Lawdy, What a Payne!

It took nearly four hours, but the folks at the Austin Circle of Theatres (ACoT) did finally hand out all the 1996-97 B. Iden Payne Awards this past Monday, September 15, at The Metropolitan Club. The annual celebration of outstanding achievements in local theatre typically runs closer to two and a half hours, but an infusion of new awards for support, the presentation this year of ACoT's Special Recognition Award to three theatre greats -- Alice Wilson, just-retired artistic director of the Zachary Scott Theatre Center (ZSTC); Eva Paloheimo, former managing director of Frontera@Hyde Park Theatre; and the late Michel Jaroschy, founder and producing director of Capitol City Playhouse -- instead of one, the expansion of the entertainment (several very funny parody numbers written by Blake Yelavich), and the addition of an extra intermission ballooned the event to, as one attendee put it, Wagnerian length. (Yes, I did emcee the event, but I had nothing to do with that added time.) Even that long, though, fun was had, and the winners were:

Play: Sylvia (ZSTC)

Musical: The Gospel at Colonus (ZSTC)

Children's Production: The Christmas Schooner (Austin Theatre for Youth)

Director, Play: Laura Worthen, Vinegar Tom

Director, Musical: Dana Younger, Water

Director, Children's Production: Mary Alice Carnes, Deep in the Heart of Texas

Lead Actor & Actress, Play:

Marc Balester, A Perfect Ganesh

Emily Balanoff, Sylvia

Lead Actor & Actress, Musical:
Joe York
, Sweeney Todd

Andra Mitrovich, Love, Janis

Lead Actor & Actress, Children's Production:

Dan Sullivan, A Christmas Schooner

Linda Nenno, A Christmas Schooner

Featured Actor & Actress, Play:

Martin Burke, A Family Affair

Aimee McCormick, The Glass Menagerie

Featured Actor & Actress, Musical:
Scott Schroeder, Peter Pan

Jacqui Cross, The Gospel at Colonus

Featured Actor & Actress, Children's Production:
Ev Lunning, Jr., The Hardy Boys in The Mystery of the Haunted House

Carla Nickerson, Deep in the Heart...


Richard Byron & Scott Thompson, Peter Pan

Musical Direction:

Allen Robertson, Ruthless! The Musical

Original Script: Kirk Lynn, Pale Idiot

Costume Design: Michael Raiford, Ruthless!

Lighting Design: Jason Amato, Panoptikon

Set Design: Christopher McCollum, Peter Pan

Sound Design: Kevin Freedman, Clayangels

Production/Stage Manager:

Willa Kaye Warren, River City Pops

Theatre Volunteer:

Kate Miranda, River City Pops

Technical Assistance:

Jim Chapman, River City Pops

Audience Members:

Natalie & Steve Lamoreaux, ComedySportz

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