To steal from Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons: Oh, what a night! A large portion of the theatre community cheered, whistled, and applauded their colleagues as the Las Vegas Valley Theatre Awards were handed to out to very deserving people in the Troesch Studio Theatre at The Smith Center for the Performing Arts. Whatever your part is in helping to run a company, or produce a show, it’s as much serious work as it is fun. Receiving some recognition when that work has gone above and beyond the norm is well deserved.
Poor Richard’s Players kicked off with a very funny opening number reminiscent of Billy Crystal, ticking off every nominated play and even mentioning critically acclaimed performances which didn’t receive nominations, because “we didn’t see it—but we heard it was good.” Truly, there is more theatre happening in this town than one could possibly attend.
Emcee Jim Sohre kept the evening moving at a good clip. Emmy, Oscar, and Tony could take a clear lesson. As in previous years, tossing in the occasional ad lib, Jim managed to keep things upbeat and funny.
This year, we were treated to musical numbers from the past season, as well as upcoming productions, sprinkled throughout the ceremony. Amanda Campos delivered “Fine, Fine, Line” from Avenue Q; “Kindergarten Boyfriend” from Heathers, The Musical sung by Taylor Ann Powers; Amanda Kraft sang “God Must Love a Fool” (the only non-suggestive song) from Debbie Does Dallas. But, I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t mention Aaron Shanely and, in particular, Cody Sims, who delivered a haunting and incredibly beautiful performance of “Lily’s Eyes” from The Secret Garden.
Moya Angela, however, brought down the house with “I Am Changing” from Dreamgirls. Her powerful, soaring voice, packed with emotion earned her a well-deserved minute-long standing ovation.
Founder and Executive Director of the Valley Awards, Jacob Coakley, presented the first Hero Award. Intended to be given to those whose contributions may not fit into any one category, this inaugural presentation went to David Sankeur whose dedication to the theatre community encompassed a plethora of production companies for more than three decades. The room rose to their feet as one, and the applause lasted for over three minutes. David, who worked until Multiple Sclerosis made it impossible for him to continue, will be leaving Las Vegas in a couple of weeks. He will be sorely missed by everyone who had the pleasure of knowing and working with him. To further honor him, the new award will be named the David Sankeur Hero Award.
The night sparkled with happy faces. In paraphrasing Amanda Kraft, as well as a couple others, during her thank you speech, “We are one, we are family. I couldn’t have done any of it without any one of you sitting in this room.” How does the new adage go? Word.
This year’s recipients are:
Audience Choice/Production: A Summons From the Tinker…, A Public Fit
Set Design: Frank Strebel, The Secret Garden, Signature Productions
Costume Design: Kim Glover, Casa Valentina, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Sound Design: Aaron Guidry and Benton Corder, The Nether, Cockroach Theater
Lighting Design: Erika Courtney, Tarzan, Super Summer Theatre with Huntsman Entertainment
Choreography: Afton Garret, Super Summer Theatre with Huntsman Entertainment
Supporting Actress/Musical: Taylor Ann Powers, Heathers, Off-Strip Productions
Supporting Actor/Musical: Brian Scott, Avenue Q, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Ensemble/Musical: Tarzan, Super Summer Theatre with Huntsman Entertainment
Ensemble/Play: A Summons From the Tinker…, A Public Fit
Supporting Actress/Play: Shambrion Treadwell, In the Next Room, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Supporting Actor/Play: Troy Tinker, Lend Me a Tenor, Super Summer Theatre with United Production Works
Actress/Musical: Amanda Kraft, Bye-Bye Birdie, Super Summer Theatre with Table 8 Productions
Actor/Musical: Jake Taylor, Avenue Q, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Actress/Play: Mindy Woodhead, Grounded, Cockroach Theatre
Actor/Play: Glenn Heath, Casa Valentina, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Director/Musical: Walter Nijadlik & Gillen Brey, Avenue Q, Las Vegas Little Theatre
Director/Play: Bryan Todd, The Nether, Cockroach Theatre
Production/Musical: Heathers, Off-Strip Productions
Production/Play: The Nether, Cockroach Theatre