LUCKY THIRTEENTH ANNUAL NORMY AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN COMMUNITY AND STUDENT THEATER
With the quality so high, it wasn’t easy for the Normy Awards committee to pick winners from among the 21 shows seen during 2009. We are pleased to report, however, that after much discussion (and some unseemly wrangling), all the selections were unanimous. Here then, named in memory of frequent theatergoing companion Norman Ansorge, are the thirteenth annual Normy Awards:
Best performance as Man’s Best Friend by a non-dog:
Spring Lake Community Theatre was barking up the right tree when they cast Kristine Gianna as the mixed-breed pup who dominates a household in Sylvia. Her wonderful performance earned Kristine the first-ever Canine Normy.
A Fictional Engaged Couple
Phillip Hoffman and Hope Ledig were the couple who met at an engagement-ring display (how convenient!) in Diamonds at 22 West at the Eatontown Playhouse, and Normy’s a sucker for young love. (Phillip and Hope also sang sweetly together.)
A Real-life More-than-Engaged Couple
A marriage that survives co-directing and co-designing? Lori and Paul Renick must know something. They collaborated on the direction of Prescription Murder at Monmouth Players and the set design of Holmdel Theatre Company’s The Foreigner. A combo-Normy for the team. (And a Monmouth Players Normy to Mike Quick, whose Columbo in Prescription Murder was highly original and recalled Peter Falk at the same time.)
Best gang leader with (or without) an apostrophe in her name:
Desire’e Rodriquez’s fearless performance in Kingdom at ReVision Theatre was so good that we’re naming her award The Norme’e.
Pore Jud Fry is Very Much Alive
Rodgers and Hammerstein’s score is the star of Oklahoma, but the Jud Fry character gives the show its much-needed heft. Don’t believe it? Then I guess you missed Joe Hausvater’s Normy-winning Jud that highlighted Phoenix’s admirable production.
The Count Basie Theatre Is Also Very Much Alive
An honorary Normy to Phoenix Productions for mounting four major musicals this year at the venerable Red Bank landmark. Besides Oklahoma, there were Thoroughly Modern Millie, The Producers and a stirring Miss Saigon, whose mostly Asian ensemble shares a Normy as well.
Toto in Red Bank
The Casey Players earned a Normy for bringing another definition of soul to Red Bank Catholic High School (the capital S sort from ‘upstairs’ has always been there) with The Wiz. Rumors that next year’s Spring Musical would be The Color Purple proved false; My Fair Lady is on tap.
A Tragedy on Brookdale’s Great Lawn
The tragedy was the play, certainly not the players. Director John Bukovec picks up a Normy for Brookdale Shakespeare Ensemble’s stirring production of Macbeth. The mainly student company proved they can handle the heavy lifting. The Scottish Play was no comedy of errors
A Normy for Jamie
I Ought to Be in Pictures is minor Neil Simon, but newcomer Jamie Marcinczyk proved a major talent at First Avenue Playhouse. Dunno if she ought to be in pictures, but she sure ought to be on area stages again – soon and often.
The Dunbar Players may be on hiatus, but Darrell L. Willis, Sr. still produces an African-American oriented play every year. A Soldier’s Play, presented at Brookdale in April, was this year’s fine effort.
And finally, to those who saw one or more Monmouth County community and student shows in ‘09: You’ve all earned an Audience Appreciation Normy. Congratulations.