Little Theatre celebrates best of 67th season
Published 12:54 am Sunday, January 10, 2016
NATCHEZ — Cheers erupted in the Natchez Little Theatre as Copiah-Lincoln Community College student and NLT board member Sara Ashley Davis took the stage Saturday. Davis wiped away tears as she accepted the $500 Dawn Taylor Memorial Scholarship.
“You deserve this Sara,” NLT Executive and Artistic Director Layne Taylor said from the back of the theater.
The scholarship, which is awarded for volunteerism at the theater and in the community, was part of NLT’s Standing Ovation Awards. The awards recognize the community members who donated their time and talents during NLT’s 67th season.
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This year, the theater had an extended season with 12 shows. The initial list for nominations, which included everyone who had worked onstage and backstage, was 11 pages long.
Board of Directors President Morgan Mizell said it was difficult to narrow things down.
“Everybody deserves something,” Mizell said.
NLT’s board of directors, advisory board of directors and awards committee narrowed the list. Theater members and sponsors then voted on the winners. In both cases, everyone was required to have seen every performance.
In some cases the award went to more than one performer, which is what happened with Best Actor in a play. Ultimately, Dwight Williams and Terrence Robinson tied for the award.
Williams was nominated for playing Romeo in “Romeo and Juliet” while Robinson was nominated for his performance as Troy Maxson in “Fences.”
Robinson, who also won Best Musical Director, had difficulty getting into character because his character was a bitter, angry man.
“That’s not the kind of person I actually am,” Robinson said.
Williams, who has won awards in the past and been nominated, said it was nice to be nominated and to win, but it’s not why he performs.
“It’s all about the experience, the audience, the process,” Williams said.
Williams wasn’t the only cast member from “Romeo and Juliet” to win Saturday. Williams’ Juliet, 15-year-old Katie Borum, won Best Actress in a play and Best Youth Actress.
Although Borum has performed in NLT for years, she said Juliet was her most difficult role because of all the research she had to do.
“It was fantastic,” she said. “I was so nervous throughout it all.”
But, despite her nerves that she was going to forget something, not get her meaning across or have to prompt another actor if they forgot their lines, Borum made it through the production and achieved her first NLT awards.
Mizell also won an award for her performance in “Romeo and Juliet,” taking home Best Supporting Actress in a play for portraying Juliet’s nurse.
“Being nominated for any award in Natchez Little Theatre is always rewarding because it’s a recognition of the time and effort you put into each production,” Mizell said.