The Northwest Indiana Excellence in Theatre Foundation held its annual Foundation Awards Gala at Valparaiso University on Saturday evening. Each fall, nominees are announced from that year's viewers ratings of each eligible play and musical produced at a member theatre including acting, directing, designing and other specialized categories.
Thespians from all over came to the Valparaiso University Center for the Arts dressed in their best evening wear. The night promised to be grand. Before the awards, a cocktail hour was held in the lobby of the Center. Guests milled about, excitedly anticipating the gala's main event.
"This is an annual celebration that recognizes all of the talent in Northwest Indiana,"NIETF President Becky Jascoviak said. "We're in our 22nd year for this. Most people think that you have to go to Chicago to see great theatre but we have a lot of excellent theatre right here."
Everyone was ushered into the theatre to see who would be the lucky recipients of these awards. At different intervals throughout the night, excerpts from different plays and musicals in the region were performed to delight the guests. Cheers, laughter, singing, and music could be heard echoing throughout the Center.
"We love to gather and honor our friends during this occasion," Natalie Franks, NIETF Member Theatre Representative said. "They put on amazing and wonderful shows and it's a great time. Not many people realize how many community theatres are in the area so this is a great way to recognize all of these theatres."
The 2013-2014 Winners are:
Best Director, Musical - John Peluso Little Woman - Memorial Opera House
Best Music Director - Chris Stalbaum Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Vocal Director - Chris Stalbaum Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Choreography - Kathleen Dominiak Treasure Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Memorial Opera House
Best Sets/Set Design, Musical - Kevin Doler Sweeney Todd – 4th Street Theater
Best Lights/Lighting Design, Musical - Wayne Wendell Sweeney Todd – 4th Street Theater
Best Costumes/Costume Design, Musical - Christina Pals Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Sound/Sound Design, Musical - Scott "Stretch" Miller Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Musical - Sweeney Todd, 4th Street Theatre
Best Featured Actress, Musical - LuAnne Pezel as Marmee /Hag Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Principal Actress, Musical - Kyrie Anderson as Jo Little Women – Memorial Opera House
Best Featured Actor, Musical - Darren Serhal as Enoch Snow Carousel – Genesius Guild
Best Principal Actor, Musical - Darren Serhal as Freddy Benson Dirty Rotten Scoundrels – Memorial Opera House
Best Director, Play - Justin Treasure Our Town – Memorial Opera House
Best Sets/Set Design, Play - H.B.O.Builders Arsenic and Old Lace – Genesius Guild
Best Lights/Lighting Design, Play - Bob Cooley Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Chicago Street Theatre
Best Costumes/Costume Design, Play - Martha Sass Our Town – Memorial Opera House
Best Sound/Sound Design, Play - Mary A. Bird Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde – Chicago Street Theatre
Best Play - Rabbit Hole – Chicago Street Theatre
Best Cameo in a Play - Tom Byerly as Mr. Witherspoon Arsenic and Old Lace – Genesius Guild
Best Principal Actress, Play - Mary DeBoer as Becca Rabbit Hole – Chicago Street Theatre
Best Featured Actor, Play - Jim Henry as Dr. Gibbs Our Town – Memorial Opera House
Best Principal Actor, Play - Jim Henry as Crumpet, the Elf The Santaland Diaries – Chicago Street Theatre
Best Featured Actress, Play - Kathie Rosdil as Cookie Cusack Rumors – LCTG
Scholarship Winner: Elliott Bibat
Project Cast Award: Dunes Arts Foundation
Each theatre also nominated their respective volunteers of the year. These individuals gave of their time, at no cost, to see that the productions were always completed on time and in the best possible light.
NIETF Partners: Ideas in Motion Media, Porter County Community Foundation, Legacy Foundation, Indiana Arts Commission