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Talents honored at annual Natchez Little Theatre ceremony

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Gillian Thompson sings “Tomorrow” at the beginning of the 10th annual Standing Ovation Awards at the Natchez Little Theatre on Saturday evening. Thompson won the Best Youth Actress award during Saturday’s ceremony. Inset below, Layne Taylor thanks the audience for their support of the Natchez Little Theatre.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Gillian Thompson sings “Tomorrow” at the beginning of the 10th annual Standing Ovation Awards at the Natchez Little Theatre on Saturday evening. Thompson won the Best Youth Actress award during Saturday’s ceremony.

NATCHEZ The red carpet rolled out in Natchez Saturday night as the Natchez Little Theatre celebrated its shining talent at the theater’s 10th annual Standing Ovation Awards.

NLT Executive Director Layne Taylor won the best actor in a play golden statue for his role as Mortimer Brewster in “Arsenic & Old Lace.” Taylor also won best actor in a musical for Oliver Warbucks in “Annie.”

Debbie Boykin won best actress in a play for her performance as Sissy Hickey in “Sordid Lives.”

JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT —Morgan Mizell, right, sings “Little Girls” while standing behind Ashleigh Johnson during the 10th annual Standing Ovation Awards at the Natchez Little Theatre on Saturday evening. Mizell won the Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Miss
JAY SOWERS / THE NATCHEZ DEMOCRAT —Morgan Mizell, right, sings “Little Girls” while standing behind Ashleigh Johnson during the 10th annual Standing Ovation Awards at the Natchez Little Theatre on Saturday evening. Mizell won the Best Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Miss

Morgan Mizell won best actress in a musical for her role as Miss Hannigan in “Annie.”

Judy Wiggins won best actress in a musical for her performance as Abby Brewster in “Arsenic & Old Lace.”

Colby Passman took home the best youth actor award for his role as Apple Seller and Wacky in “Annie.”

Gillian Thompson won best youth actress and best debut by an actress honors for her role as Annie in “Annie.”

“Sordid Lives” won best play, and director Don Vesterse won best director of a play.

Bo Allen also won best director of a play for “Southern Exposure.”

“Annie” won best musical, and Taylor and Mario J. Radford each won best director of a Musical.

The theatre also honored Sandra Stokes with the lifetime achievement Award.

The Dawn Taylor Memorial Scholarships were awarded to Sydney Eidt and Roderick Whitley.

The awards ceremony celebrated the volunteers and productions of NLT’s 65th season. The nominees were selected from those who participated in the theater’s productions, and the awards were determined by NLT’s eligible members and sponsors who attended all seven shows, which were “Alice in Wonderland,” “Arsenic & Old Lace,” “The Cherry Orchard,” “A Natchez Christmas Carol,” “Sordid Lives,” “Southern Exposure” and “Annie.”

Taylor said NLT had a record-breaking 65th season.

One of the highlights of the season, Taylor said, was the summer youth workshop.

“We had 23 wonderfully diverse children participate in the workshop,” he said. “To have seen where these children started and where they ended up, oh, it just gives you faith in the future.”

Other awards included:

• Best supporting actor in a play: Stacey Carden as Odell Owens in “Sordid Lives.”

Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Layne Taylor thanks the audience for their support of the Natchez Little Theatre.
Jay Sowers / The Natchez Democrat — Layne Taylor thanks the audience for their support of the Natchez Little Theatre.

• Best supporting actress in a play: Susannah Heatherly as Elaine Harper in “Arsenic and Old Lace.”

• Best supporting actor in a musical: Bo Allen as Rooster Hannigan in “Annie.”

• Best supporting actress in a musical: Anabella Laird as Molly in “Annie.”

• Best cameo actor in a play: Rusty Jenkins as Earl “Brother Boy” Ingram in “Sordid Lives.”

• Best cameo actress in a play: Julie Emerick as Juanita in “Sordid Lives.”

• Best cameo actor in a musical: Melton King as Bert Healy and Chorus in
Annie.”

• Best cameo actress in a musical: Cheleen Sugar as Star to Be and Chorus in “Annie.”

• Best debut by an actor: Nance Hixon as Alex Loper in “The Cherry Orchard.”

• Best set: Layne Taylor, Don Vesterse, Morgan Mizell and Judy Wiggins for “Alice in Wonderland.”

• Sponsor of the year: Curtis Thornton of Quality Glass.

“The Color Purple” will kick off the 66th NLT season and will open Aug. 22 and run until Aug. 25. Tickets are available at natchezlittletheatre.org.

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