“They love me,” Roxie memorably proclaimed in the hit musical “Chicago” and at Tuesday’s Aiken Community Playhouse awards show that was definitely the case. Directed by Bradley Watts, “Chicago” cleaned up, taking home 12 awards, including every major musical category award.
“Chicago was a great show,” Watts, who won best director for a musical, said. “It just shows that all the hard work you put in, you get back. It was an amazing experience.”
The ACP best musical winner was long in the works, but copyright issues kept in on the back-burner for years. Once Watts got the chance to finally put on the show, the response from packed audiences made it all worth while.
“We wanted to do it for so long, that was the big pressure,” Watts said. “It was electric, just to watch the people’s reaction to the show, it really made it worth the wait.”
“Chicago” was just one of many huge undertakings at ACP last season. Another was the first ever Shakespeare production, “Twelfth Night,” which also found great success on the nonmusical side, picking up seven awards.
“I wasn’t sure Shakespeare would work, but I was amazed,” best director of a nonmusical Bob Franklin said. “They really worked hard, all of them.”
As the awards started to role in for “Twelfth Night” emotions began to run high. The memories of one the show’s most memorable actors, Bob King, were on everybody’s mind. King recently passed away while performing on a cruise ship in the Greek Isles, doing what he loved most.
His son, Brad King, won best male lead in a musical and nonmusical for his roles in “Chicago” and “Twelfth Night,” but it was the memory of his father sharing the stage with him for the last time that brought his emotions to the stage upon accepting his awards.
“He was the reason I got into this in the first place,” King said. “It was his last show and we were able to get to do it together.”
King’s emotions shook presenters and the crowd alike, but he was still able to close the show teaming with Pat Williams to perform their closing number from the current ACP show “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.”
“I am so thankful that I made it through it,” King said. “I think that was more of my dad coming through me right there.”
Williams choked up presenting best director and best nonmusical to Franklin, who heaped praise on a
man he had worked with for years on the stage.
“I helped to direct Bob in the first play I did here (Street Car named Desire) and the last show (Twelfth Night),” Franklin recalled. “He was a theater person, you just couldn’t help but love him. It was emotional for me.”
But the joyous night was full of tons on laughs and standing ovations as well. Tim McFall and Kenneth McCormack brought the crowd to its feet with a midshow performance and acceptance speeches by former executive director Thurmond Whatley, Vanessa Cox (best newcomer), Adam Shults (outstanding supporting male, musical) and Jamie Turner (outstanding supporting female musical) among others kept the crowd laughing.
The female lead awards also went to very well deserving actresses. Karla Fischbach won outstanding female lead in a nonmusical for her portrayal of dual characters Viola and Cesario. Devon Hampton won lead in a musical for her role as Roxie in “Chicago” and Cherie Moritz won for her outstanding performance in last summer’s Wit.
“It caught me off guard, I’m super ecstatic,” Fischbach said. “I owe it all to my director, he gave me a new passion.”
She joked that her Shakespeare experience up until that point had been solely in Cliff Notes form, saying “we were supposed to read it in school, but I was too slack.” She also took on another new experience in the play.
“I’ve never played a guy before, ever,” Fischbach joked. “It definitely stretched my acting wise.”
“The Crucible” and “Man of la Mancha” took home six awards, while the Youth Wing performance of “You Can’t Take it with You” took home seven.
Chris Walsh is the arts and entertainment reporter for the Aiken Standard. He graduated from Valdosta State University and hails from Atlanta, GA.
2011-2012 ACP AwardsOutstanding Male Lead Actor, Youth Wing
Tim McFall, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Female Lead Actor, Youth Wing
Gray Johnson, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Supporting Female Actor, Youth Wing
Katte Noel, CrucibleOutstanding Supporting Male Actor, Youth Wing
Jake Hamrick, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Featured Male Actor, Youth Wing
Aaron Volpe, CrucibleOutstanding Feature Female Actor, Youth Wing
Brittany Winans, CrucibleOutstanding Newcomer Female, Youth Wing
Ilia Campbell, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Newcomer Male, Youth Wing
Nick Breakiron, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Male Lead Actor, Summer Season
Tim DeTroye, Tuesdays with Morrie
Outstanding Female Lead Actor, Summer Season
Cherie Moritz, WitOutstanding Supporting Female Actor, Summer Season
Patsy Lewelyn, WitOutstanding Supporting Male Actor, Summer Season
Mike Anzalone, AltosOutstanding Featured Female, Summer Season
Haley Hughes, WitOutstanding Featured Male, Summer Season
Orval Bradt, WitOutstanding Male Lead Actor, Non-Musical
Brad King, Children of a Lesser God
Outstanding Female Lead Actor, Non-Musical
Karla Fischbach, Twelfth NightOutstanding Supporting Male, Non-Musical
Dave Engelman, Twelfth NightOutstanding Supporting Female, Non-Musical
Beth Ansede, Twelfth NightOutstanding Featured Male, Non-Musical
David Skeen, Wrong WindowOutstanding Featured Female, Non-Musical
Janette Godwin, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Outstanding Newcomer Male, Non-Musical
Bruce Hoover, Twelfth NightOutstanding Newcomer Female, Non-Musical
Sela Groomes, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
Outstanding Director, Non-Musical
Bob Franklin, Twelfth NightOutstanding Set Design, Black Box
Tim DeTroye, Tuesdays with Morrie
Outstanding Set Design, Musical
Jennifer Cudworth, Man of La Mancha
Outstanding Set Design, Non-Musical
Lisa Fountain, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Costume Design, Black Box
Dianne Kinsey, CrucibleOutstanding Costume Design, Non-Musical
Dianne Kinsey, Twelfth NightOutstanding Costume Design, Musical
Takisha Burke, Man of La Mancha
Outstanding Lighting Design, Musical
Mike Dansevicus, ChicagoOutstanding Lighting Design, Non-Musical
Thurmond Whatley, Wrong WindowOutstanding Lighting Design, Black Box Show
Thurmond Whatley, CrucibleOutstanding Prop Master, Black Box
Lisa Fountain, WitOutstanding Prop Design, Non-Musical
Audrey Ateca, You Can’t Take It With You
Outstanding Prop Master, Musical
Angie Galan, ChicagoOutstanding Sound Design, Black Box
Nancy Gamba Hansen, CrucibleOutstanding Sound Design, Non-Musical
David Skeen, Wrong WindowOutstanding Sound Design, Non-Musical
Tim DeTroye, Wrong WindowOutstanding Sound Design, Musical
Mike Mottsey, ChicagoOutstanding Male Lead, Musical
Brad King, ChicagoOutstanding Female Lead, Musical
Devon Hampton, ChicagoOutstanding Supporting Male, Musical
Adam Shults, ChicagoOutstanding Supporting Female, Musical
Jamie Turner, ChicagoOutstanding Featured Male, Musical
Tim McFall, La ManchaOutstanding Featured Female, Musical
Michelle Kelrooney, Man of La Mancha
Outstanding Male Newcomer, Musical
J.C. Crider, Man of La ManchaOutstanding Female Newcomer, Musical
Vanessa Cox, Man of La ManchaOutstanding Choreographer
Warren Sain, ChicagoOutstanding Musical Direction
Stephen McKinney, ChicagoOutstanding Director, Musical
Bradley Watts, ChicagoOutstanding Non-Musical of the Season
Twelfth NightOutstanding Musical of the Season
ChicagoSpotlight AwardLou Popachaudo
Volunteer of the Year AwardJim Anderson
Excellence in ServiceThurmond Whatley, Executive Director 2004-2012