Nearly 130 theater enthusiasts gathered Saturday, August 11 at the Ponitz Center of Sinclair Community College for the ninth annual DayTony Awards and 11th annual Dayton Theatre Hall of Fame induction.
Emceed by Hall of Fame member Greg Smith, the gala saluted the achievements of actors, directors and designers from Dayton’s 2011-12 season with medallions of excellence or merit as voted on by 11 participating theaters: Beavercreek Community Theatre (BCT), Cedarville University (CU), Clark State Community College (CSCC), Dayton Playhouse (DP), Dayton Theatre Guild (DTG), Epiphany Lutheran Church (ELC), Playhouse South (PS), Sinclair Community College (SCC), Troy Civic Theatre (TCT), University of Dayton (UD), and Xenia Area Community Theatre (XACT).
By the numbers, the season encompassed 44 productions, 32 categories, 220 respondents, 715 nominations and 2,000 people involved as cast, crew, orchestra members and front of house staff.
Six shows were deemed Outstanding Overall Production: “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels” (CSCC) “Eleemosynary” (UD), “Evil Dead: The Musical” (BCT), “Souvenir” (DTG), “The Story of My Life” (DTG) and “Wittenberg” (DTG).
As expected among such a wide field of contenders, there were worthy artists and productions overlooked: “Lost in Yonkers” (DTG) and “The Laramie Project” (SCC) for Outstanding Overall; directors Gina Kleesattel (“Urinetown,” UD), Fran Pesch (“Lost in Yonkers), Stephen Skiles (“The Crucible,” SCC) and Carrie Thurston (“Children of Eden,” PS); the ensembles of “Lost in Yonkers” and “The Laramie Project”; the orchestra of “A Grand Night for Singing,” DP; and actors Joel Daniel and Philip Stock (“Lost in Yonkers”), Cassandra Engber (“A Streetcar Named Desire,” XACT), Margaret Foley (“Bus Stop,” DP), Franklin Johnson (“Dividing the Estate,” DTG), Katie Kerry (“Chicago,” BCT), Tina McPhearson (“Nunsense,” DP), Kes-lina Luoma (“The Crucible,” SCC), Jared Mola (“Wittenberg,” DTG), Marcia Nowik (“The Oldest Profession,” DTG), and David Shough (“The Sound of Music,” DP) for individual recognition.
Longtime scenic designer Bruce Brown, the recipient of a 2002 Montgomery County/Culture Works Individual Artist Award who has designed over 120 shows locally since his 1997 DTG debut “Laughter on the 23rd Floor,” was warmly inducted into the Hall of Fame by 2011 inductee Carol Finley.
“Wherever Bruce works he brings a creativity and know-how,” she said. “He is a master teacher with a loyal following. His designs always raise the production values of his shows.”
“Theater changed my life,” said Brown, who plans to retire next year. “It has been a real blessing to push my ability to design for different spaces, directors, casts and crews. I love collaboration, and have enjoyed working all around the Miami Valley.”
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