous Grand Awards for his direction of “Amadeus” at Aquinas College and for his lighting design, with daughter Catherine Marlett Dreher, for “Wait Until Dark.”

Duane Davis, longtime director of choral music for Grand Rapids Community College, received the Norma Brink Lifetime Achievement award. Lou Vanderhave received a special award for his volunteer commitment. The stage crew of “Legally Blonde” won the new techie award for collecting the most additional contributions for Combined Theatre Scholarships.

This year’s scholarship recipients are Brook Bruce Purnell, Daniel Orris Jr. and Will Vicari.

After the presentations ended, and people were starting to leave, a flash mob dance routine snowballed on the stage, starting with one dancer, then three, five, more. Local actress Ellie Frances was brought onto the stage and given roses by many more performers who filed onto the stage. Then her friend, local actress Tracey Walker, took a microphone, got down on one knee and proposed before the assembled friends and family. The acceptance was sealed with a kiss and a ring.

Here’s a list of this year’s Grand Award winners:

• Outstanding Musical: “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
Lead Actor: Larry Young, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle)
• Lead Actress: Kelly Carey, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Supporting Actor: Stephen Grey, “ Sweeney Todd”
• Supporting Actress: Maggie Nye, “Next to Normal”
• Director: Fred Sebulske, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Musical Direction: Wright McCargar, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle)
• Choreography: Mary Lohman, “The Wedding Singer” (Circle)

• Outstanding Play: “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)
• Lead Actor : (Actors’); Todd Lewis, “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)
• Lead Actress: Samantha Rena Dam, “Nadia”(Actors’)
• Supporting Actor: Andrew McClelland, “Looking for Normal” (Actors’)
• Supporting Actress: Kitty Carrico Carpenter, “Looking for Normal” (Actors’)
Director :Jeralyn Pinsky, “A Steady Rain” (Actors’)

• Scenic Design: Christian Poquette, “Next to Normal” (Actors’)
• Lighting Design: Catherine Marlett Dreher, “Sweeney Todd” (Circle); Paul A. Dreher and Catherine Marlett Dreher, “Wait Until Dark” (Circle)
• Costume Design: Robert Fowle “Boeing-Boeing” (Circle)

• Outstanding Production: “Amadeus” (Aquinas)
• Lead Actor: Micah Hazel, “The Ladies Man” (GRCC)
• Lead Actress: Rachel Varley, “Reckless” (Aquinas)
• Supporting Actor: Christopher VanderArk, “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown” (Cornerstone)
• Supporting Actress: Meeka Postman, “Crooked” (GRCC)
• Direction: Paul A Dreher, “Amadeus” (Aquinas)

• Outstanding production: “The Mystic Tale of Aladdin” (Circle).

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Tonight’s Production of “Beauty Queen of Leenane” is SOLD OUT

We are pleased to announce that Friday night’s production of Beauty Queen of Leenane is SOLD OUT!

There are few more seats available for Saturday and Sunday’s performances. If you are interested in seeing this amazing, much talked about production, we recommend you reserve your tickets online immediately. Go to http://actorstheatregrandrapids.org/beauty-queen-of-leenane to reserve tickets.

Remember, this production is being hosted by Dog Story Theatre, so there are a smaller number of seats available than at our usual home of Spectrum Theatre. Ordering in advance is highly recommended.

See what others are saying about Beauty Queen of Leenane:

The Beauty Queen of Leenane receives three and a half stars out of four in the review on mlive.com

Sue Merrell also wrote a personal piece on her blog, Laughing for a Living: Grand Canyon of Leenane

Hear an interview with Fred Sebulske and cast members on GVSU with Shelley Irwin

Beauty Queen of Leenane at Actors' Theatre

“Beauty Queen of Leenane” by Martin McDonagh by Actors’ Theatre, hosted at Dog Story Theatre, 7 Jefferson Ave. SE

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Congratulations to Combined Theatre Scholarship Winners!

From www.mlive.com:

Three young theatrical artists in Grand Rapids awarded $6,000 in Combined Theatre Scholarships

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Three scholarships worth $6,000 were presented to area theater students last week during Festival of Arts.

The Combined Theatre Scholarship program, managed through the Grand Rapids Foundation, annually awards three scholarships, selected by a committee representing Actors’ Theatre, Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, Circle Theatre, Jewish Theatre, Heritage Theatre Group and Broadway Grand Rapids.

The three 2013 Combined Theatre Scholarship winners are Brooke Bruce Purnell, Daniel Orris Jr., and L. William Vicari.

Each will receive a $2,000 scholarship.

The annual Grand Awards, recognizing outstanding achievement in Grand Rapids-area community theater, helps raise money for the Combined Theatre Scholarship Fund for high school and college students.

The 2013 winners are:

• Daniel Orris Jr., of Kentwood, awarded the David and Emma Nicolette Scholarship, has appeared as Billy Robins in “An American Daughter” and Simcha Grubrnik in “The Last Laugh,” both with Jewish Theatre of Grand Rapids. But most of the Aquinas College student’s work in community and college theatre has been on deck crews or as light board or sound board operators for productions including “Reckless” at Aquinas College, “A Steady Rain” for Actors’ Theatre, and “See How They Run” for Circle Theatre among others.

• Brook Bruce Purnell, of Grand Rapids, awarded the Norma Brink Scholarship, has worked backstage in Circle Theatre’s production of “Treasure Island,” Jewish Theatre’s production of “My Name is Asher Lev,” and Civic Theatre’s production of “Fame: The Musical.”

But the student at Aquinas College has starred as Agnes in Heritage Theatre’s production of “School for Wives” and as Karen in Grand Rapids Community College’s production of “For Better” as well as in ensemble casts for Civic Theatre’s production of “James and the Giant Peach” and in Aquinas College productions of “Chicago: The Musical” and “Amadeus.”

• Will Vicari, awarded the Grand Award Scholarship, first appeared as a street urchin in Opera Grand Rapids’ production of “La Boheme” in 2004 and has since appeared in the children’s ensemble of the national tour of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat,” presented by Broadway Grand Rapids, in 2005.

The student at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School also has played Kurt in Grand Rapids Civic Theatre’s 2007 production of “The Sound of Music,” in the ensemble of Circle Theatre’s 2010 production of “Annie,” and as the Ghost of Christmas Past in Civic Theatre’s 2012 production of “A Christmas Carol.”

But his primary interest is in design and production, especially wig and makeup design, working on over 20 area productions since 2010 including for “How to Succeed in Business” and “Ain’t Misbehavin” with Circle Theatre, “The Magic Flute” for Opera Grand Rapids, and “Hairspray,” “Night of the Living Dead” and “The Wizard of Oz” for Civic Theatre.

The three winners were acknowledged Saturday, June 8, 2013 on the Calder Stage during Festival of the Arts. They’ll be recognized again at the 17th annual Grand Awards, which will be held in the fall.

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Actors’ Congratulates Addison Reid Coe on His Role in “West Side Story”

Addison Reid Coe with Maggie Nye in “Spring Awakening,” Dec. 2012. Photo Credit: Moments in Life Photography.

Actors’ patrons will remember Addison Reid Coe from last year’s production of Spring Awakening. Addison will be playing Tony in the upcoming national tour of West Side Story.

For more information, check out this article on mlive.com by John Liberty:

KALAMAZOO, MI — If anyone is waiting to buy tickets to see the revival of“West Side Story” come through Miller Auditorium, you may want to act soon.

One of the show’s stars,Addison Reid Coe, is a native of Rochester and a graduate of Calvin College in Grand Rapids. During a phone interview with Coe from his home in New York City, the 25-year-old actor said his mom bought around 80 tickets to both shows on Nov 13-14.

Coe, who also has performed with the Grand Rapids Actors Theatre, Calvin College Theater Company and the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre, among others, said she purchased enough tickets for friends, family and “everyone in between.” The Kalamazoo performance will be the only one in Michigan for the tour. Coe, who will play Tony, said he’ll be “energized in a different way” for the West Michigan performances. ()

Read the complete article and get information on the performance in Kalamazoo on www.mlive.com.

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Katy Batdorff of MLive Photographs “Nadia”

Check out this gallery of photos from Katy Batdorff of MLive.  (Click the photo below to be taken to the gallery on MLive.)

Rena Dam plays Nadia, Sean Dailey plays Steve and Hannah Chee plays Lily in ‘Nadia’ during their dress rehersal at Spectrum Theater Wednesday evening. The play is an Actors’ Theatre production. (Katy Batdorff | MLive.com)

More information and tickets for Nadia can be found on the Actors’ Theatre website.

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