Many honored at NLT awards ceremony

Published 12:00 am Sunday, July 19, 2009

NATCHEZ — No red carpet leads into Natchez Little Theatre. But for the playhouse’s devout staff and volunteer, cast the carpet isn’t necessary.

And Saturday evening Natchez Little Theatre honored some of its own at the sixth annual Stan Dean Ovation Awards.

The Stan Dean Ovation Award, like a small-town Tony, honors locals for their roles in the 61st season of Little Theatre.

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“This is a time for those who make this place as successful as it is to be honored,” Natchez Little Theatre Board of Directors President Darryl Grennell said. “It’s their night to be recognized. They’ve all earned it.”

And for Grennell and the rest of those that keep Natchez Little Theatre running, it’s all about the community.

“Without a community that participates in, and supports, this theater, we wouldn’t have one,” he said. “People from all over this community make the theater what it is. It’s a classic example of what the theater is.”

Lynn Mann won this year’s award for Best Actress in a Play for her work in “Southern Exposure” and said she felt honored to be part of the theater.

Mann has also won numerous awards in her 33 years with Natchez Little Theatre.

“Winning is great,” Mann said. “But it’s not about winning. This is about taking time to just have a good time and look back on the all the work we’ve done.”

And the 61st season at Little Theatre was busy.

The theater hosted one production a month of the entire year.

And with new actors like Owen Shugard joining the cast, the theater should be putting out plays for another 61 seasons.

Shugard won Best Debut of an Actor for his work in “Twelfth Night.”

When he accepted his award he recalled the first nervous seconds before he stepped on to the stage in his first production.

“I felt like I was moving in and out of another dimension,” he said. “And I’ll remember it forever.”

Honored at the ceremony were:

– Best Play: “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Director of a Play: Layne Taylor in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Actor in a Play:  Edwin Ward in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Actress in a Play: Lynn Mann in “Southern Exposure”

– Best Supporting Actor in a Play: Rusty Jenkins in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Suporting Actress in a Play:  Danielle Thornton in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Cameo/Actor in a Play: Royal Hill Jr. in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Cameo/Actress in a Play: Elaine Harter in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Debut of an Actor: Owen Shugard in “Twelfth Night”

– Best Debut of an Actress: Teresa Busby in “Twelfth Night”

– Tie for Best Youth Actor: Dwight Williams in “A Natchez Christmas Carol;” Rudy Timm in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Youth Actress: Sydney Eidt in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Best Musical: “Sweeney Todd”

– Best Directors of a Musical: Tommy Jackson and Burnley Cook for “Sweeney Todd”

– Tie for Best Actor in a Musical: Bucky Merrit in “Sweeney Todd;” Don Vesterse in “A Natchez Christmas Carol”

– Tie for Best Actress in a Musical: Darlene McCune in “Sweeney Todd;” Kristin Hogans in “Once on this Island”

– Tie for Best Supporting Actor in a Musical: Casey Gilbert in “Sweeney Todd;” Layne Taylor in “Sweeney Todd”

– Best Supporting Actress in a Musical: Amanda Wingfield in “Sweeney Todd”

– Tie for Best Cameo Actor in a Musical: Cain Madden in “A Natchez Christmas Carol;” Dwight WIlliams in “A Natchez Christmas Carol”

– Best Cameo Actress in a Musical: Danielle Thornton in “Sweeney Todd”

– Best Sets: Don Vesterse in “To Kill a Mockingbird”

– Dawn Taylor Memorial Scholarship: Dwight Williams

– Volunteer of the Year: Anna Rife

– Lifetime Achievement Award: Don Vesterse