Puppets proved their popularity at the 10th annual Metrolina Theatre Association Awards, with dominating wins by two productions of “Avenue Q.”
In the College/University category, Limestone College won nine awards for its rendition of the funny but naughty puppet show that chronicles the postgraduate life of Princeton on a seedy New York City Avenue. In the Musical category, Theatre Charlotte snagged 11 awards for its “Avenue Q,” performed in the building on Queens Road. Theatre Charlotte’s “Avenue Q,” produced in May, is the highest-grossing production in the 85-year history of Theatre Charlotte.
Ron Law, executive director of Theatre Charlotte, was awarded Theatre Person of the Year. Law, who has been with the organization since 2005, was cited for attracting a varied list of guest directors and for diversifying the repertory.
In addition, he accepted a last-minute challenge to play George in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?”.
Law said Monday he was gratified by “the positive responses to my performance in ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’, particularly with only 21/2 weeks of rehearsal.
“I don’t see myself back on stage any time soon. … it had been 10 years! I am more comfortable directing, which I will be doing this spring with our production of ‘Hair.’”
Other category wins were distributed more evenly. In Comedy, Carolina Actors Studio Theatre (CAST) won five awards for “The Elaborate Entrance of Chad Deity,” including outstanding direction for Michael Simmons, Outstanding supporting actor for J.R. Jones, and technical awards for set, costume and lighting design. CAST won Theatre Company of the Year for the second year in a row.
Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte followed with four awards for outstanding production, costume design, and outstanding lead and supporting actor for Ashby Blakely and Barbi Van Schaick, respectively.
In the Drama category, Actor’s Theatre of Charlotte took home three awards for “The Whipping Man,” and two for “Narrow Daylight.” Children’s Theatre of Charlotte won outstanding direction, as well as costume, lighting, sound and properties design for “The Red Badge of Courage.” CAST split its three Drama awards between “Bengal Tiger at the Baghdad Zoo,” and “Lombardi.”
What wasn’t awarded to Theatre Charlotte in Musicals was doled out to Children’s Theatre of Charlotte for “The Secret Garden” and “Pinkalicious.” Linda Booth won the choreography award for her work in Central Piedmont Community College Summer Theatre’s “Spamalot.”
Metrolina Theatre Association splits Regional companies by North and South. To the North, St. Thomas Players of Salisbury won seven awards for Tom Stoppard’s “Arcadia.” The Piedmont Players, also in Salisbury, won for “The Color Purple” and “Spamalot.”
To the South, Rock Hill Community Theatre led the category with four awards for “I Love You, You’re Perfect, Now Change.” The next big winner was Concord’s Old Courthouse Theatre with three for “The Diary of Anne Frank.”
MTA president John Hartness praised the increased sense of community he’s seen among theater folks the past year. “A lot of key players are all looking outside their little foxholes to see what can be done for the community at large,” he says. “There’s a sense of “let’s have a good time and celebrate the work we do together.”
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