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Spotlight shines on Academy Awards event

Youth, adult performers honored

Local thespians, both youths and adult, got their moment in the spotlight Tuesday evening for the theatrical performances they poured their hearts into during the past year.

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ABOVE: Jill Butler, who played Missy in this year’s performance of The Marvelous Wonderettes, accepts a best actress award in the community theater category from presenter Tom Stoner as emcee Jason Duff looks on and pianist Tom Boone plays during the Tuesday evening Windmill Productions’ Academy Awards at the Holland. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: Shary Duff, red carpet interviewer for the 2013 Windmill Productions’ Academy Awards, talks to The Marvelous Wonderettes, from left, Kim Kellogg-Martin, Kati Poland, Darcy Neeld and Jill Butler, as young actresses, Regan Ross, right, and Hannah Metzger, both of the Under the Bamboo Tree ensemble from Meet Me in St. Louis, wait their turns for an interview. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

Windmill Productions, which puts on various shows throughout the year at the Holland Theatre, handed out 25 awards at its second annual Academy Awards event on Tuesday evening.

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ABOVE: Dee Mellum, center, and Savannah Hostetler, both from Center Stage Productions’ performance of Snow White, make their way toward the red carpet as a classic car driven by a member of the Top of Ohio Cruisers delivers more stars to the event. BELOW: Seth Mitchell, who played Curly in the recent performance of Oklahoma!, speaks to red carpet interviewer Shary Duff. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | REUBEN MEES)

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“I think it’s wonderful that they recognize all the actors,” said Kim Paver, a home-school student who played the older Snow White in Center Stage Productions’ performance of the Snow White play.

“It’s nice to see how many different troupes and actors there are in Logan County,” said Snow White’s nemesis, the Queen, who was played by Kelsie Stewart.

“You don’t realize how many different troupes there are until you come to something like this,” Kim added.

The event featured not only the home-school students of Center Stage and the various students in public schools at Bellefontaine, Indian Lake, Ben Logan, Riverside and West Liberty-Salem, but this year’s event also saw awards presented to adult performers in the community theater category.

Nick Wallace, who was a nominee for best actor for his portrayal of the character Fred in the Christmas Carol performance, said while the adults appreciate the recognition, the event is still about young performers.

“I think it’s great they added adults and they are recognizing all performers, but for me, it’s about the kids,” he said. “It’s a nice opportunity to show that their hard work is appreciated and it pays off. They may not all go into theater, but it helps them out to say we appreciate what you do and it helps them with their self-esteem.”

Holland Theatre board chairwoman Kris Swisher said in her opening remarks, while pointing out the newly painted sky-blue ceiling in the auditorium of the historic theater, that both the youths and actors are making a difference in the local theater scene.

“This is all because of you,” Mrs. Swisher said. “You people who love art and bring people here to see shows, we’re here to celebrate you.”

While the best overall performance went to Snow White, awards were presented to best actor and actress and best supporting actor and actress in junior, community theater, high school drama and high school musical categories.

A special lifetime achievement award was also presented to Bellefontaine Encore Summer Theatre, which began in the early 1990s as a way to introduce musicals to the community outside high school performances.

Board members Forrest “Woody” Amidon, Judy Wilkinson and Cindy Jenkins accepted the award on BEST’s behalf and donated a check, which was the remainder of the funds in their non-profit organization’s checking account, to Windmill Productions to carry on the task the BEST board had set before itself two decades ago.

While not everyone won awards, many youths had fun riding to the theater in classic cars provided by the Top of Ohio Cruisers car club and being interviewed by Shary Duff prior to walking into the theater on a red carpet.

“I think it’s fun to get dressed up and ride in the fancy cars,” said Brooke Turner of Bellefontaine High School, who was nominated in several categories.

“I think riding in the cars were the best thing,” her fellow Pick-a-Little Lady from The Music Man musical, Kayla Stephens, said.

The event also featured a performance of The Entertainer by Liberace impersonator Dean Altstaetter of Ohio Northern University, who will return to the Holland for 7:30 p.m. June 7 and 8 performances titled Liberace, which detail the life of the famed musician.

A complete list of award winners follows.

Junior Musicals

Once Upon a Mattress, Logan County Educational Service Center, Windmill Productions

Harmony High, Riverside Elementary

Best Actor: Christopher Wheeler (Dr. Mendeleyev, Harmony High)

Best Actress: Christa Essley (Queen Aggravain, Once Upon a Mattress)

Community Theatre Shows

Oklahoma!, Peggy Weiss director

The Marvelous Wonderettes, Allen Hadley director

A Christmas Carol, Allen Hadley director

Best Supporting Actor: Doug Oelker (Will Parker, Oklahoma!)

Best Supporting Actress: Trena Craig (Aunt Eller, Oklahoma!)

Best Ensemble: The Cratchit Family of A Christmas Carol (Doug Oelker, Trena Craig, Abbi Adelsberger, Carolyn Dunn, Kate Fox, Corinne Herring, Matthew Smith, Chase Snyder)

Best Actor: Seth Mitchell (Curly, Oklahoma!)

Best Actress: Jill Butler (Missy, The Marvelous Wonderettes)

High School Dramas

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Benjamin Logan

Arsenic and Old Lace, Bellefontaine

Archie and the Wallflower, West Liberty-Salem

The Crucible, Bellefontaine

Snow White, Center Stage Productions

Best Supporting Actor: Kyle Harris (Mortimer Brewster, Arsenic and Old Lace)

Best Supporting Actress: Brooke Turner (Abigail Williams, The Crucible)

Best Actor: Kwinton Mansfield (Roland, Snow White)

Best Actress: Sarah Bull (Elizabeth Proctor, The Crucible)

High School Musicals

The Music Man, Bellefontaine

Meet Me in St. Louis, Indian Lake

Alice in Wonderland Jr., West Liberty-Salem

My Favorite Year, Benjamin Logan

Best Ensemble: The Flowers of Alice in Wonderland Jr. (Leah Clements, Remi Gelatt, Sarah Landis, Miranda McNutt, Emily Salch, Annie Steiner, Becky Wilkins)

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Brent Weiss (King Kaiser, My Favorite Year)

Best Supporting Actress: Hannah Clasen (Caterpillar, Alice in Wonderland Jr.)

Best Actor: Austin Blankemeyer (Harold Hill, The Music Man)

Best Actress: Katie Vetorino (Marian Paroo, The Music Man)

Special Awards for Excellence

Best Set: Meet Me in St Louis        

Best Program: Arsenic and Old Lace

Best Costumes: Alice in Wonderland Jr.

Best Ensemble in a Play: The Seven Dwarfs of Snow White (Dee Mellum, Luke Smith, Seth Campbell, Jeff Schurter, Savannah Hostetler, Silas Augsburger, Maryrose Augsburger)

Best Staging in a Play: Fight Scene from Snow White (Kwinton Mansfield, Kyle Pond)

Best Choreography: Meet Me in St Louis

Best Overall Effect: Meet Me in St. Louis

Best Overall Production: Snow White

Lifetime Achievement in Theatre: Bellefontaine Encore Summer Theatre (BEST

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