Highlands Little Theatre celebrates its best
PAMELA GLINSKISEBRING - "The Diary of Anne Frank" was the big winner at Highlands Little Theatre's Zenon Awards held Saturday night.
Published: October 16, 2012
Published: October 16, 2012
The play, its cast and crew won accolades for best play, best director, leading actress, costuming, technical production, best sound, best set and best lighting design.
"I want to say thank you to (HLT) for bringing theater to our community … you are a jewel," said Mayor George Hensley, who presented the best play of the year award to director Allan Grosman.
Grosman acknowledged that "The Diary of Anne Frank" and its poignant message held a personal and special meaning to him.
"My parents are Holocaust survivors," he explained. "I lost my grandparents, and my parents lost their siblings."
A former teacher who moved to Sebring in 2003, Grosman was excited to see the dedication of patrons who sponsored performances for Highlands County school students.
"For the theater to be able to do this kind of play is very rewarding," he said.
Generous benefactors who received the theater's first lifetime patron award, Zenon passed away October 1990 and Marilyn died June 1995. They assured continued funding for the Little Theatre by establishing the Hansen Foundation.
For 27 years, the Zenon Lucite pyramids have been a way for season ticket holders and directors to recognize the accomplishments of volunteers, performers and crew members involved in one of the five major shows that the Little Theatre puts on every season.
Two of the top awards of the night went to Rebecca Luepschen, who won best actress in a leading role for her portrayal of Anne Frank in "Diary," and Bill Farmer, for best actor for his role as Frank Foster in "How the Other Half Loves."
This year's Janelou Buck Significant Achievement Award went to Gloria Coffey, who has been actively involved with the Little Theatre for the past 22 years. "It's a wonderful night for me," said Coffey, who also received a Board Service Award.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Sebring had its own "Susan Lucci" moment. As the name of the winner for best supporting actress was called, Ellen Lemos, a past nominee 24 different times, sat stunned for a moment, then raced to the stage to claim her Zenon. Lemos said she was thrilled to receive recognition for her role as Drowsy in "The Drowsy Chaperone."
Of the 28 awards presented, the youngest recipients were 12-year-old Moriah Finney and her brother, Jonathan, who is 15. Their work on the stage crew for "Anne Frank" won them Zenons for technical production. "I was really surprised," remarked Moriah.
Other "Diary of Anne Frank" winners included: Bob Hippchen and Grosman, set design; RoseMarie Tippins Beringer, set design; Rhonda Wilson, sound design; Thor Knutson, lighting design; and Grosman, best director.
Becky Ludacer, Ann Roehm and Dee Dee Schmalz received Board Service Awards. Directors Choice Awards went to the Keck family, Alan Jay Wildstein, Kristen Taylor, Sunny Zengler, Corey Adams and Linda Dobson Hacker. Margie Pollard received best cameo role for "Nunsense." Farmer also won best supporting actor for his Adolpho in "The Drowsy Chaperone."
Considered "our local version of the Tony Awards," the gala featured musical performances from "Memphis," "Ghost," "Catch me if you Can," "The Pirate Queen" "City of Angels," "Billy Elliot" and "The Addams Family."
There was even a sneak preview of Bill Davis and Larissa Meagher singing, "I don't need anything but you" from the upcoming production of "Annie."